Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan's presence at the Berlin International Film Festival acknowledges that he has fans not only in Mumbai, but all over the world. The online tickets for his My Name is Khan, which is being targeted by the Hindu right wing Shiv Sena in Mumbai, were sold out in five seconds here.
People who phoned the Berlinale authorities five minutes after ticketing opened were told they were way too late. The film's tickets were auctioned on e-Bay for 1,000 euros (about Rs.60,000) each.
Fans had not slept all night to keep their places in the queue despite the minus temperature in Berlin. Those who arrived at 6 a.m. were in tears. Jenny Watkinson, assigned the 'Shah Rukh Khan department' in the International Relations office of Dieter Kosslick, Berlin film festival director, says, "I've never seen anything like it. This year it's expected to be even bigger than in 2008 (during Om Shanti Om). The online tickets for 'My Name is Khan' were sold out in five seconds."
The film premieres in Berlin Friday with a red carpet at the prestigious Berlinale Palast theatre on Potsdamer Platz. Everyone was wondering if Shah Rukh Khan and team would be in Berlin, given that the Shiv Sena vandalised Mumbai theatres where advance bookings of the film opened because Shah Rukh said that Pakistani players should also participate in the Indian Premier League.
The film's screening has police protection in both Mumbai and Berlin. In Mumbai to protect Shah Rukh's fans from the vandals, in Berlin to protect the star from a tsunami of hysterical fans who are expected from all over Europe.
Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol and Karan Johar are here for the premiere of My Name is Khan. India has much reason to celebrate at the Berlin International Film Festival here as the country has a historic nine feature films in the Berlinale.
This is the 60th anniversary of the Berlin Film Festival, that opens Thursday and runs from Feb 11-21.