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Indian actor Shahrukh Khan arrives for the opening ceremony of the 12th Marrakech International Film Festival on November 30, 2012 in Marrakech. — Photo by AFP

MARRAKESH: Bollywood “demigod and prince charming” Shah Rukh Khan whipped thousands of Moroccans into a frenzy at the Marrakesh film festival when he danced to the tunes of movie songs at the Jamaa El Fna square.

Khan, 47, popularly known as “King Khan”, was cheered at the square — a mecca of tourism in Morocco — where a giant screen was installed to show a preview of his latest Hindi movie, “Jab Tak Hain Jaan” (Till My Last Breath).

In its 12th edition, the festival which runs until December 8 in this ochre city, is presenting a “special tribute” to Indian cinema as it celebrates its centenary.

“I am pleased to present the star, the icon, the demigod of Indian cinema, Shah Rukh Khan,” said an organiser as the arrival of the star sparked a roar from young fans, who braved gloomy and cold weather to catch a glimpse of him.

Khan, who acted in some 80 films, was specially invited for the festival in Morocco, where Bollywood films rank alongside Egyptian movies in popularity.

A true showman, he warmed up the atmosphere with more than half-an-hour song and dance performance on stage that had the crowds screaming in appreciation.

Later festival organisers screened a preview of “Jab Tak Hain Jaan,” directed by legendary Bollywood filmmaker Yash Chopra who died in October in Mumbai, the home of India's Hindi-language movie industry, after more than five decades of movie career.

Khan had acted in several box-office hit movies produced and directed by Chopra such as “Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge” (Bravehearts Will Take The Bride Away), “Dil To Paagal Hai” (Heart Is Crazy) and “Daar” (Fear).

He has also taken lead roles in other blockbusters such as “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai” (Something Is Happening) and “Kabhie Khushi Kabhie Gham” (Sometimes Joy, Sometimes Sorrow) directed by another popular Bollywood filmmaker Karan Johar.

“This is the first time I am seeing Shah Rukh Khan. This is a dream. He was two feet away from me. He is so simple and modest,” Khadija Ariba, a young student, told AFP.

“I know all his films. They talk of love, injustice, humanity... things that we speak of. He is the prince of most girls.” For many fans it was an “unforgettable” experience at Jamaa El Fna.

“We watch movies on satellite channels and some movie theatres. But to be present here on Jamaa El Fna is unforgettable for me,” said Ouadie El Ouwad.

Ranked in 2001 as part of the World Heritage List by UNESCO, Jamaa El Fna — site of the April 28, 2011 bombing that killed 17 people — was teeming with joyful fans — mostly students and employees — who cheered Khan.

“I left my workplace at 5 pm to see Shah Rukh Khan from close, but once here the place was already packed with people,” said Ahmed, 32, a carpenter.

“What I like most are his songs. And I have a friend, who speaks very good Hindi which he learned by watching his movies,” he said as he straddled his motorcycle.

Fifteen films are in the race for the top prize at the festival, including “Touch of the Light” by Taiwanese Chang Jung-Chi, “The Attack” by French-Lebanese Ziad Doueiri and “Like a Lion” by Samuel Collardey of France.

The festival's jury comprises of Canadian Marie-Josee Croze, American James Gray, Moroccan Jillali Ferhati and French Lambert Wilson.

On Friday the festival kicked off with a special ovation for French actress Isabelle Huppert.

Comments (12) Closed

Abdullah Dec 05, 2012 08:47am
hey bro for your kind information Shahrukh is neither ill-educated, nor ill-read on contrary he is well educated, benign and also ardent book reader
Shubs Dec 04, 2012 02:12pm
This comment surely ranks as one of the most condescending ones I have read on this forum. The air of superiority that this reeks of, while passing judgement on what '3rd world populace' considers entertainment, is quite sickening. Demigods - yes some of them are...popular beyond what you can imagine, rich beyond your wildest dreams and powerful enough to pull strings in various parts of the world. Do they deserve it? Their fans surely think so. Whether you hold your nose while passing by their movie posters hardly matters, HeadStrong. Popular entertainment, any kind of art, is always subjective. What you consider cerebral may be trash to others. Live and let live. To each his own. Get off your high horse. And I can think of a hundred more cliches.
Shahid Latif Dec 04, 2012 01:07pm
Whatever sells is right.
Silajit Dec 04, 2012 02:53pm
I was in Morocco last year and I remember locals telling me about Shahrukh Khan. I couldn't believe they had heard of him, at the time.
Circumbulator Dec 04, 2012 09:58am
The pop scene composes of the super rich and the adoring poor.
HeadStrong Dec 04, 2012 08:53am
For decades they have shoved cheap thrills down the throats of 3rd world populace and now they are being labelled demigods, what a shame...
Akoi Dec 04, 2012 07:25am
I just love Bollywood for its over melodramatic, over loudness and overall full entertainment although there is least reality in the movies. Among khans i love Amir and Irfan khan....kkkkkkkkkkk..shahrukh bhi theek thak hai.
azru ddin khan Dec 04, 2012 06:48am
shahrukh khan is not only king of bollywood, but he also the king of world acting.
Karthik Dec 04, 2012 07:22am
SRK rocks. He deserved this.
Magister Ludi Dec 04, 2012 05:20pm
Why can't we have cheering fans for the engineers, scientists who designed MRI machines, jet engines, the Internet. Why do the inventors, doctors and Philosophers bite the dust of time while ill-educated, ill-read, egregiously shallow personality nymphs and starlets are adored by the people. O luxury! thou cursed by heaven's decree, How ill exchanged are things like these for thee! How do thy potions with insidious joy Diffuse their pleasures only to destroy! From the Deserted Village.
Juice Dec 04, 2012 11:58pm
Jab Tak hain Jaan was translated wrong I believe, I am not that well orated of a Urdu/Hindi speaker but Jaan means love, which has no mention. I think it should translate to "Until we are love"
Silajit Dec 05, 2012 06:42pm
Clearly language is not your thing. Not Hindi, Not Urdu and not English. :-) It's people like you that translate, "Meine tumse pyaar kiyaa hai" to "I have made love to you."