At first they were just fans fascinated by the sheer presence of Bollywood heartthrob Shah Rukh Khan (SRK) on screen. That was about a decade ago.

“I was going through a difficult phase in my life when I first saw a film starring Shah Rukh Khan by accident. Then I saw other films of his and kept on watching all his films because they made me happy,” confesses Elke Mader, Professor Social and Cultural Anthropology and member Visual Studies, a research group in Social Sciences at Austria's University of Vienna.

Soon after information technology helped SRK fans like Professor Mader to reach out to others like herself around the globe.

It was found that a market stand in a small village in the Peruvian Andes sells SRK posters, a street vendor in Ghana offers DVDs of SRK films to passers by. In Berlin, hundreds of German fans line the streets to catch a glimpse of the star when he presents one of his films at the Berlinale Film Festival. Russian and Austrian fan groups travel to Mumbai to see him wave to the crowd in front of his home on his birthday; at the Zee Carnival in London the 'meet and greet sessions' with SRK draw thousands of fans from the South Asian diaspora as well as from diverse European countries to the fair.

SRK is noticed around the world presenting the award winning Slumdog Millionaire at the Golden Globe in Los Angeles together with Karan Johar and Kajol in 2008. He tours the UK and the USA to promoteMy Name is Khan in 2010 before attending its double premiere in Abu Dhabi and Berlin. SRK is witnessed cheering his cricket team Kolkata Knight Riders along the international circuits of the Indian Premiere League. He is seen by millions more performing on stage at diverse spectacular events worldwide, and is further exposed by endorsing a wide range of consumer goods of local and global reach.

In short SRK is everywhere:

meiin yahan hoon yahan hoon yahan hoon yahan

And the swelling number of his fans do not complain. They watch with bated breath the accelerated globalisation of Bollywood before their eyes and its connection to SRK.

That is when Mader decided to add a more lasting value to her love for SRK. She got together with scholars of screen studies like Rajinder Dudrah, senior lecturer, University of Manchester, UK and Bernhard Fuchs, faculty with the Department of European Ethnology, University of Vienna, Austria to find out what they could do apart from just adoring SRK.

They knocked on the door of Professor Rachel Dwyer, SOAS, University of London and author of Picture Abhi Baaki Hai: Bollywood as a Guide to Modern India and Munni Kabir, television producer and maker of The Inner and Outer World of Shahrukh Khan. Once all of them agreed that a serious study of the playful entertainer was a good idea, an international conference titled Shah Rukh Khan and Global Bollywood was inaugurated at the University of Vienna on 30 September, 2010.

The three day event attracted scholars from various subjects and disciplines in the arts, humanities and social sciences to confer about a wide range of topics concerning the global cultural phenomenon of SRK and Bollywood cinema.

SRK who was of course invited to the magnificent meet could not make it although he was shooting Don II in nearby Berlin at that time. However he did email a message that was delivered at the opening of the conference.

Amongst other things, SRK wrote:

I am primarily an entertainer; everything else is rather incidental or accidental. I am blessed to have had the opportunity to touch hearts and bring smiles. The love or at least the attention of all of you lovely people is my greatest remuneration and reward which drives me to go beyond my limitations and excel, and, if I may add, the paycheck is not bad either...

Between then and now much must have happened both in the life and career of SRK and his fans. For example many Bollywood fans must have found newer, brighter stars to adore. SRK is older and repetitive in his later performances, is a common complaint.

“The fire in him no longer burns,” confided a once ardent fan who continues to prefer the earlier performances of SRK.

Even the luminaries who met at the Vienna conference with stars in their eyes dispersed as if into a black hole and seemed preoccupied with other matters in life apart from SRK. The gang of SRK fans who called themselves Shahrukhis and had once met regularly in Vienna to talk about the latest performance of SRK and to share stories with each other about their love for the superstar, were a little less passionate now. And just when it was suspected that the globe's love affair with SRK was as transitory as all other love in life, the organisers of the 2010 event have resurfaced to launch, with much love, a most generous 355 page book based on the same conference.

The hardcover book has 14 lush essays by the likes of Ashish Rajadhyaksha, Bengaluru based film studies scholar; Kamala Ganesh, Professor of Sociology, University of Mumbai and Kanchan Mahadevan, Professor of Philosophy, University of Mumbai; and Petra Hirzer. Phd student, University of Vienna amongst others.

The exhaustive introduction is jointly penned by Professor Mader, Dudrah and Fuchs in a book that is an important scholarly landmark in cinema and star studies. This valuable tribute to SRK is certain to make sure that the globe never forgets him even if it wants to and despite the successful, or not release of SRK's latest film called Fan on 15 April.

SRK and Global Bollywood is edited by Rajinder Dudrah, Elke Mader and Bernhard Fuchs and published by Oxford University Press; 2015; pages 355; price Rs 995.