He stood his ground, refusing to apologise.
But it was an uncharacteristically tired-looking Shah Rukh Khan (44) who spoke to Hindustan Times on Thursday.
“What should I retract?” he said. “I’ll say it again, because in my country everybody has the freedom to live peacefully. And if anybody has to come for work, sports, art, business, they are welcome… I don’t know when that changed… if it changed, I was never told so.”
Khan added if he owed an apology, it was to Karan Johar and Kajol, his director-producer and co-star in My Name Is Khan.
The film’s release on February 12 could now be affected in Mumbai, where the Shiv Sena has called for a boycott over his comments that Pakistan’s cricketers should not have been shunned in the IPL auctions.
Sitting at the Court House Hotel in London, Khan admitted he was concerned about his family — wife Gauri (39), son Aryan (12) and daughter Suhana (9). “I won’t say I’m scared, but I’d like to be with them,” he said.
Following repeated threats from the Sena, police security has been heightened at the actor’s bungalow in Mumbai.
Despite the brouhaha, Khan spoke of his good personal relations with Sena chief Bal Thacke-ray and his son Udhav, saying they’d always been “kind to me”.
“If anyone has an issue, they should discuss it with me,” he said. “I am not [being] egoistic. It’s not about ‘I’m not going to say sorry’. I don’t know why anyone in my country should say sorry for something taught to us from childhood.”