Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan warned fans Friday in Toronto that a knee injury may prevent him from performing at the 12th Indian International Film Awards this weekend.
The boisterous fans outside the Fairmont Royal York hotel, all vying for a glimpse of one of Bollywood's most beloved performers, fell quiet for a minute when Khan broke the news before going into the hotel.
"I am doubtful if I can perform. But, I will see how I can entertain my fans," said Khan, who tweeted a day earlier that his knee has degenerated in several places due to a hairline fracture.
Despite his injury, "King Khan," who is scheduled to give the final performance at Saturday night's gala awards ceremony, broke out a few impromptu dance moves inside the hotel, sending his fans into a frenzy.
The broadcast of the awards ceremony, often referred to as the Indian Oscars, is expected to be viewed by 700 million people around the world.
Khan, whose film "My Name is Khan" is up for six nominations including best film, told reporters he was not surprised by the number of fans he has in Toronto.
"You guys have been busy multiplying very fast like the Indians do, so it's very nice I have so many more (fans) now," said the actor, producer and television host.
"My Name is Khan" is about the treatment of Muslims in a world of heightened suspicions following the September 11, 2001, terror attacks against the U.S. The film depicts the actor in one of his more serious roles, stripped from the glitz of Bollywood and its hip-shaking dance numbers.
But don't let his recent acting role fool you into thinking Khan has lost his playful side. When a reporter asked the toned actor when his fans would next get to see his six-pack abs, the suit-clad Khan smirked, "You can't see them now? Come, come along with me, I'll show you the six-pack."
It comes as little surprise to Khan that he has a massive fan base in Toronto, a city with nearly 700,000 South Asians.
IIFA, a three-day extravaganza of film, music and fashion, culminates in Saturday's awards ceremony. IIFA has taken its awards weekend around the world, landing on North American soil for the first time to capitalize on Toronto's built-in fan base and create business opportunities between the two trading partners.
"The partnership that we have struck with Ontario will lead to greater benefits to both countries in terms of entertainment, trade and tourism. Toronto is definitely the gateway to North America and we hope to maintain a great relationship with this amazing country for years to come," said Sabbas Joseph, director of Wizcraft International, which produces and promotes the IIFA events around the world each year.
Toronto already has an international reputation as a film mecca as host of the Toronto International Film Festival, where British director Danny Boyle's crossover "Slumdog Millionaire" received the top award in 2008 en route to its Oscar haul.
IIFA organizers and Bollywood players are hoping to further facilitate such crossover successes.
"Of course I want to do more," said "Slumdog Millionaire" actor Anil Kapoor when asked if he wants to do more Hollywood movies.
Bollywood has consciously courted a more global audience by shooting in foreign locales. Toronto has long been a shooting destination for its neighbors to the south, dubbed in the past as Hollywood North when the U.S. dollar was strong and producers could shoot films for sometimes half the cost in Toronto and Vancouver, British Columbia.
Indian actor Boman Irani, who will co-host the awards show at the Rogers Centre, shot his 2008 Hindi-language film "Kismat Konnection" in Toronto. He said Bollywood started shooting productions to London, Switzerland, Spain, and the U.S., and has now turned its eyes to Toronto.