In the April 15 release Fan, Shah Rukh Khan plays both a celebrity and an obsessive lookalike. Gaurav Chanda thinks that nobody loves movie star Aryan Khanna more than him, but he has tough competition from the real world. Lucknow resident Vishal Singh believes that he is the biggest Shah Rukh Khan fan on the planet, and going by the evidence, he certainly seems to have earned the title.
From legally changing his name to Vishahrukh Khan to driving down to Mumbai for his honeymoon to catch a glimpse of his the actor, this devotee has done it all. The song “Aisi Deewangi, Dekhi Nahin Kahin” (Such madness, never seen before) from the 1992 Shah Rukh Khan starrer Deewana perfectly applies to Singh, whose entire life revolves around idol worship of another kind.
Every brick of Vishahrukh’s three-storeyed home screams SRK. The actor is plastered on the walls, ceilings, bulbs, fans, and the bath tub. The house is called Shahrukh Palace. Visharukh own two cars, both of which are plastered with more than 23,000 images from Khan’s movies. The 43-year-old wholesale dealer in homeopathy medicine has named his shop in Aliganj Shahrukh Force.
Vishal Singh first saw Shah Rukh Khan in the television series Fauji in 1989. His enthusiasm grew after watching Khan in the serials Circus and Dil Dariya and reached its peak with Khan’s debut movie, Deewana, in 1992.
Vishahrukh believes that his life runs parallel to characters played by his icon. His own love story mirrors that of the couple in Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (1995), he says. (It helps that his wife, Ruchi, is also an SRK worshipper). Vishahrukh has named his son Aryan after Khan’s son and his daughter Simran after the character played by Kajol in Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge.
Vishahrukh says he battled cancer like Khan’s character in Kal Ho Na Ho (2003). If he survived (unlike the movie character), it is because of Khan’s benediction. “I believe these pictures of Shah Rukh Khan give me strength and bring positive energy to my house,” he said. “The way SRK has struggled and achieved success is a role model and his life is a true inspiration.”
Vishahrukh has now met SRK several times, and he claims that he has a direct bond with the actor and his family, to the extent that he attended the wedding of Khan’s brother-in-law. He boasts of having received numerous gifts signed by Khan, and he reacted in kind by sending a handmade 42-feet greeting card to Khan on his fiftieth birthday on November 2.
In 2006, Vishahrukh won a local competition titled Sabse Bada Deewana, and his fame has only multiplied ever since. “Sometimes, I myself feel like a celebrity,” he said. “People come to my house, they take my autograph and click pictures with me. I treat them the way SRK treats his fans, though I am not a celebrity.”
He has set up a production company and wants to make a movie tentatively titled Hum Bhi Hain Shahrukh, about young Khan fans who go to Mumbai to meet and work with the star, only to return disappointed. Vishahrukh wants SRK to play the lead. Another script is based on his own life, tentatively titled Faniyat. Maneesh Sharma’s Fan, written by Habib Faisal and produced by Yash Raj Films, will beat him to it.
A portion of Shahrukh Palace houses a mini-theatre, where only SRK movies will be screened. However, Vishahrukh is waiting for Khan to inaugurate the screening facility. One of the stores Visharukh owns has been shut for the past decade and has a ribbon wrapped around the door. Some day, he hopes, Khan will come there to cut the ribbon.
(All photographs by Uzair Hasan Rizvi.)