Salman Khan's rants over Priyanka Chopra quitting Bharat are typical of Bollywood's toxic male entitlement

Sonali Kokra

May 29, 2019 13:25:58 IST

Being rejected stings. We can all agree that finding out you’re not as important as you thought you were is a crappy experience, all round.

When you’re a toddler, you process the unpleasantness of being denied, by creating the most public spectacle your scheming heart can concoct. Somewhere between the ages of two to twelve, you learn how to swallow your disappointment and put on a brave face when life takes a left turn instead of meeting your expectations. Adulthood adds another weapon to your psychological arsenal against the embarrassment of being jilted — the ability to feign indifference, even when your insides are actually turning into molten lava. If you’re terribly lucky and of a particularly strong constitution, you’re able to offer platitudes such as wishing your rejector well and good luck and, ugh, the worst, happiness, even as you’re secretly hoping they’d fall on the stairs and break their necks on the way out. That’s just how life works. For most of us, anyway.

But not when you’re Salman Khan, Bollywood’s resident man-child and permanent pain in his nanny’s publicist’s neck.

 Salman Khans rants over Priyanka Chopra quitting Bharat are typical of Bollywoods toxic male entitlement

Salman Khan. YouTube screengrab

Khan, 53 (fifty-three,) is pissed that Priyanka Chopra chose getting married over making a movie with him, and he’s not shy about announcing it to the world, almost an entire year after the “incident”. Already accomplished in the manly art of speaking over his female co-stars, Salman went on a passive aggressive streak of forcing Priyanka’s name into the conversation while promoting his upcoming film Bharat, much to the embarrassment of his co-star Katrina Kaif.

It’s impossible to ignore the number of times Khan has taken a swipe at Chopra in the last few days.

On one occasion, he butted in with his opinion, or as my mom likes to call it vishesh tippani, while Kaif was talking about her role, and thanked Priyanka on her behalf.

On another, he appointed himself Katrina’s interlocutor and answered a question about how she had prepared for the role, by letting the interviewer know that Priyanka hadn’t left them with much time to prepare. He then thanked her for letting them know five days before shooting started.

And then there was the pièce de résistance of his tiresome rant, repeated during several media interactions and interviews: in an epic show of humility, Khan spoke about how PC had dumped the “biggest role of her life” while claiming that “many would leave their husbands for a film like that.”

On the upside, let this be the proof that forever silences even the most committed critics of Katrina Kaif’s acting prowess. A woman who can maintain her composure and be pleasant to a co-star who shits all over her own contribution to the film is not a bad actress. She deserves an award. Personally, I’d totally understand if, after the third time he dragged Priyanka’s name into the discussion, Katrina lost her cool and bludgeoned him with a stick. Truth be told, I rather even hoped for it. Anything to make the dreariness of Salman Khan's year-long stint of whining — he’s been taking potshots at Priyanka for a while now — a tad bearable.

But unfortunately, unlike Khan, Katrina knows that zipping it and grinning is sometimes the only way of keeping a bad situation from getting worse.

Salman Khan and Priyanka Chopra. YouTube

Salman Khan and Priyanka Chopra. YouTube

It is not terribly surprising that Khan thinks this way, or even that he is cocky enough to keep climbing up against Priyanka’s wall of dignified silence in an attempt to rattle her into saying something.

But what Salman doesn’t know is that as a successful woman of the world, Priyanka probably has more experience in shrugging off entitled men with egos bigger than her NYC apartment and more fragile than her gossamer wedding veil, than Khan has acting experience. You don’t get to be a beauty queen, superstar actress, and global icon by getting into a war of words or even paying heed to every man who, drunk on the idea of his own importance to the world, feels personally offended by every decision you make in your own interest.

While Khan might just be waking up to the vexing realisation that the world does not, in fact, tilt around his personally approved axis, the women beholding his tamasha are all likely thinking the same thing — yet another man who can’t handle rejection with even a smidgen of dignity and grace. Sigh. Hundred bucks says Priyanka rolled her eyes every time Khan acted more like a jilted lover left at the altar and less like a disappointed colleague.

Apart from the ludicrous doubtfulness of any movie with Khan being the “biggest role” of any actress’ life (even he can’t be that delusional, can he?), Khan’s shameful behaviour is the perfect example of everything that is wrong with Bollywood: actors still consumed with the belief that the film is “theirs” really, and any actress who gets to simper and preen around them should be appropriately grateful for the honour.

The power imbalance between actors and actresses has been so complete and existed for so long, it can be tough for overindulged Bollywood actors like Khan to imagine a work culture where they don’t get to call all the shots and throwing a tantrum will not help them get what they want.

File image of Priyanka Chopra. Twitter

File image of Priyanka Chopra. Twitter

Regardless of whether you’re a fan of Priyanka or not, you’ve got to love her for disabusing men like Khan of this beloved notion. I hope to god she continues living her #bestlife on Instagram.

Mr Khan, if you didn’t already know, you’ve been served a helping of humble pie — just in the ‘nick of time’.

Updated Date: May 29, 2019 16:39:22 IST