Sharjah, November 12, 2022: In the presence of HE Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman of the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), and Khoula Al Mujaini, General Coordinator of SIBF, India’s most celebrated actor Shah Rukh Khan - popularly known as the King of Bollywood - was welcomed into a packed ballroom at the 41st Sharjah International Book Fair yesterday.
SBA also hosted Resul Pookutty, winner of the Academy Award for Best Sound Mixing in 2009 for Slumdog Millionaire, at the event.
Khoula Al Mujaini, said: “At SBA, we are pleased to host humanitarian work activities related to culture and books. During the past three years, we have been working with a clear strategy and message that every person in this world, whatever their interest may be, will always find a book related to their passion at SIBF. Today, we host Shah Rukh Khan and the Oscar winning sound engineer Resul Pookutty to raise the awareness amongst their fans about the importance of reading books on different topics.”
She added: “Culture, and all its varied forms, are at the heart of everything we do at SIBF. Every year, we host authors, intellectuals and guests from all backgrounds to help visitors and readers discover new interests, identify their potential and realise their dreams through the lived experiences of our speakers.”
Believe in the enduring power of storytelling
With his full-of-life personality, the 57-year-old actor who has more than 80 films under his belt over a three-decade-long career and enjoys a mass fan following that cuts across ages and races, thanked His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed AlQasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, for his patronage of culture in the emirate of Sharjah.
Reinforcing the power of words, stories, and books in bringing cultures and humanity together, Shah Rukh Khan said: “Books are important, and everybody should participate in events like SIBF to not only read but to also learn how to write and enrich it. I think SIBF provides all these and much more. I was happy to meet the intellectual community at the book fair and interact with my fans, and I will be most honoured to come to Sharjah again.”
He added: “The role of art, creativity and culture is pivotal in society. They can transcend differences, and appreciate common values that unite us all as human beings. Being platforms to celebrate books and tell stories that bring together different cultures and noble values in one place, cinema and such a large book fair like SIBF can help us choose the side that defines who we are and build the world we aspire to have in the future.”
Rounding off the session with some valuable advice for his fans, he said: “Keep an honest and gentle heart. There will be times when you have to cheat life or the people around you, but if in that one moment of weakness, if you can keep an honest and gentle heart, you can lead a life of success.”
‘Sound is a narrative in visual medium’
Oscar winning sound engineer Resul Pookutty who won the golden statuette along with Richard Pryke and Ian Tapp for best sound mixing in Danny Boyle's multiple award-winning drama Slumdog Millionaire in 2009, told the SIBF audience how the Academy honour drew attention, in India, to the work of technicians in the entertainment industry .
Thanking the Sharjah Book Authority for hosting him at the event, he said: “A reader of literature does not demarcate words into images and sound, but cinema makes this demarcation, and sound is recognised as a narrative in the visual medium.”
Pookutty, who started his career in 1995, described growing up amidst the sounds of nature in a small village in the south Indian state of Kerala. He said: “Many things from my childhood have stayed with me, and most of it is sound.”
Explaining the growing popularity of regional Indian cinema, the sound wizard, who nurtured a childhood dream of becoming a physicist and is now also directing a film, said: “Every film is an extension of literary writing, and in India, regional literature is strong. When we move away from literary traditions, it marks the downfall of other art forms, including cinema.”
The session concluded with the launch of two books authored by Pookutty - Sounding Off: Amitabh Bachchan, a coffee table book which celebrates 50 years of film icon Amitabh Bachchan; and Shabda Tharapadham, a memoir.
Shah Rukh Khan and Resul Pookutty were honoured for their contributions to the arts and for their efforts in strengthening ties amongst peoples of various cultures.