Salman Khan's success won't be affected by blackbuck poaching case verdict: How time, PR have helped superstar
Justice in India, especially when it comes to public figures such as Salman Khan can be a tricky terrain: In the last two decades, this man has been accused and found guilty of killing an endangered species of animal, alleged to have physically abused women, charged with running down helpless victims on a street in a state of inebriation (he was later absolved of the charges), threatening fellow actors, and going out of his way to professionally harm an individual (Arijit Singh) from the same industry. At the same time, he has also become synonymous with his charitable foundation, The Being Human Foundation, and every time there is a case hearing or a verdict delivered against him, the good work that he has been doing since 2007 is thrown at the media and individuals. The stories of Salman ‘Bhai’ Khan’s largesse are peddled a dime a dozen and what’s worse, people who apparently have been at the receiving end of Khan’s behaviour, too, leave no opportunity to harangue those who question him.
As the chief judicial magistrate of the Jodhpur Court pronounced a guilty verdict in the blackbuck poaching case that had been going on for almost two decades, he called Salman a ‘habitual offender.’ The court sentenced him to five years' imprisonment but as we Indians have come to understand the ‘system’, the actor could very well walk away scot-free by the time the matter goes through the series of higher courts. The blackbuck is not just an endangered species but also held sacred by the Bishnoi community in Rajasthan to such an extent that many women there even breastfeed orphaned blackbucks to save them. For them, then, can Khan’s crime be limited to hunting or poaching? The acquittal of Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Tabu, Neelam, and a local, Dushyant Singh, who were also charged along with Khan, has made the Bishnoi community unhappy and they will appeal against it.
Almost everyone in the industry has a story about Salman Khan allegedly physically abusing the women he was said to be dating — Somy Ali, Aishwarya Rai — or tales about him publicly beating Subhash Ghai, how he ensured that the then up-and-rising Vivek Oberoi became a social pariah as he held a press conference about Khan threatening him, and in fact, there is also industry folklore about how he rumouredly bashed up Ranbir Kapoor when he was better known as just Rishi Kapoor’s son. But none of this matters as no one wants to believe that Salman Khan can ever do anything wrong. Even after a court has found the actor guilty after 20 long years, insiders such as Simi Grewal tweet “Of one thing I am dead sure..@BeingSalmanKhan would NEVER EVER harm any animal. He loves them too much. The real culprit should be exposed. 20 years is too long to bear someone else's cross..” or Jaya Bachchan believes that Khan should have been given relief for his humanitarian work. It’s ironic that Bachchan’s daughter in law, Aishwarya Rai, in 2003 had spoken at length about how her two-year relationship with Khan saw her being at the “receiving end of his abuse (verbal, physical, emotional), infidelity and indignity.”
The great Indian rope trick, the ultimate tamasha pales in front of the life and times of Salman Khan. Despite being someone who stands guilty of slaughtering mute animals, believed to have run over sleeping humans, and allegedly beating women, Salman Khan’s popularity, oddly enough, only increases with each visit to the court. His life, much like his career, has been one that has gone beyond the realm of reason and accountability.Today, in addition to being a large-hearted man who asks if you are being human enough, Khan is also a great unifier of people divided by borders such as India and Pakistan or India and China; like Sanjay ‘Munnabhai’ Dutt’s Gandhigiri, Khan’s Bajrangi Bhaijaan is not a film character but a state of mind.
Perhaps the long drawn court proceedings are then the only justice for people like you and me who still follow the rules. The ‘great’ Salman Khan given a lesson in being human every time he attends a court hearing where he would try be nice to everyone he crosses paths with, at least on the face of it, is little solace. We might never know what ‘real’ justice is for the ‘crimes’ of Salman Khan but then we need to acknowledge that he has done something wrong. In this context, chief judicial magistrate Dev Kumar Khatri’s observation of Khan being a ‘habitual offender’ would probably end up serving as a reminder to us Indians that, at times, time and brilliant PR can see the popular get away with just about anything.
Follow LIVE updates on Salman Khan's bail hearing here.
Updated Date: Apr 06, 2018 12:31:50 IST