Mumbai: A day after Shah Rukh Khan is said to have roughed up the husband of his former best friend at a party thrown by actor Sanjay Dutt to celebrate the success of his film Agneepath, conflicting accounts are emerging from various eyewitnesses of what really happened at the posh Juhu lounge where many of Bollywood's A-listers were present.
Both Shirish Kunder and Khan were nonchalant following the altercation. Khan made an indirect reference to it in a tweet and Kunder kept his sense of humour on Twitter despite nursing a swollen face. In a cryptic message on his Twitter page, Khan described the whole incident as a Shakespearean farce.
"Reading stuff and watching tv...Feel like I am the source & author of a Shakespearean farce...without the poetry or the prose of course!!!," Khan tweeted on Tuesday without giving any details of his version on what happened.
The Kunder-Farah Khan camp alluded to Khan's pent up anger and frustration in their version of events and hinted that the actor, whose mega-budget film RA.One was drubbed at the Filmfare Award that he co-hosted with Ranbir Kapoor, was facing a career crisis. Khan's company Red Chillies Entertainment did win the Best VFX award for RA.One.
Kunder, who assisted director Farah Khan in editing her film Main Hoon Na in 2004 and married her the same year, was reportedly thrashed by Khan in the early hours of Monday, January 30. Khan has denied hitting Kunder.
Several versions of what actually happened at the party were reported. Khan is said to have arrived at the party around 3:30 AM straight after hosting the 57th Idea Filmfare Awards with Ranbir Kapoor who won the Best Actor trophy for his anguished portrayal of a musician in Rockstar.
According to eyewitnesses, an inebriated Kunder followed Khan around the posh Juhu lounge and bar and even entered the bathroom with him. Kunder, who was once a good friend of Khan following the actor's close friendship with Farah, had recently fallen out with the superstar. Their enmity stems partly from the fact that Khan refused to appear in Kunder's film Joker and partly from Kunder's sarcastic asides at Khan on Twitter over his mega-budget film RA.One.
An annoyed Khan allegedly pulled Kunder down on to a sofa and after a verbal duel, slapped him. According to reports, Dutt rushed to separate the two and when Kunder pushed him, he also slapped Kunder.
But Kunder and Farah have given an entirely different account of what happened. He said Khan attacked him from behind with a posse of bodyguards to protect him.
SRK's career crisis?
The Jaan-E-Mann director left the party with a swollen face. The party also came to an end and Dutt and Khan left with the owner of the nightclub soon after. Shell shocked with the incidents of the night gone by, Kunder was jittery once the slap-gate incident started picking up heat.
Kunder said: "Everyone knows what really happened at the party; it isn't a hidden fact at all. Of course it was ugly and I was quite shaken up with what happened. When someone attacks you from behind and comes prepared with a set of bodyguards to protect his own self, you don't really have a choice, do you?
"All I feel is that if at all there was so much pent up anger in him, he could have gone verbal. Getting physical hasn't reflected well on either of us. Frankly, this is hardly the kind of attention that I want. In fact I am wary of any kind of attention, be it for something as wrong as this which was completely unprovoked or even something good for which I may have been responsible. I like to keep a low profile and Sunday's late night party was one of those rare instances when I actually attended a gathering," Kunder said.
Khan's tweets did not betray his mental state. "Another long nite. Shooting for a public service msg film about education peace & harmony. Feels ironic when I read & see wot is being said” and "Nite shift. Need to get some sleep. Old hindi songs playing as I commute across the sleeping city of Mumbai..Chukar mere mann ko from Yarana" the superstar tweeted.
Kunder, who said he would not press formal charges against Khan, tried to make light of the incident on Twitter. "Some of your jokes on the incident were very funny. Including the ones on me. Keep up the humour. I'll be back soon."
Kunder was referring to a barrage of jokes on Twitter that referred to the incident as 'SlapGate'. By mid afternoon on Monday #Shirish Kunder and #SRK were top trending topics on Twitter.
Several Bollywood stars present at the venue came out in support of Khan. Actor Ameesha Patel was quick to jump to his defence. "@iamsrk is 2 dignified n wud nevr do anything unprovoked..he is too classy n a thorough gentleman." Celebrity photographer Dabboo Ratnani, who was present at the party, told IBNLive in a mobile text message "all I can say is I support Shah Rukh Khan."
Farah Khan's mass text message to the media hinted that Khan was going through some career crisis. "Shahrukh has always told me that physical abuse is the worst way to sort out a problem, and that it means the person who's hitting has either a personal or professional crisis going on. So it saddens me to see him doing the same," Farah said.
Sanjay Dutt's spokesperson said the Agneepath actor was not involved in the fight in any way. "When a fight takes place so everybody who is around is blamed. Sanjay entered to stop the fight. He had no fight or anything of that sort with Shirish," Dutt's spokesperson told PTI.
Farah-Shah Rukh friendship over?
There was a time when Farah was one of Khan's closest friends. She is credited with reviving his career with two hits Main Hoon Naa and Om
Shanti Om but their friendship soured after she cast Akshay Kumar in Tees Maar Khan in 2010. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise for Khan. The film went bust at the box office. They tried to patch things up later despite Kunder’s potshots at Khan on Twitter. But from the current situation it seems unlikely that the two would come together for a project again.
Farah Khan Ali's woes
Meanwhile jewellery designer and Hrithik Roshan's sister-in-law Farah Khan Ali has found herself in a strange spot. She is inundated with calls asking her about the incident. "Wish the press would do their homework. Got calls in the middle of work asking me if @iamsrk slapped my hubby. Had to clarify I am the jewellery designer," she tweeted.