“Never again!” Neil Nitin Mukesh shudders at the very thought of the way he was forced to misbehave on stage with Shah Rukh Khan — by Shah Rukh Khan himself.
Trust Shah Rukh to espouse irreverence. But Neil hasn’t been able to get over it. Katrina Kaif and Bipasha Basu were in a state of shock after Neil’s outburst on stage against Shah Rukh Khan at the Filmfare awards.
Two days after Neil told co-hosts Shah Rukh Khan and Saif Ali Khan to just plainly and simply shut up on stage at the Filmfare Awards at Yashraj studios, the debate rages in the film industry.
Was the well-behaved blue-eyed-boy’s aggressive impudence towards his superstar seniors on Neil’s home turf (he’s known as a full-on Yashraj boy) for real? Or was it just an act?
To rewind a bit: At the Filmfare awards, co-hosts Shah Rukh and Saif Ali Khan decided to take on Neil on stage, riling him endlessly. The final straw was the digs that Shah Rukh took at Neil’s name.
“Neil,” said Shah Rukh, “Why do you have three first names and no surname? My name is Khan. Saif too is a Khan. How come you have no last name?”
Neil couldn’t take the slight to his family name. He not-so-gently reminded Shah Rukh that he ought to restrain himself because his, Neil’s, father was sitting in the audience.
And then, horror of horrors, he told Shah Rukh to just shut up.
There was an uncomfortable silence in the auditorium.
Recalling the incident with an uncomfortable laugh, Neil said: “I’m still shaking. Imagine me telling Shah Rukh Khan to shut up! But I did. That isn’t all. At the end of the show I walked up to Shah Rukh and Saif and broke eggs on their heads.”
But relax. It was all part of an act.
“It was all planned by Shah Rukh sir. I was told by the organisers, the Moranis, from beforehand that I was supposed to be part of Shah Rukh’s act. I was supposed to reach early and rehearse for it. But as luck would have it I had gone to town to pick up my parents and got stuck in the traffic. By the time I reached the venue there was only time for a quick briefing on what I had to do.”
Shah Rukh walked up to Neil and quickly told him the plan on stage.
Neil was aghast. “How could I say shut up to Shah Rukh Khan? I’ve never been rude even to my driver. But he insisted. He also told me to throw eggs at him and Saif at the end of the show. I begged and pleaded to spare me. But Shah Rukh didn’t listen.”
Neil did his own on-the-spot improvisation on stage to spare himself the aggravated agony. “Instead of throwing the eggs I walked up to Saif and Shah Rukh and broke the eggs on their heads. How could I throw eggs at them? Their fans would never forgive me!”
After the act Neil’s shocked father has still not forgiven his son, although he has been told it was all in jest.
Says Neil: “Bipasha rushed to me and said if it was an act then it was really scary. Katrina stormed up to me after the show and told me to apologize to Shah Rukh, at once.”
Laughing nervously, Neil re-lived the trauma of being forced to be rude to a hero he worships.
“I’m glad people finally got to see my mischievous side… But no thanks. Never again.”