In perhaps a first for Bollywood, Hollywood star Tom Cruise was Sunday accorded a red carpet treatment at a special pre-release screening of his forthcoming movie "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol", over a fortnight before its global release Dec 21.
Wearing a blue shirt and jeans, keeping in mind Mumbai's warm weather, Cruise was at his charismatic best, even as his host and co-star, Anil Kapoor, beamed with pride at the Imax Cinema in Wadala in central Mumbai.
Cruise and co-star Paula Patton spent nearly two hours wowing and directly interacting with their fans, happily signing autographs, accepting their good wishes for the movie, which nearly 1,500 of them watched this afternoon and came out virtually shell-shocked from the movie hall.
"I have wanted to come here all my life. I kept telling Anil, a great actor and an incredible host, 'I promise you I will come to India'. Yesterday when we were at the Taj Mahal, I told him 'You have to pinch me. I can't believe I am here'," said a smiling Cruise.
Besides Budapest, Moscow and Dubai, Mumbai is one of the cities where parts of the film have been shot, though much of the location has been recreated in Dubai and Vancouver.
Asked about his experience in India, Cruise said he met Kapoor and became friends with him when he gave away the Golden Globe Award to the "Slumdog Millionaire" team, which included the Indian actor.
At the time, Kapoor invited him to India, and Cruise accepted it, promising to visit at some point.
Asked Whether he was familiar with Indian cinema, Cruise said: "Yes, I know some of them. You make so many movies. I don't know all of them. But, you have made many great films, and have great film-makers and actors here."
Co-star Patton appeared sharper when she quickly named 'Aishwarya Rai' when asked what stars she was familiar with, and mentioned "Monsoon Wedding" as her favourite Indian movie.
"This is the first time a top Hollywood star and producer not only screened his forthcoming movie for an Indian audience pre-release, but remained personally present to interact with his fans," said an official from the host team.