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Trying to unlock U.S. ‘Puzzle’

Khan brings India to the States

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.”

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