You could hear the drumming and cheers from the main road. At 5.30am, there was a crowd outside Gaiety Cinema, with drummers and flags and banners and a herd of media with a glut of recording devices.
Burqas, Prada handbags, squeaking sneakers with disco lights, ancient Androids with cracked screens — everything and everyone bobbed to the beat while waiting for the cinema theatre’s doors to open for the first show of Jawan (2023).
“Zinda banda!” yelled someone, quoting the hit song from Jawan, and everyone roared with incoherent glee. A train rushed past, making a sound that sounded vaguely like a conch signalling the beginning of an auspicious event.
A young reporter perked her ears up. “You think he’ll show up?” she asked the cameraman accompanying her. He clicked his tongue and shook his head. “It’s Gaiety. The fan is the star here.”
At 6am, a group of young men took formation and built the human pyramid that is traditional to Janmashtami celebrations in Mumbai. Their goal was to stand as tall as the gigantic cutout of Shah Rukh Khan. As the last man on top took his stand, someone yelled, “Shah Rukh Khan ki jai!”
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