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Shah Rukh Khan ki maut

By: Screen Weekly, IndiaFM
Friday, November 03, 2006
The superstar's appeal among Pakistan's youngsters is captured in 'Shah Rukh Khan Ki Maut' - a 55-minute film by Ehteshamuudin.

A little boy in Pakistan wants to walk, talk and look like Shah Rukh Khan. One way of making his dream come true is to get a haircut just like his idol. But Murad can't afford one, given that his job at the garage pays little and pay day is far away. When his boss Saleem finds money missing from his safe, the finger of suspicion points at young Murad aka Shah Rukh.

What happens next unfolds over 55 minutes in Pakistani filmmaker Ehteshamuudin's touching film Shah Rukh Khan Ki Maut (The Death of Shah Rukh Khan), screened at the Third Eye 5th Asian Film Festival.

"The influence of Hindi films in Pakistan is tremendous, even if the films are all circulated under the table. We sometimes get them even before they are released in India," says the filmmaker.

"The Bollywood idol had to be Shah Rukh Khan. Otherwise, it wouldn't have worked. There isn't a boy in Pakistan who doesn't look up to SRK," says Ehteshammuudin.

In the film, however, Murad pays a price for his overenthusiastic hero worship. Reality takes over. There is also perhaps a hidden comment on how the older generation in Pakistan doesn't look kindly on the 'external influence' of Hindi films.

"I, however, am a big Hindi film buff myself and usually my day is not complete until I've listened to Lataji or watched the latest release. May be it's time we opened a few windows and doors to get a better dialogue on Indian cinema," says Ehteshamuudin who has made his second feature.

The film premiered at the Kara Film Festival in Karachi in 2005, but this is the first time it's showing in India. "The Kara Film Festival is one of the few venues in Pakistan that showcases independent cinema, even if it's shot on mini DV or 35 mm," says the one time television producer.

The film was made on a Rs two-lakh budget. "I didn't use any big stars - eight of them are acting for the first time, while two are theatre actors - which is why I think I was able to give a raw and spontaneous feel to the film," he says.

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