From now on, we should refer to him as Datuk SRK. Being a Datuk is the broad equivalent of a knighthood in the UK and it’s been awarded to SRK by the Governor of Malacca state for SRK’s contribution to film-making there. It was awarded, along with many others, in recognition of the Governor’s 70th birthday. “He is a well-loved, well-liked celebrity in Malaysia and he has helped develop the huge, income-earning Bollywood movie industry here,” said Mahadzir Lokman, an event management specialist who works closer with Bollywood film crews in Malaysia. “He has also starred in many top Hindi movies filmed on location in Malaysia, which has helped promote the country as a tourist destination.”
SRK’s 2001 movie, One 2 ka 4 was filmed at the Famosa resort in Malacca. “This resulted in many people visiting Malacca since then. The award is given in recognition of this,” said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam. It’s certainly true that Malaysia has become a popular destination for filming in the last few years — KL in particular is often featured with the Petronas Towers being a significant feature. Drawing further attention to the country by highlighting SRK in this way could well bring in more work and tourism.
Not everyone is pleased, however. Opposition spokesmen Lim Kit Siang said, “Are there no Malaysian film stars, artists or sports-people who have greater talent who could be honoured and encouraged as compared to Shah Rukh? I don’t think the reason that has been given for making Shah Rukh Khan a Malacca Datuk would impress or convince many that the Bollywood actor-dancer had ‘contributed to our tourism industry’ in the way that has been stated.”