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When Theaters Had Locked Down And LOCKED OUT SRK



Shah Rukh Khan

As  business in  movie theatres  across India came  to a grinding halt in March ,  I recalled  only one incident in the past when  movie theatres  were  shut down across  India. It  was  after the demolition of Babri Masjid in December 1992  and the film most hard hit by the closure was Hema Malini’s Dil Aashna Hai, the  film that introduced Shah  Rukh Khan and  Divya Bharti and  with which Hema Malini turned director.

After the Demolition  riots broke  out in several parts  of  the  country leaving the harried actress-director with no choice  but to   postpone her film’s  release.

Dil Aashna  Hai  finally released  on December 25, two weeks late. Divya Bharti was an instant star. Shah Rukh Khan had already become the nation’s  sensation  . Deewana had released  two months earlier and …well… a star was born! Coincidentally the late Divya Bharti was SRK’s co-star  in  his first two releases Deewana and Dil Aashna Hai. And  though the  former released first  SRK had signed  the latter first.

Recalling  how she signed SRK Hema  Malini had told me how he  met her as a newcomer  in Mumbai and  when she told him she was  turning director he  insisted on being in  the  film.

“I told  him  very bluntly that  the film was based on  the girl’s character. He could  play her boyfriend  which  was  a brief role.He insisted on playing the role.I wish I  could give him more to do,” Hema expressed  regret.

The  film was ripped off from the Shirley Conan  bestseller Lace. Many years later Hema  directed the same story with her daughter  Esha Deol in the  lead  in a film entitled Tell Me  Oh Kkhuda. Both  the  versions  of  the  story were crippling flops.

 Divya Bharati  had a brief but  brilliant career as a  leading lady before she died under  highly  mysterious  circumstances.

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