New Delhi, Jan 3 (IANS) It was love at first sight for both Deepika Padukone and Anushka Sharma when the then school-going girls watched Shah Rukh Khan win hearts in "Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge". But not even in their wildest dreams did they think that they would star opposite the superstar in their maiden ventures.
Hailing from Bangalore, both the model-turned-actresses have been self-proclaimed Shah Rukh fans since childhood and have grown up watching almost all his films.
Deepika's and Anushka's entry into Bollywood came as a pleasant surprise and pushed their big-screen careers on a high as their debut films - "Om Shanti Om" (2007) and "Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi" (2008) respectively - hit the bull's eye, courtesy their co-star Shah Rukh Khan.
"Initially, I was very nervous about working with him. But Shah Rukh made it very comfortable for me. We did readings together; we met socially so that we were comfortable when we faced the camera. He's someone I grew up watching," 22-year-old Deepika had told IANS in an earlier interview.
Said 19-year old Anushka: "I never had the intention to be an actress. It happened out of luck and I consider myself very fortunate to be part of such a big banner (Yash Raj Films) in my debut film and to be working with a star like Shah Rukh."
Her favourite films also include "Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge" and "Chak De! India".
Considering the age difference between him and Deepika, Shah Rukh also aired a joke in the media before the release of "Om Shanti Om" about his fear of being called "uncle" by his co-star on the film sets.
Though the age difference between him and his co-stars was big, it was hardly a deterrent in the success of the two. The audiences and critics were generous with their applause for the on-screen chemistry between the 40-plus actor and the young girls - Deepika and Anushka.
Shah Rukh's humorous take on his affection for younger co-stars was also seen in the media.
"I have so much love for Kareena, Deepika, Priyanka and Anushka. They tell me that I am the youngest hero they have worked with. In fact, they say I am younger than the young guys. I work with these young girls without any ulterior motives of seducing them.
"Priyanka still does not call me by my name. I had crowned her at a beauty pageant. She says 'Sir' or just begins the conversation without taking my name. Nobody calls me uncle except Sushmita, she tells me I'm very old," Shah Rukh said.
However, his celebrity fan following doesn't end here. Telugu actress Seiya, who hit stardom with her debut film "Neninthe" last year, is another self-confessed diehard fan of Shah Rukh.
Having already watched "Rab Ne..." thrice, the 20-year-old has now expressed her desire to act with the iconic actor as Anushka has done.
"I just love watching Shah Rukh Khan and his riveting performance. I would love to be in the shoes of Anushka, who's had a dream debut," she was quoted as saying.
Other model-turned-actresses who made their debut opposite Shah Rukh are Mahima Chaudhary in "Pardes" (1997), Preity Zinta in "Dil Se" (1998) and Gayatri Joshi in Ashutosh Gowariker's "Swades" (2004).