24 January, New Delhi
Superstar Shah Rukh Khan, who reached here by train from Mumbai on Tuesday, expressed grief over the death of a fan at the Vadodara railway station during the promotional tour of his movie “Raees”.
Ditching the usual air travel to go to a city for film promotion, Shah Rukh — known for innovative marketing ideas — boarded the August Kranti Rajdhani to Delhi from Mumbai to promote “Raees”.
But things got out of control when fans went berserk at the Vadodara station, leaving one person dead and two others injured.
Calling the incident unfortunate, the 51-year-old actor said he was saddened and praying the family of the deceased stays strong. The dead man was a relative of a colleague travelling with the actor.
“One of our colleagues was travelling with us. Her uncle came to see her at Vadodara. He suffered a cardiac arrest. It was really unfortunate,” Shah Rukh told the media at the Hazrat Nizamuddin station here.
“We started the journey thinking we all will travel, spend time with each other… When one of your own loses someone on a trip like this, it saddens us all.”
Social activist Farid Khan Pathan of Hatikhana area of Vadodara, who reached the Vadodara station with his wife and daughter as the family adores the actor, fell unconscious reportedly after a cardiac arrest.
He was rushed to hospital where he was declared dead.
But some reports suggest he died because of suffocation due to the teeming crowds.
The actor, shocked to hear about the death, said: “On behalf of everyone, our prayers and blessings are with the whole family. We have some of our people with the family there.”
A large number of fans thronged the Vadodara station to see the actor. And in a bid to get a better view, many started banging the windows of the air-conditioned coach. Stones were thrown to grab the actor’s attention.
Police used lathis to disperse the crowd, injuring some people on their head and face.
Cricketers Irrfan and Yusuf Pathan were also at the Vadodara station to meet the superstar, adding to the fan frenzy.
Wherever the train stopped, hordes of fans turned out to meet the star — whether it was Ratlam, Kota or Mathura. However, better security measures were put in place to control the crowds.
Even in Delhi, the actor couldn’t get out of the train for almost 15 minutes due to a huge turnout. Shah Rukh was accompanied by film director Rahul Dholakia and actress Sunny Leone for the promotional tour.
(Sugandha Rawal can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. The writer was travelling with the team of “Raees” on the makers’ invitation.)