Almost a tradition now, the 2018 Auto Expo saw the king of Bollywood Shah Rukh Khan grace the Hyundai pavilion. The Korean car brand has almost mimicked the actor’s journey in films with its 20 years of presence in India. As he completes two decades of endorsing the brand too, SRK acknowledges that makes him the longest-running brand ambassador in the world, in the automobile sector at least. It was a trip down the memory lane then as the star recalled his early days with the brand.
From learning about a lesser known South Korean car maker ‘Hyundai’ to being approached by BVR Subbu, the then marketing head of the company, to become the brand ambassador for the compact hatchback Hyundai Santro. In fact, the first series of advertisements involved a Hyundai executive called Mr Kim trying to convince Shah Rukh Khan to endorse the Santro in India. SRK then filmed the launch commercially with a red Santro and a labrador!
The Raees actor shared a little trivia revealing that the 180-degree turn shown in the ad was done by the Santro itself and not a stunt car. If that amazes you, it was only awe-inspiring to know that the stunt was pulled off by the actor himself. More respect to you sir! SRK has featured in multiple Hyundai ads since, and many have also featured in his home productions. The first was once again a red Santro in Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani – also his first film as a producer.
“We had this whole ad where Mr. Kim from Korea had to come to tell me what Hyundai means and how do you say Hyundai, and I still discuss it. Some people say it Hyundaai, Hyunday. So we have different pronunciations for it [Hyundai] and it didn’t start like that and how he shows me what it stands for.
“There’s a stunt I’m so proud on two counts that the Santro does it itself, it’s not a stunt car. So I’ve done a 180 [degree] turn it in. I was driving it and we tried it the first time and it worked. We do the handbrake and the turn and we just turn. I still remember there was a little light in front to light up Juhi [Chawla] and it fell down and it started smoking upon her dress and we thought she’d catch fire but nothing happened.”