“Shah Rukh, Shah Rukh” The noise is deafening. The roads are blocked. The sea beyond the road pales in comparison to the ocean of people gathered. The sweltering heat is forgotten. All of them, just for one glance or one wave. From the biggest superstar of the country, Mr. Shah Rukh Khan. Today, where film stars and cricketers are given the status of demi Gods, Mr. Khan commands one of the biggest fan following, not only in India but world over.
Today’s star culture is active more so in the virtual world. Popularity is measured by the number of “followers”. Letters written in blood have now been replaced by heartfelt tweets. Social media has made the stars even more accessible to the public. It has made it possible for their voices of the fans to reach out to stars as well as society, much more loudly. Shah Rukh Khan himself is quite active on twitter and he engages with fans quite frequently. His most active fan clubs include @SRKCHENNAIFC, @SRKFC1 and @SRKUniverse.
Stylewhack had an opportunity to chat with Farhan, the administrative head of SRKUniverse, and he told us the beautiful story of millions of hearts beating together on one platform, for one man.
It is an establishment of faith. The people working here are all together for the sole purpose of love. It is done without any expectations of gains, personal or financial. And done with the singular intent of perpetuating goodness of one man, Mr. Shah Rukh Khan.
In 2013, Muhammad Ashraf (Muhammad Bhai as he is fondly known), based in Maldives, realized that there wasn’t a satisfactory platform present to celebrate and share the love for his Idol, Mr. Shah Rukh Khan. There were of course a lot of Fan Clubs then, but not many were active on social media. He felt that he should do something to bring people together for their common love for SRK. And that is how the idea of SRKUniverse was born.
Just 3 years later, it is one of the biggest fan clubs. SRKUniverse humbly boasts of being one of the most active fan clubs of any Bollywood personality. Putting all his life savings into this dream, Muhammad Ashraf works to spread, share and celebrate SRK Love. He does not expect or get even a single penny out of this venture. It is purely an arrangement for love.
“Why Shah Rukh Khan?” We asked Farhan.
“Because he inspires. We are not his fans only because of his movies. We are his fans also because of the kind of person he is. He does not have any starry airs when he meets his fans. He treats us like his friends. We follow SRKs principals when it comes to everything. We do not indulge in any rivalries with any fan clubs of other stars.
People have accused us of being paid fans. Some people may dislike our work, but we don’t let the negativity get to us. We know what we are doing and the reasons behind it. We just put our heads down and carry on the work.”
What They Do
A team of around 70 to 80 people carry out the work of SRKUniverse. The admin team’s biggest support, are the fans. They come up with various trends and ideas and approach the admin team. The team diligently sits and goes through each and every mention of Shah Rukh Khan anywhere and everywhere. Photos are retweeted and posted on Instagram. Whenever any Twitter trend is started, the fans swoop in, in millions and keep that hashtag trending throughout the day. The admin team also goes through the various edits and art pieces made by fans and tries to reach it out to Shah Rukh. On days when there is no new mention about SRK, old interviews, animes, songs, edits about SRK quotes are kept trending. And every admin on SRKUniverse does it voluntarily.
The fan clubs do much more than keeping the star trending on social media. In countries like China, Japan, Indonesia, where Bollywood is not as popular, the club members even go out on the streets to distribute pamphlets for promoting SRK movies.
They conduct first day first show events all over the country for fans to enjoy SRK movies together. Muhammad Ashraf even personally helps as many fans as he can to meet SRK.
SRK is aware of all the work that the entire team puts in. That is the reason he himself follows SRKUniverse on twitter.
It was the SRKUniverse team’s dedication that made it possible for more than 170 fans to personally meet SRK on his 50th birthday.
Social Causes and SRKUniverse
SRKUniverse regularly conducts charity events for schools and hospitals. However they do not wish to talk about that much as they follow in SRK’s footsteps when it comes to charity. Do the deed and not talk about it.
For certain issues where media attention is needed, they use all the resources at their disposal to create awareness. One instance had become very popular when the team had managed to get in huge media coverage for a boy named Arian. He needed to get medicines from USA. The team got together, created trends on twitter and with the help of fellow SRKians, managed to get him the media coverage required. SRK himself got to know about it and he too tweeted about it. This attention got Arian and his family all the permissions and licenses needed for the medicines to travel to them.
What is it about SRK that creates this much fervor and passion amongst his fans, one can just wonder. The magic of one man, that drives millions to madness, is phenomenal. Age, background, religion, gender, everything is forgotten and it is just love and faith for that one man that come together at SRKUniverse.
They are now looking forward to their event, SRKFANDOM Awards, which takes place on 31st October in Mumbai. We will be eagerly waiting to see what the team has in plan for the promotions of Shah Rukh Khan’s upcoming films, Dear Zindagi and Raees.