Salman Khan's Jekyll and Hyde public persona: Benevolence, abrasive behaviour go hand in hand for the troubled star

Abhishek Srivastava

April 08, 2018 10:18:52 IST

It was in 2006 when as a rookie reporter, I was dispatched on the sets of Salaam-E-Ishq by my boss to cover the on-location shoot of Nikkhil Advani’s film. Salman’s shooting schedule was slotted for the evening, which was to continue till late night.

When I reached Kamalistan Studios at 7 pm, it was already pitch dark. The wait time to cover the shoot and interview the superstar kept extending and it was not before midnight when the man finally descended from his vanity van. True to his character, accompanied by the fact that I was the only reporter on the set, he invited me to join him for an extremely ‘delayed’ dinner. While the spread-out home food was lip-smacking, I could not resist asking about one particular dish which caught my fancy. Pat came the reply, “Try it, it's black buck and it's delicious”. This incident also gives a glimpse of Salman’s mannerism and a reflection of his persona: to take life with a pinch of salt.

Salman Khan. Facebook

Salman Khan. Facebook

People might say that the law of karma has finally caught up with Salman after he was set free by the honourable court in the hit-and-run case, after he came unscathed post his remark on 26/11 and nothing transpired after his rape remark while interacting with scribes during the promotion of Sultan. Before this verdict, some even took the liberty of calling him destiny’s child. Despite getting into trouble in succession, he's come out undamaged.

Also read on Firstpost:  Salman Khan, the 'simpleton': How the superstar has milked his 'real life' personality on screen

But all said and done, Salman is also a changed man. The current Salman is a far cry from the Salman we witnessed during his pre-Wanted phase. Salman before Wanted carried a reputation of being an extremely difficult person to handle and a tough nut crack in his interviews. Reporters used to bet among themselves on questions that would make Salman go off the handle. This was also the phase when his tiff with Vivek Oberoi and the constant buzz around his marriage occupied entertainment columns in magazines and newspapers. On an occasion when a reporter reached his residence at Galaxy apartments for an interview, Salman took his shirt off and sat bare-chested for the interview, just to bully him. Salman tried his best to trick the reporter by not giving him an opportunity to fix the lapel mic of his recorder in his shirt.

But this was Salman Khan before 2006. When Being Human and Reshma Shetty (ex-manager) came into his life, things became more organised and professional. Reshma carved a path for him and made him aware of the immense potential the man carried in becoming a darling of the masses. It was a never-seen-before Salman who looked sober and obedient and most of all, carried an air of seriousness around him. His amateurish acts gave way to a profound appearance, which were assisted by the painter within and launch of his foundation Being Human.

Reshma could single-handedly be held responsible for turning around Salman’s image, which was at an abyss around 2004-05.

Also read on Firstpost: Salman Khan's success won't be affected by blackbuck poaching case verdict: How time, PR have helped superstar

There are also conspiracy theories that one often gets to read on various portals — that Being Human acts as more like a façade and that the foundation has been at the forefront of providing a clean image to the superstar. This could, in the long run, help in turning around people’s notion about him and eventually creating a favourable environment for his legal cases.

It is often said that Being Human is more of a clean-up exercise of his bad boy image, which had taken a serious beating after his involvement in two high profile court cases — the hit-and-run case and the blackbuck case. When Salman was asked by a scribe to comment on Being Human cleverly designed to rehabilitate his image, the response was met with a torrid defence and an eventual walkout from the interview.

My assumption about Salman vis-à-vis this case is that he was taking the matter lightly and was somewhere convinced that he would be pronounced as ‘not guilty’. Destiny too has been on his side as he was not convicted in the hit-and-run case. His analogy with the plight of a rape victim while shooting for Sultan too could not gather much momentum, neither did his remark on 26/11. All this convinced together that he would go unscathed. There are stories galore of Salman’s charity work and how he is the first one to extend a helping hand to those in need but one should not forget the timeline here. Salman’s charity work registered a momentum only after the court cases tightened the noose around him.  

Salman’s persona at best has been a Jekyll and Hyde one. While on occasions, there have been instances of his benevolence, the same have often been met by his abrasive behaviour. Surely, Salman has learnt his habits the hard way and the transformation too is apparent. But karma also means paying for an individual’s sins in the same lifetime.

Salman’s act for the past 10 years has only shown that he does carry some sort of regret though he has never expressed his regrets openly. Father Salim Khan, in an earlier interview, had remarked that Salman is still the same boy who is trying to hide the whiskey in his hand. Guess, now is the time for Salman to do anything than hiding that glass of whiskey.

(Also read: Salman Khan's veiled admissions in past show he foresaw conviction in blackbuck poaching case)

Updated Date: Apr 09, 2018 11:06 AM