by Subhash K Jha
It's very easy to brand Salman an unholy terror and be done with it. After all, he HAS been in trouble
in the past...and will probably continue to be on the wrong side of the morality line .
Then why does he command so much hysterical adulation from family, friends and fans?
"It's a tricky question," says a very close friend of Salman. "I've seen both sides of Salman. I've seen
him as the enfant-terrible, and I've seen him as the absolutely gracious and kind soul who will go
out and do anything for his friends. Salman is what we call a yaaron ka yaar. There's little that he
won't do for someone he cares for."
That's one side of Salman Khan. The other, far more strongly assertive side is the one that
surfaces when inebriated, or pushed to the corner.
This is the side that surfaces when Salman turns into a child-like attention –seeker. It's the side
that Aishwarya Rai got to see when she was with Salman.
The love affair, like all love connections, started beautifully enough on the sets of Sanjay Leela
Bhansali's Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. By the time Sanjay started work on his next film Devdas,
their relationship had taken sharp violent and irreversible turn.
This was the time when Salman began to get aggressively possessive about his lady love. He would
accuse her of having an affair with every co-star she worked with . Once while Rohan Sippy was
shooting Kuch Na Kaho Salman stormed on to the sets and tried to bodily drag her out. When
members of the crew protested he threatened to punch their nose (I'm being polite).
In fact anyone who protested on Aishwarya's behalf was labelled a traitor and given the Khan-damn
The brutality and violence reached a flash -point for Aishwarya when she told him she couldn't take
him—and them (the violence and brutality) --any longer.
No to Salman?? Nahin chalega, boss! Thereafter he began to hound the lady like a man possessed
(which he has confessed to being). He monitored every move she made , and parked his vehicle
outside her building daring her to step out. For an awards function, Aishwarya had to drive out
crouching in the backseat of her car so that her jealous admirer wouldn't espy her as she broke
the 'house arrest' treaty.
Salman landed up at the awards function to humiliate the lady in every way possible.
Not a single soul intervened at the function. They watched mutely or pretended not to see as
Salman threatened, heckled and jeered the lady.
This scene was almost like an instant-replay version of what had happened to poor Zeenat Aman in
the early 1980s when a co-star (coincidentally another macho Khan) and his wife clobbered her in full
public eye as everyone stood in a semi-circle and watched.
Zeenat nearly lost her eye to what she thought was love. Aishwarya's scars aren't that
Why and how is Salman Khan allowed to get away with such behaviour with women , not once but
repeatedly? Many years ago he had followed actress Somy Ali into a discotheque where she was
chilling out with friends, and emptied a bottle of a soft-drink on her head, then chased the poor girl
on the road as she tried to drive away.
Is this normal behaviour for a 40-year old man?
Maybe not. But Salman has his own strange pattern of right and wrong. Salman is said to have told
his close friends that he has no recollection of the conversations with Ms Rai that were splashed
in the press. Maybe he doesn't.
As one of his devoted co-stars cooed , "Salman is such a bachcha! All that terrorist talk is just like a child playing with dangerous toys, pretending he's all grown up."
Child at 40? Surely there's something seriously wrong with this kind of indulgent perception of
delinquent behaviour. But then I haven't met a single Salman co-star who doesn't dote on him.
The best part of Salman's tumultuous life is the amazing support system provided by his family. His
brothers are killingly protective about the star of the family. Salman's family and friends rally
around him, is understandable: he has always incited a fearfully protective instinct among all his
co-stars. But is it right to turn around the issue, and lay the blame squarely on the other party?
Blessedly he still has fans and popularity. The success of Maine Pyar Kyun Kiya proves it. Sure,
Kyun Ki.... didn't work. But it proved Salman is willing to take risks.
As he celebrates his birthday I can only hope to see him finally settle down in life...and forget a
certain love of his life.