22 June, 2021

The Mirror Is Watching

SRK’s position on IPL and defence of Islam in MNIK has made him an icon in Pakistan

The Mirror Is Watching

Inside Nishat theatre, one of Karachi’s very oldest, on the first-day-first-show of My Name is Khan, the atmosphere is electric. Ten minutes into the film, as soon as Shahrukh Khan speaks those now-famous lines, “My name is Khan and I am not a terrorist”, the clapping and cheering begins. And it doesn’t stop. Every gesture by Shahrukh’s character, Rizwan, unselfconsciously affirming his Muslim identity on American soil, whether it’s his habit of always saying salaam, rather than the more neutral “hi” or “hello”, praying in public or reciting verses from the Quran identifying Islam as a religion of peace, gets them cheering. The scene where he pelts an Islamic jehadi with stones for misleading the public—an echo of a Haj ritual, in which pilgrims throw stones at the “shaitan”—gets a standing ovation. And when he declares, towards the end of the film, that Khans never go back on their word, applause rings out again. It is pretty safe to conclude there are...

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