Superstar Shah Rukh Khan on Thursday said he hopes audiences come to theatres to watch his Christmas release Dunki as the return of the community viewing experience is important for Hindi cinema.
The actor, who turned 58 today, was interacting with fans at the meet-and-greet which is held annually on his birthday on November 2.
The first look of Dunki, directed by Rajkumar Hirani and penned by Abhijat Joshi, was released on social media on Thursday. The film, which marks Shah Rukh’s third release for 2023 after massive money-spinners Pathaan and Jawan, will arrive in cinemas on December 22.
“Not everyone attends a Christmas party with friends. Some stay at home or do community viewing (of films). The return of community viewing is very important for Hindi cinema. You have come here because what’s common with all of you is your love for me.
“Similarly, the love for films should be common. People should come to the theatres and enjoy themselves with somebody else’s family too… Where you laugh and cry together. With ‘Dunki’ too, I hope you do the same,” the superstar said during the event here.
Shah Rukh and Hirani were previously in talks for Munna Bhai MBBS (2003) and 3 Idiots (2009). The films eventually starred Sanjay Dutt and Aamir Khan, respectively.
The actor recalled how he missed out on these two superhit films, adding both he and the filmmaker became “so big for each other that it took us some time to come together”.
“When Raju was narrating the story of ‘Munna Bhai’ to me, I thought he was a new director, of course, he would do this film with me. Let’s do it after six to nine months, but he went away. Then he came for ‘3 Idiots’. I thought how big he had become by now anyway, I have become bigger. When he left with ‘3 Idiots’, I thought let’s not take a chance now.
“We became so big for each other that it took us some time to come together. We made a sweet, small film when we became so huge… So, during the COVID-19 pandemic, I caught him in the bubble and said, ‘Please don’t go away this time, make this film (‘Dunki’) with me’. I didn’t even let Raju meet other heroes. I’m still not allowing him, you never know he might add someone in a guest appearance,” he added.
Hirani and Joshi were also present at the event.
The filmmaker, also known for PK and Sanju, said he wanted to work with Shah Rukh since his days at Pune’s Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) after he saw the actor deliver a “long monologue” in the 1989 Doordarshan TV serial Circus.
“We would watch TV in a hostel room and one day an episode of ‘Circus’ was on. I saw a young actor perform a long monologue in a scene and I wondered who he was.
“I thought this is so wonderful and he is also not a big actor. I’ll sign him up when I pass out. That actor was Shah Rukh in ‘Circus’. It took me two years at the film institute. By that time, he had become so big that there was no chance that he would work with me,” he recounted.
After 34 years, Shah Rukh and Hirani have finally collaborated for Dunki, which according to the actor is “a story of simple and real people trying to fulfill their dreams and desires”.
A JIO Studios, Red Chillies Entertainment, and Rajkumar Hirani Films presentation, Dunki is produced by Hirani and Gauri Khan. It is written by Hirani, Joshi, and Kanika Dhillon.