Meet Shah Rukh Khan’s lookalike in Dubai

Estimated read time 5 min read

Durgesh Goyal is a professional Shah Rukh Khan impersonator in Dubai. EXPAT MEDIA

Hear from the doppelganger of Shah Rukh Khan, living life in Dubai as one cool clone!

People often do a double take when Durgesh Goyal walks by. It is because the Indian expat in Dubai bears an uncanny resemblance to superstar Shah Rukh Khan.

In an exclusive interview with Expat Media, Durgesh talks about his latest brush with the Bollywood icon, which happened just last December at Dubai Mall. Shah Rukh was in town to promote his latest film, Dunki.

“I was waiting for four hours inside a restaurant. Outside, there was already a big crowd waiting for him. When I went out to use the washroom, the crowd started chanting Shah Rukh Khan’s name and thought I was him,” Durgesh tells Expat Media with a grin.

Durgesh Goyal is a professional Shah Rukh Khan impersonator in Dubai.

Durgesh has mimicked Shah Rukh since 2009, but shares that he has been a big fan of the “Baadshah of Bollywood” since he was a six-year-old boy. “I saw him on television for the first time in 1998, and I thought he was a nice actor. I have been following him ever since,” he recalls. “Sometimes my family would get angry because I’d wake up as early as 4am to watch a Shah Rukh Khan movie, but I’d never wake up early for my exams,” he says with a guffaw.

He has watched all of Shah Rukh Khan’s movies, and has a collection of all his films, including photos and magazine clippings. He even has a tattoo of Shah Rukh on his right arm, which the star signed. Of course, that signature was quickly turned into another tattoo!

Durgesh says he treasures his rare encounters with Shah Rukh Khan: five times in Dubai and four times in India. He was over the moon when he landed a bit role in a Dubai Tourism video with the Bollywood king. “Shah Rukh Khan was standing there, then the director, then me. The director showed me the script and told me what to do. He said ‘Shah Rukh Khan will come, tap you on the shoulder and you should look shocked’. The scene took two minutes to shoot. Before Shah Rukh Khan left, I hugged him,” Durgesh recalls.

He shows us photos of him up close and personal with Shah Rukh. One was during the star’s exclusive 50th birthday celebration where Durgesh got an invitation, and another was during a fan-made film launched in 2014. The last one was with Durgesh sharing the stage with Shah Rukh Khan during a promotional tour in Dubai.

Durgesh Goyal is a professional Shah Rukh Khan impersonator in Dubai.

Life of an SRK lookalike from India to Dubai

Durgesh says his career as a Shah Rukh Khan lookalike came by accident after a fan mistook him for the Bollywood star. The former computer technician jumped on the idea of being a professional doppelganger and started working as a professional lookalike in 2009.

Invitations for gigs in his home state of Rajasthan started pouring in. “When I go on stage, there’s a big crowd,” he says. Store owners also tapped him for some star power to boost business. “They would ask me to open their store, but there was no money. So, I came to Dubai,” he says.

In 2016, Durgesh flew to Dubai from his city of Jodphur, Rajasthan to find his fortune and grow his fame as Shah Rukh Khan’s lookalike. He took on various jobs before landing full time work in the now defunct Bollywood Parks Dubai as a talent and entertainment coordinator. He now works in IMG Worlds of Adventure as a character animator. One of his side jobs is appearing as Shah Rukh Khan’s lookalike in events and clubs.

Life as a lookalike takes time and effort, Durgesh says. “I work out to get in shape, and I make sure I follow his latest style, from the clothes to the hair,” he says. He usually skips going to the salon and prefers to style his own beard and cut his own hair.

Durgesh admits he sometimes feels hurt when people say he is just a copycat. “Some mindless people will say on Instagram, ‘Why do you copy this man?’ I say, I’m an IT professional, technician and entertainer. I also work as a chef’s assistant. I do many roles. Just like an actor. In movies, they have different roles,” he says.

He draws support from his family in India. “My mum always says, ‘You are Shah Rukh to the audience, but at home you are Dipu (his nickname)’,” he says. He lives by himself in Dubai, but shares that he is loving his bachelor’s life in the city. He spends his free time playing online games. He also loves cooking and is hoping to open his own restaurant one day.

Durgesh says if given the chance to star with Shah Rukh Khan in a full-length movie, he would want a “father-son” story line. “I will play the role of his son,” he says.

Meanwhile, Durgesh says he is happy just playing the role of his idol’s lookalike. “Shah Rukh Khan is a big actor. He doesn’t have time for a meet and greet with all people. So we lookalikes have a God-given gift. We are doing half of Shah Rukh Khan’s work for photos with fans. Some people say, ‘If we can’t meet with the original, we have the lookalike!’ It’s a really nice feeling,” he shares. PIA/Expat Media

A condensed version of this story is published on the Expat Media Special Edition Magazine

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