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ON 2 NOVEMBER 2014, Shah Rukh Khan’s forty-ninth birthday, a horde of his fans gathered outside the front gate of Mannat—the film star’s six-storey mansion on the Bandra seafront, in Mumbai. By early afternoon, many had been there for hours, hoping that Khan would make a brief appearance—so they could wave at him, and shout his name, if just for a few minutes.
Raju Rahikwar arrived at half past one. The crowd, stunned by the wait under a strong sun, stirred. Raju wore a shiny brown jacket and matching trousers, a red shirt and black sunglasses, with straight black hair parted down the middle and bangs covering his forehead—all meant to mimic the look of Khan himself. He looked convincing enough that many in the crowd, deprived of the real star, gravitated towards him. Some wanted to get pictures taken, so Raju smiled for their cameras. Some wanted autographs, so he signed their notepads. Some wanted to make small talk, so he chatted with them for a while.