Actor Salman Khan has been the eye of a storm, thanks to a ‘rape’ comment he made while speaking in the context of his upcoming film, Sultan. In an interview to the entertainment website, spotboye.com, the 50-year-old actor compared his exhaustion from a physically demanding shooting sequence to the film to the exhaustion of a “raped woman”. Realising his mistake, he immediately backtracked, but the damage had been done.
The remark sparked a furious debate with the Maharashtra State Commission for Women summoning the actor for a hearing. While the social media and the state and National Commission for Women (NCW) took offense and demanded an apology from the star, Bollywood chose to be tight-lipped initially.
After Salman’s father Salim apologised on his behalf in a series of tweets, several Bollywood actors including Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Kangana Ranaut and Priyanka Chopra admitted the comment was ‘insensitive’. However, they refrained from condemning Salman. Instead, almost everyone said it was ‘not intentional’.
Here’s what the celebs have said on the issue so far:
Aamir Khan: “I wasn’t present when he made the comment. I feel going purely by the media reports that I have been reading which quotes him as saying it, I feel, what he said was rather unfortunate and insensitive.”
When asked if he had spoken to Salman over the issue, Aamir said, “Who am I to give advice?”
Shah Rukh Khan: “In the last few years I have realised that I have made so many inappropriate comments myself that I don’t think I am someone to sit and judge somebody else’s comments, to be honest. It’s about taking sides or not taking sides. Who are we to decide or not decide what he (Salman) should or shouldn’t be doing. Personally speaking I don’t think I can make any comments on this, I am so inappropriate myself. I myself say so many things.”
Priyanka Chopra: “First of all, you should be asking the person who made this comment. It is very important for the media and for me as a woman to use our power and talk about the real problem which is happening in India every single day to so many women instead of pushing a controversy for a headline, which is unfair. There is so much reality happening like a brutal rape case in Bihar took place - why is no one talking about the issue. A lot has been said about the Salman issue. I don’t want to add to the noise. I would rather bring notice on real issues... the real problem is us talking about how to treat our women better in India and how to treat women better generally,” Priyanka told Khaleej Times in an interview.
Sonakshi Sinha: “I think too much has already been said about it, there is too much of focus and attention already put on something that should not garner so much attention. I’ll stay away from it. It should be put aside and the real issue should be addressed,” the 29-year-old actor said.
Kangana Ranaut: “We all agree that it is a horrible thing to say, it is something which is extremely insensitive. But what I would like to say is let’s not encourage the mentality where we want to point fingers at each other and want to feel greater by just running people down by trolling them,” Kangana said.
“As a society we have to take responsibility... It is disgraceful to the whole society and not an individual,” she added. “What Salim uncle says is right, we are all sorry about it. It is not about an individual, we all collectively feel sorry for that thought process.”
Salim Khan: “My son’s statement was undoubtedly wrong but his intentions were not. Nevertheless I apologise on behalf of his family, his fans and his friends. Forgiveness is to pardon the unpardonable or it is no virtue at all,” the noted screenwriter said in a series of tweets.
Arbaaz Khan: “It was just the kind of (statement) where we compare things... I worked like a donkey; so now people will say you used the word ‘donkey’ and some animal activist will come after you.”
“Not every incident that happens with Salman I am supposed to be answerable... He is a 50-year-old man who says what he wants to the media and lives his life. There are some things which we say while talking but we should look at the intention as well. I definitely have no doubt that whatever Salman said, the intention was not wrong.”