Is Shahrukh Khan personally responsible for the death of Farheed Khan Pathan at Vadodara railway station during the Raees by rail promotions? The jury is still out on that one and it is likely to stay there forever. A certain amount of the star’s arrogance and ego shines through the incident. He did not bother about the repercussions on the public and his fans, all of whom were put at extreme risk just because he wanted to promote his movie. Shahrukh is no stranger to his fans’ level of mania and Fan is a testimony to this. The Raees team and SRK were well aware that frenzied crowds would gather at every station. The chaotic scenes at different railway stations were promoted as a matter of pride by the Raees cast and crew. This event wasn’t ever meant to be an orderly promotion with tickets and security checks inside a hall – Shahrukh Khan himself attested to that in an interview. So a certain amount of mayhem was predicted and still ignored.
Moreover, the mania had already reared its head at Bombay Central where the journey began, which proves that there was still time for the Raees team to take precautions at the stations ahead. None were taken. That a man lost his life is tragic, that it could have been prevented shows chilling apathy. The incident is yet another metaphorical shrug that Bollywood gives to the collateral damage of their star power – reminiscent for many of Salman Khan’s acquittal during the arms case last week, if Twitter is anything to go by.
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There’s also the problem of Shahrukh being too big for his boots. He showed total disregard for Railways property during his journey. Even as the cameras were rolling, he kept his boots on the seats. Everyone saw that. Young kids who easily pick up mannerisms of their icons will do teh same. That is horrible as far as hygiene is concerned – think Swacch India and the negative impact on it. As someone who so many youngsters look up to, Shahrukh basically said, ‘It’s okay to spoil public property’. This cavalier attitude sums up the entire spirit of the Raees by rail campaign – a public train was used and treated as a private commodity and little concern was shown on how it will affect the masses.