Bollywood stars Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol have become the first Indian actors to ring the opening bell of the world's biggest stock exchange, NASDAQ, an honour usually reserved for CEOs of major corporations.
The actors who are in the US to promote their upcoming film, My Name Is Khan, releasing on February 12, came to NASDAQ and rang in the first trading day of February at 9.30 a.m. on Monday at a ceremony broadcast live on many television networks across the globe.
With over 3,700 companies listed, NASDAQ has more trading volume than any other stock market in the world.
As the star pair made their way to the NASDAQ building in Times square, Shah Rukh said on his Twitter account: "Nasdaq will be fun. Have to make sure I reach on time, otherwise will end up being blamed for economic upheaval across the world too... ha ha."
In the film, Khan plays a Muslim Indian with Asperger syndrome (a form of autism) who lives in the US and marries a Hindu single mother, played by Kajol, but their marriage crumbles post-9/11 and he sets out to meet the US president for help in getting her back.
The highly awaited picture reunites Khan and Kajol, who haven't appeared in a film together since Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham in 2001. The film was shot in Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Francisco, and Mumbai. Directed by filmmaker Karan Johar, it's produced by his company, Dharma Productions.
My Name Is Khan was reportedly sold to Fox Star Studios last July for a record $21 million, the highest price ever paid by a distributor for a Bollywood film.
Under the deal, Fox Star Studios, a joint venture between American film studio 20th Century Fox and India's Star Group, acquired the worldwide marketing and distribution rights to the film. It will be released in North America by Fox Searchlight Pictures, a division of 20th Century Fox.
Meanwhile, Shah Rukh told The Wall Street Journal on Monday: "I'm hopeful to make one Hindi film that's seen by the whole world."
"Like Life is Beautiful," he explained. "It was an Italian film but everyone saw it and loved it."
A year after Slumdog Millionaire raked in eight Oscars, Shah Rukh admitted he'd love to top its success. "Nobody knows where a film is going to go when you finish it," he was quoted as saying by the Journal.
"I think this will... touch a lot more people in the Eastern and Western world than any film has done before. I would love it to be a bigger hit than Slumdog."
Asked about plans to cross into Hollywood, Shah Rukh Khan said: "I've never been asked."
He jokingly speculated that it was, perhaps, because he doesn't have Brad Pitt's body and doesn't know kung fu.
"I like that I'm the king of Bollywood, though," he told the Journal.