December 04, 2012 11:31 IST
Shah Rukh Khan performs at Place Jemaa el Fna during the 12th Marrakech International Film Festival on December 1, 2012, in Marrakech. (Photo: AFP)
Bollywood "demigod and prince charming" Shah Rukh Khan whipped thousands of Moroccans into a frenzy at the Marrakech film festival when he danced to the tunes of movie songs at the Jamaa El Fna square.
SRK, 47, popularly known as "King Khan", was cheered at the square -- a mecca of tourism in Morocco -- where a giant screen was installed to show a preview of his latest Hindi movie, Jab Tak Hain Jaan.
In its 12th edition, the festival which runs until December 8 in this ochre city, is presenting a "special tribute" to Indian cinema as it celebrates its centenary.
"I am pleased to present the star, the icon, the demigod of Indian cinema, Shah Rukh Khan," said an organiser as the arrival of the star sparked a roar from young fans, who braved gloomy and cold weather to catch a glimpse of him.
Shah Rukh Khan, who acted in some 80 films, was specially invited for the festival in Morocco, where Bollywood films rank alongside Egyptian movies in popularity.
A true showman, he warmed up the atmosphere with more than half-an-hour song and dance performance on stage that had the crowds screaming in appreciation.
Later festival organisers screened a preview of Jab Tak Hain Jaan, directed by legendary Bollywood filmmaker Yash Chopra who died in October in Mumbai, after more than five decades of movie career.
SRK had acted in several box-office hit movies produced and directed by Yash Chopra such as Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, Dil To Paagal Hai and Daar.
He has also taken lead roles in other blockbusters such as Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Kabhie Khushi Kabhie Gham directed by Karan Johar.
"This is the first time I am seeing Shah Rukh Khan. This is a dream. He was two feet away from me. He is so simple and modest," Khadija Ariba, a young student, told AFP.
"I know all his films. They talk of love, injustice, humanity... things that we speak of. He is the prince of most girls."
For many fans it was an "unforgettable" experience at Jamaa El Fna.
"We watch movies on satellite channels and some movie theatres. But to be present here on Jamaa El Fna is unforgettable for me," said Ouadie El Ouwad.
Ranked in 2001 as part of the World Heritage List by UNESCO, Jamaa El Fna -- site of the April 28, 2011 bombing that killed 17 people -- was teeming with joyful fans -- mostly students and employees -- who cheered SRK.
"I left my workplace at 5 pm to see Shah Rukh Khan from close, but once here the place was already packed with people," said Ahmed, 32, a carpenter.
"What I like most are his songs. And I have a friend, who speaks very good Hindi which he learned by watching his movies," he said as he straddled his motorcycle.
Fifteen films are in the race for the top prize at the festival, including Touch of the Light by Taiwanese Chang Jung-Chi, The Attack by French-Lebanese Ziad Doueiri and Like a Lion by Samuel Collardey of France.
The festival's jury comprises of Canadian Marie-Josee Croze, American James Gray, Moroccan Jillali Ferhati and French Lambert Wilson.
On Friday the festival kicked off with a special ovation for French actress Isabelle Huppert.