The actor, who is expected to visit the 135-year-old Aligarh Muslim University on Saturday for an interactive session with students, has met with unexpected opposition from his target audience, otherwise his fans.
The students, fresh from their tête-à-tête with Rahul Gandhi, are sceptical about the timing of Shah Rukh’s visit, accompanied by actress Shabana Azmi and writer Javed Akhtar.
“We don’t know if he would try to promote his film My Name is Khan here,” said Ismail Khan, a student of economics.
The film, directed by Shah Rukh buddy Karan Johar, is scheduled to release on February 12.
Shah Rukh himself is an alumnus of Jamia Millia University in New Delhi. Javed spent his boyhood in Aligarh, where he studied at the well-known Minto Circle school, part of AMU. He completed his matriculation from the university before graduating from Bhopal.
Several teachers, who did not want to go public, said the prestigious hall should not be allowed to promote a film.
“We of course don’t know if he would do that. We are not anti-Shah Rukh but the timing of his visit has made people ask questions. He is too busy promoting his film. What else is he supposed to talk about?” said a teacher who did not wish to be named.
The auditorium, built in the early ’60s with a grant from the US Ford Foundation, was named after then American President John F. Kennedy. The university, among whose alumnus is the Frontier Gandhi, Khan Abdul Gaffer Khan, has seen several dignitaries lecturing on campus, among them Jawaharlal Nehru, C. Rajagopalachari, the Shah of Iran Reza Shah Pehlavi, Egypt President Gamal Abdel Nasser and Afghan monarch Zahir Shah.
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