Monday, Jan 17, 2022
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A Message Not Delivered, A Matisse Painting Never Gifted: A Co-Star’s Tribute To Shah Rukh

Sayani Gupta, a star-struck teenager who acted with SRK, reveals what endears the superstar to his millions of fans across the globe.

A Message Not Delivered, A Matisse Painting Never Gifted: A Co-Star’s Tribute To Shah Rukh
A Message Not Delivered, A Matisse Painting Never Gifted: A Co-Star’s Tribute To Shah Rukh

Matisse painting. My farewell gift to ‘Shah sir’—that’s what everyone on set called him, although I never quite figured how I wanted to address him. I had the framed painting in my hands on the way to the screening (of Fan). But the most crucial part was still left, the message. The one I had to write behind the frame. The one that had to do justice to all that I intended to tell him all these years since I was a child, all that he meant to me. Reminiscent of the imaginary conversations I had had with him. So here I was, at the YRF atrium after the screening, dancing with him and twenty others to Chhaiya Chhaiya, and looking at this moment with disbelief and ­wonder. I was finally done, satiated. I had had the fill of my SRK rendezvous. From having loved him, worked with him, chatted with him, accidentally scratched his chest, travelled with him, observing everything that he believed in and stood for. My heart was full but was now pounding with anxiety as I still had to write the message behind that painting before gifting him. And before he left.

So, I step outside, and sat alone on the stairs, ­finally writing this message, until I was interrupted by an actor. Soon after, a bunch of people came out, breaking the five minutes of quiet solitude I needed in order to finish this message. And as luck would have it, soon enough, someone came and announced that Shah had left. And here I was, sitting with a half-written essay behind a Matisse painting, with the other half bubbling ­inside my mind. Heartbroken that Shah will never know what I wanted to tell him, will never know why I chose this painting for him.  

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