Since the age of 7, I have been an ardent fan of Salman Khan. The Salman Khan. Bhai (not mine).The man who’s looks I have idolized for as long as I can remember. The man who’s posters covered the walls of my room.
I find my father an extremely irritating person when it comes to my being a Sallu fan. He’d call him “chamkila kabaad” right in the middle of my ogling-at-him-moment and then enjoy seeing me fume with rage and fury. He’d suddenly say something like “kya bakwaas aadmi hai” and continue walking while I am left behind trying to catch Sallu’s glimpse and overcome my anger at the same time.
With time, I have been known to watch Sallu movies in theatres, be it any movie. I have bought about 8 Being Human t shirts and have worn them with love and affection only a sallu fan would understand.
A few years ago, I saw sallu flying a kite with Modi ji. Being a sallu fan is something different and being a logical person is different (though my father would vehemently disagree because for him, these two cant co exist). I remember telling my mom that he knows how to go with the flow and you’ll see that he’ll not be punished for the drunken driving case.
Few years down the line, he did get free, his fans rejoiced on the roads, there was a huge crowd in front of his house, to welcome Bhai, the day the judgment was passed. Amidst the royal welcome that he received, there were people all over the nation, watching television, shaking their heads in disbelief and then concluding : “India hai bhia, kuch bhi ho sakta hai”.
Salman Kha is a brand in himself. I remember watching Ek Tha Tiger in the theater and not a single soul clapped or whistled when Katrina made her first appearance on screen but, the whole hall erupted in whistles and hooting (and I contributed to it) the moment Sallu made his entry.
His stardom is something which remains a mystery to most.If you ask people like my father, it’s one of the biggest mysteries of modern India. A man, well past his prime, with sub standard intellect, below average acting prowess, very awkward dance moves, manages to have such a massive fan following that it seems, whatever crap he touches, turns to gold (except for his girlfriends, because they had turned black or blue while with him). The way I think he connects with millions is, either by his looks or because he is extremely normal while talking and giving an interview and his very poor intellect seems to challenge no one and there are no opinions to divide people on (because probably there is no knowledge).
Now, again Bhai has showered us with his Jalwa and the 18 year old case of shooting the chinkara seems to have fizzled out. I am sure, after Rajnikanth, its Bhai for whom the universe alters is course and makes way for a rose petal laden path. Once more, people rejoiced and some shook their heads in dismay.
Getting away with crimes is so easy breezy these days. The only thing one needs to have is, the correct political contacts and you are good to go. There is no denying that Salman Khan is a criminal and the justice system of our country has again and again buckled under the weight of the influential. It happened in the past, it happened today and it would happen again in the future. Bhai got away with beating his girlfriends, with killing a human, with killing a deer.
We Indians, we either love or we hate. And when we love, we forget reasons, we forget reel and real, we forget about the examples we are setting in the society and we forget the real evil behind the reel smile. To love an on screen character is normal, to love someone’s looks is normal but thousands cheering the acquittal of a criminal is downright terrifying. It just reflects on the kind of people we have become, criminals, it seems.
PS: A line for my father. Yes, he is a chamkila kabaad, yes, he is a behuda aadmi : both of these things still don’t make him ugly or steal his looks. And hell yes, he is a criminal. He should be punished and his andh bhakts rejoicing his aquittal make me scared to death.