King Kong, meet King Khan.
The name Shah Rukh Khan may not be recognizable to many in Hollywood, but in Bollywood, he’s the proverbial 800-pound gorilla.
He’s not only star but producer of “Paheli” (Puzzle), India’s entry in Oscar’s foreign-language race.
Pic, based on a folktale, is about a ghost who falls in love with a neglected bride and takes on the form of her groom. It’s a mix of song and dance, comedy and melodrama, and with a running time of two hours and 20 minutes, it’s shorter than “King Kong.”
Khan has hired PR companies Rogers & Cowan and Block Korenbrot; he’s also enlisted Indians in the U.S. to bolster the Oscar campaign. For example, Hyde Park principal Ashok Amritraj hosted a dinner at Nirvana in BevHills and gave DVDs of “Paheli” to guests.
Khan says the goal is beyond touting one film during the awards season. “The long-term look is to make people aware of Indian cinema. It’s going to take some time,” he admits. “I want to show that Indian cinema can be serious or commercial.”