For 59-year-old Wasim Khan, the world premiere of Shah Rukh Khan’s ‘Ra.One’ resulted in more excitement off screen than on it, as a typical celeb spotting adventure turned into a harrowing 60 minutes of being trapped in an elevator with 10 other people.
The premise was Grand Cinemas, Wafi City where hundreds of screaming fans had gathered for hours to catch a glimpse of Khan, who was in attendance for the three premiere screenings, along with co-stars Kareena Kapoor and Arjun Rampal.
Right before the red carpet event commenced, a tight security cordon had been erected, with Dubai Police barricades set up around the cinema main hall, blocking most of the access points as standard procedure.
While the stairwells were blocked by security, the only way to access the upper hall was via the sole elevator.
As a result, people started to squeeze themselves into the lift to hurry over to find a spot near the barricades or to make it to their cinema screenings.
However, little did one such set of passengers know what awaited them as they tightly packed themselves into the carriageway around 6.30pm.
“We squeezed into the elevator and were rushing upstairs to get into the hall before Shah Rukh arrived,” said Khan. “There was a huge line waiting at the lift downstairs, so we all packed ourselves in as many as could be accommodated.”
“However, as we slowly moved up, within a few seconds there was a jerk and the elevator came to a standstill, jammed between the ground and the first floor.”
It was then that this reporter caught sight of the trapped passengers through the glass doors of the elevator and rushed over to get help and connect with them through the intercom.
A few other bystanders gathered round to help, but with the tight security cordon and many screaming fans more interested than catching a sight of their favourite celebrity than rescuing random strangers, it soon became difficult to reach someone in charge to get assistance.
As we rushed over to security on the red carpet, they ignored our pleas, as did many fans who brushed us off when we quizzed if anyone had spotted a member of security.
Another search of 20 minutes finally unearthed one security guard from the crowd who immediately rushed to help after hearing of the plight.
Khan’s wife, Nausheen, was in a panic by then, saying: “My husband is trapped inside. Should we call the fire brigade? Do we get help from the police? Why oh why did we even come here?”
Calming her down, a quick connect through the intercom reassured everyone that no medical assistance was required.
However, it was another 20 more minutes before the quick thinking of Grand Cinemas security and technicians that the carriageway was finally brought down manually.
Just in time for the reel-life superhero to walk in on to the red carpet.
Commented one bystander: “Looks like Shah Rukh’s presence was enough to rescue these passengers. Should we call him a real life superhero now?”