Mumbai, Nov 25 (IANS) Bollywood filmmaker and actor Farhan Akhtar enjoys a huge fan following, but he hero-worships Hollywood star Robert De Niro and says meeting him was like a dream come true.
Farhan met his childhood idol at the launch of Atlantis Hotel in Dubai Nov 20.
"I can't even begin to tell you what it meant to me. I mean, everyone who loves cinema loves De Niro, right? But with me it's a little more," Farhan told IANS.
"When I heard he was going to be there at the Dubai event, I had to be there too. Yes, De Niro was my primary incentive for attending. I had hoped for a handshake with De Niro at the most. I got a hug. I don't know whether he felt my respect for him. But to see him so up close and personal was an awesome experience.
"De Niro turned out to be a thorough gentleman. Everyone there at the Dubai event wanted to meet him. What an ordeal it must have been for him to smile and talk to everyone. But he was so in control," Farhan said.
Though De Niro didn't know about Farhan's work, he spoke very warmly to Farhan.
"Shah Rukh (Khan), who was with us, was sweet enough to tell De Niro quite a lot about my work. De Niro has given us his contact details where we'll be sending him my films. I'm doing so right away."
While often meeting a hero takes away the aura of hero worship, with Farhan it worked just the other way.
"I'm completely impressed. I hadn't gone there expecting him to give me a star treatment or anything. But he was wonderful. He spoke to us. That was more than I could ask for."
Farhan says the break in Dubai was not a break at all.
"We were constantly doing something or the other, attending one event after the next. There was no respite. You can hardly call it a holiday. Now I need a holiday to get over the experience and relive my golden moments with De Niro. To me it was amazing to have met someone who has been a complete inspiration for me. My love for movies was inspired by people like De Niro and Mr. (Amitabh) Bachchan. He was a wow factor right after I saw 'Taxi Driver', 'Raging Bull', etc."
Indian film industry is finally getting recognised at a global level, says Farhan.
"When one goes to an event such as this, one encounters a huge amount of cinematic talent from all the world. This kind of interaction was not possible 10 years ago," he said.