HTLS 2017: When did Salman Khan get so diplomatic?
Many adjectives have been used to describe Salman Khan but “diplomatic” is a word rarely associated with him, until now.
The actor with an “interesting past” fielded a range of thorny questions with tact at the 15th Hindustan Times Leadership Summit on Thursday.
He waltzed around the bouncers. And he clarified his political correctness right at the session’s start.
“My film is about to release and I will not say something wrong. My comments may make you happy but my parents will be upset,” he said in response to a query from senior journalist Shekhar Gupta, the session moderator.
Salman’s new film, Tiger Zinda Hai, is awaiting release.
Just as the audience marvelled at his easy charm, they also wondered when the 52-year-old actor learnt to dodge difficult questions.
He made a passing mention about his past — the court cases and the “beautiful women” he has been linked to — but blamed them all on “TV newscasters who speak very loudly”.
The fact that he had a sore throat came handy. When asked repeatedly about the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault allegations and if there are any Bollywood parallels, he said he has a throat infection.
Then he said he forgot the question and asked Gupta to answer it.
When the moderator pressed on, Salman said he has never heard of a sexual assault case in Bollywood and if it ever happened “it’s the most disgusting thing”.
That’s a response hardly expected from a man who was never tactful with his words.
He handled a question on the Padmavati controversy with a dash of humour. “I gave Sanjay Leela Bhansali two hits and he took Shah Rukh Khan in the next one,” he said.
He also mentioned his own film, Maine Pyar Kyun Kiya, and how it suffered when it was delayed.
He didn’t mention his remarks supporting Bhansali a few days ago, which had got fringe organisations protesting against the movie to promptly add him to their hate list.
Salman seems to have taken the advice he gave to Bigg Boss contestants – no one wants to work with badly behaved people.
The new Salman jokes about himself, jokes about others and stays away from controversies. It is also the sign of the times. As the actor said whatever you do is on social media in five minutes. And perhaps goes viral in six. He has wisened up to social media’s reach.
After years of controversies – mistimed tweets and comments that rubbed people the wrong way —Salman has gone from Being Human to Being Diplomatic. His film, it seems, is safe for now.
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