BERLIN (Reuters) - Shah Rukh Khan, arguably Bollywood’s biggest star, said Friday he was “scared” and “hurt” by hardline Hindu party Shiv Sena’s reaction to recent remarks he made in support of Pakistani cricketers.
The 44-year-old heartthrob, in Berlin to present his latest movie “My Name is Khan,” also told reporters that he wanted to see the row settled quickly.
“I really want everybody to be happy ... and I’ll make sure that by the time I get back to India that everybody is happy,” said Khan.
“I don’t want any aggression, any problem. I get very, very disturbed and scared and emotionally hurt when things like this happen.”
He was referring to protests by Shiv Sena after he criticized the fact that no Pakistani cricketers had been picked for the Indian Premier League.
Earlier this week more than a thousand Shiv Sena workers were taken into preventive custody by police and security was beefed up at cinemas in Mumbai Friday as the group targeted the opening of My Name is Khan in India.
Some theatres were initially reluctant to screen the movie for fear of violence, raising concerns among some analysts that Mumbai’s image as a cosmopolitan business hub could suffer and that the city was being undermined by parochial politics.
Shiv Sena, which runs the Mumbai municipality, draws political sustenance from hardline Hinduism and an ultra-nationalism that includes strident opposition to Pakistan.
Khan said he was tired of the bickering, and stressed he was merely an entertainer.
“So much has been said, so much has been spoken, and with all due respect to everybody around the world, including in my country India, in my city Mumbai ... right now I’d just like to sit down here, walk the red carpet, have some champagne, enjoy the film.
“We as filmmakers should never ever look beyond the fact that we are here to serve the audience. That’s how I see it. I truly believe that my job is to make sure people smile. I have no self-centeredness or ego about it.”
My Name Is Khan, directed by Karan Johar, is about a man named Rizvan Khan, a respectable Muslim played by Khan who suffers from Asperger syndrome, a mild form of autism.
Khan falls in love with a single mother, played by Indian actress Kajol, who runs a hair salon. But their budding romance is interrupted by the spread of prejudice against Muslims following the September 11 attacks.
Editing by Andrew Roche