Salman Khan acquitted: Why Bollywood held its breath as Jodhpur court ruled in Arms Act case
Salman Khan was acquitted by the Jodhpur Court in connection with the 18-year-old Arms Act case registered against him by the Rajasthan forest department. The ruling was announced amid high drama as the Bollywood superstar made his way to the Jodhpur court on Wednesday, 18 January 2017, thronged by a crush of fans and mediapersons. Salman was accompanied by his legal team and his sister Alvira Agnihotri.
A guilty verdict would have carried a sentence of up to seven years of imprisonment.
There was understandably a lot riding on the verdict — not just for Salman himself, but also the entire Hindi film industry. This is because Salman has not one, but three major projects lined up for 2017.
First up is Kabir Khan's Tubelight, which is set against the backdrop of the Sino-Indian war. Salman has already finished the major shoot schedule of the project, for which he was based in Manali for several weeks. The last leg of the shoot was being wrapped up on sets constructed in Mumbai.
While work on Tubelight would not have been affected in a major way, Salman's two other films — Tiger Zindai Hai, a sequel to the 2010 blockbuster Ek Tha Tiger, and Dabangg 3 (also a sequel to a 2012 hit, Dabangg 2) would undoubtedly have needed to be postponed. The industry would have taken a hit of several hundred crores. There is also the co-production Salman had announced with Karan Johar, which was to feature Akshay Kumar in the lead in a retelling of the Battle of Saragarhi.
The situation for Salman and the industry was very similar to that in 2015 and 2016, when the judgments in the 2002 hit-and-run case and the 1998 blackbuck poaching cases were anticipated. Then too, the industry was on tenterhooks and Salman had several mega-budget films in the offing, including Bajrangi Bhaijaan (again, directed by Kabir Khan) and Prem Ratan Dhan Paayo. In 2016, Sultan released a few months before a Rajasthan court acquitted Salman in the blackbuck poaching cases. However, since Salman had already started shooting for Tubelight at the time the judgment was expected (November 2016), there were doubts as to whether or not he would be able to complete the film if pronounced guilty.
Updated Date: Jan 18, 2017 11:57 AM