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Being Salman Khan

For someone who stands accused of slaughtering mute animals and running over sleeping humans, Salman Khan, oddly, is more synonymous with 'Being Human' than anything else. If you thought that the irony was lost in...Gautam Chintamani writes.

brunch Updated: Feb 01, 2013 16:32 IST
Gautam Chintamani
Gautam Chintamani
Hindustan Times

For someone who stands accused of slaughtering mute animals and running over sleeping humans, Salman Khan, oddly, is more synonymous with 'Being Human' than anything else. If you thought that the irony was lost in this one case then being Salman Khan simply redefines irony.

Irony has been a constant companion in Salman Khan's life. It's the one thing that the actor sought refuge in at regular intervals in his life and it has become such an intrinsic part of his rather larger than life persona that everyone who looks at him from outside uses it in the most liberal sense to explain him. It's redundant to explain Salman Khan, as it is practically impossible to understand him. life, much like his career, has been one that has goes beyond the realm of reason and accountability. In an ideal world fans, and even detractors or critics, are the ones who look at an actor as a phenomenon while the person in question argues to be a reasonably simple creature who has attained fame and success beyond reproach. But not Salman Khan. He doesn't seem to care about what he thinks of himself but what makes him unique is that legions of his fans and even those who can't stand him but are in some capacity awed by his image can't help but think that he is just a regular flawed super human being. Had anyone else done or believed to have done half the things attributed to him, they wouldn't have been given half a shot at a second chance.

Salman's life and career can be seen in two distinctive phases- before and after post Tere Naam. From 1989 till 2003 his boy-next-door image from films like Maine Pyar Kiya, Saajan, Hum Aapke Hain Koun… !, Khamoshi- The Musical, Andaaz Apna Apna, Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya and Hum Dil De Chuke Saman was good enough to douse the real life horror stories about him. He's allegedly beaten his girlfriends - Somy Ali, Aishawarya Rai and the rumors of him publically beating Subhash Ghai, threatening Vivek Oberoi and even bashing up Ranbir Kapoor when he was better known as just Rishi Kapoor's son are part of industry folklore. Yet, he was loved by the masses and adored by the trade so much so that the business distanced itself from Aishwarya Rai and Oberoi, who was considered a rising star, was relegated to being a social pariah. His routine court appearances in the black buck shooting case in Jaipur were nothing less than a darshan for fans and even some politicians like Bina Kak, who considers him to be family. She even acted as his mother in Maine Pyar Kyon Kiya (2005). It was during this period that he was involved in a hit-and-run case in which it was alleged that he rammed his Land Cruiser into a pavement killing one and injuring four. Salman surrendered eight hours after the incident and the trial started four years later but in the interim came Tere Naam that just changed the way Salman would be seen by the world. Tere Naam Salman wasn't the box-office king that he has become in the last five years. His films weren't doing that well and his iconic Eid releases were still to become reality. The film was a remake of the Tamil hit Sethu and no one thought that it would become the smash that it did. The success of Tere Naam somewhere for his fans absolved him of any misdemeanor and since then his fans have never bothered about what their loving Bhai does in real life. Since Tere Naam the hits became monstrous and the flops ceased to matter. Interestingly after Tere Naam most of Salman's characters have become single toned and take great pride in being the opposite of honest or law-abiding. This trait of his character extends beyond the profession they might don and more so if they happen to be men of law like in Wanted and Dabangg. The trade now keeps the Eid weekend slot vacant for bhai and no one messes around with him on that account. Even Shah Rukh Khan, who in spite of having a bad fall out with Salman, preferred to postpone the release of Chennai Express by a few weeks when he learnt that Salman's remake of Brindavanam might be released around Eid 2013.

Looking at Salman Khan today one gets a feeling that he is perhaps an anomaly to the principles of human condition. He doesn't seem to be someone who wishes away the bad; in fact he seems to wishes for it as to err is human and Salman could just be good at being human. Good enough for fools and sensible people alike to treat him like a vestigial organ that the body is contended to live with and smile.

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