Resplendent in black Malay baju, complete with samping and songkok, famous 43-year-old Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan received the Darjah Mulia Seri Melaka (DMSM) award from Malacca state governor Tun Khalil Yaakob yesterday. The award carries the title Datuk and Khan is first foreign actor to be honoured.
The award was supposedly in recognition of Khan's indirect contribution to the local tourism industry, where since the filming of his 2001 movie, One 2 Ka 4 at a popular holiday resort in Malacca, the number of Indian tourists to the state has increased significantly, state officials say.
At a post-investiture press conference, Datuk Shah Rukh Khan also disclosed that he will star in a new movie exploring the issue of Islam in the post 9/11 world and the misperception that all Muslims are terrorists. The movie "My Name is Khan" tells the story of six people with Muslim surnames who suffer suspicion and prejudice years after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the United States.
"Islam does not in any which way tell you to be violent," Khan said. "I think the whole concept of jihad, the whole concept of warring needs to be explained as Allah meant it to be in the Koran. (The film) is an attempt to try and do that in an entertaining way," he added. Filmmaker Karan Johar will direct while top Bollywood actress Kajol Mukherjee, who has acted in several hit movies with Khan in the past, will co-star. (Read today's The Hindu report, here)
There has been some controversy and protests by a few local artistes over this Malacca award. Although having been "weaned" on the old classics of Dev Anand and the legendary Kapoor brothers, I have never followed Khan's more recent Hindi blockbusters which I believe are very well received globally. But if his new movie succeeds in some measure to dissipate some of the anger and outrage being felt in India and elsewhere over the recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai, or help bridge the widening gulf between Muslims and non Muslims worldwide, then this state award from Malacca will surely be the least that he will deserve.
Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Adha to all Muslim friends.
allows you to look ahead before following any links. But if you find that this is not for you, there is an option button at the upper right corner of the pop-up, from which you can disable the functionality.