Thursday, July 07, 2016

Bhai Bhai Phenomenon



I was never a big fan of Salman Khan. After attaining a minimum conscience about the external world and starting to judge movies by their content and not by their mere specter of entertainment, I built an opinion that Salman Khan not only lacked sensible acting skills but also the skills I see in a responsible citizen of the country.
In spite calling myself a movie-buff, I simply could not sit through his stupid movies residing far away from the reality. It was an arduous task for me to watch the very forgettable Dabang and that experience facilitated me to avoid his next set of 100 crore-club movies. I did not let my lack of appreciation deter anyone else. I saw his success at the box office as a unique case study. This was a case in which an actor lacked the very basic acting skills was outshining everyone else around, one movie after another. Although I am not an academy judge or a Cannes Critic, using whatever I have heard and read about acting, Salman Khan has always been the “how not to” example of every detail. But the box office loves him, and that is all that matters in our country, and why not! After a hard working week, there’s no price for guessing which movie the tired souls will flock to, a simple entertainer called Ek Tha Tiger, or a mind-boggling convoluted Nolan masterpiece Inception. And the result is out and loud. Salman Khan has grown out of his age and even after 28 years in the industry, has become the most sought after and producer-friendly actor of the current age. But letting someone like him rule the popularity of such high repute is nothing less than a disgrace we are living with every day.
His personality is exactly what is wrong with India today. He is mired in controversies. He has been tried in court for culpable homicide after his car ran over street dwellers in Mumbai. After getting bail, the prime witness in the case was kidnapped and eventually killed which allowed him to walk free because of the lack of evidence. His very public relationship with Aishwarya Rai later turned into an ugly one. Aishwariya Rai accused him of harassing her and lodged a complaint. He and some of his friends were charged with the crime of hunting an endangered species. He blamed the Indian security forces after the attacks of 26/11 and thought that Pakistan was not to be blamed. He sympathized with Yakub Memon and tweeted Nawaz Shariff to make him heard. The list goes on and on and on. And the strangest thing is, his popularity increased with every controversy he faced. He became that son of the Indian house, who is loved by his parents unconditionally even if he commits the gravest of crimes. Indian audience accepted him with wide open arms every time he proved to be a wrong human being. His being out in the open in spite of such a tattered certificate of character is inspiration to the Indian youth. No doubt his fan following is unparalleled. He is called Bhai in Indian households, and people try to copy his looks, his body, his style and very sadly his personality as well. People get motivated that in spite of the crimes one commits, there is always a way out in our system.  Although I am not saying Salman Khan is the only catalyst in this mindset but I won’t be wrong if I say he is at least one of the role models.
His recent comment about his troubles after a lengthy physically straining shot for his Eid movie Sultan was no less than some utter rubbish out of a nincompoop's mouth.  What he said could not be left unnoticed. It was not one of those media air blowing the balloon out of proportions but a rightful coverage of a foolish man with a sick mentality giving an insight into his real self. Salman Khan hardly makes any non-scripted media appearances. All his lines, everything he says is carefully curated by his team of managers who preserve his public image. And every time Salman Khan steps out without his restrictors around, he says or does something that creates headlines. His callous responses to some important questions reflect the mindless characters he plays in his 100 crore movies. They are thoughtless, baseless and often hurt someone’s sentiment. I know these celebrities live a difficult life with cameras covering their every movement and recorders sniffing their every breath.  But every good thing in life comes with responsibility and privacy is one of the perks them actors have to let go off. It is more like an occupational hazard that we all live with. Exposed to such scrutiny, it is the star’s responsibility to behave and utter correct words. He should know how and where his words matter. He should be able to perceive his power and how his words can mold society and bring about change. He should be responsible that the change occurs for good. Trivializing a grave issue like rape which has become a household name in our country and a demon our society is fighting against every day is an act of shame. I am forced to think under which circumstances these words might have come out.
One, he is not educated enough to understand the gravity of the situation and the significance of his spoken words. It was just a casual banter with the reporter and the audience and his sick sense of humor allowed him to let those words out. He may not be meaning to hurt anybody’s sentiment, and it is our fault to portray him in that dark light. Had that been the case, an apology the very next day would have been a responsible action. It would have been a brave act. It could have deterred those people who idolize him and would use this “walked like a raped woman” comment to signify how tired they were, from using such a tragic event with such casualty. His apology would have been a gentleman’s gesture and would have gone well with his “being human” brand image. Nobody is perfect, and there is no harm in accepting that one was wrong. But Bhai, our family’s notorious brother did nothing of that sort. His father came out to rescue and publicly apologized, but Bhai with the ego as thick as his steroid rich biceps did not bow down to the pressure and did not apologize.  Maybe he thinks that he can balance this all out by making hefty donations to charity through his Being Human trust but he should realize that charity does not give him the right to insult anyone. Had he been raped, such a comment couldn’t have come out of him.
Two, he has forgotten about the incident, and he cares too less to read newspapers and controversies. He is cut from the outside-the-gym world and does not bother to remember his bad deeds because there are so many of them. So he wakes up the next day feeling like a fresh woman and starts his new day afresh. In that case, we should blacken his face with coal tar (not literally) and strip him of the star status and throw him out of the country in no time. He is a disease one should get rid of immediately.
Three, he believes rape to be a trivial issue, and the comment was what he wanted to tell the world about himself. He is too casual to realize his mistake and too pampered to have any remorse. He is proud of what he has said because everyone else says shit on television and he doesn’t want to be the exception. Every superstar has his / her share of controversies and people slowly forget everything. They are garlanded by producers as they have become more popular. Whatsoever be their path to popularity, they charge more money to create box office records. So our Bhai feels that he alone should not be targeted, and people should solve all the controversial cases/ comments in series and then reach him after solving everything else. That is exactly how people get the courage to utter anything without thinking twice. Superstars are idolized by masses and hence should carry the burden of being famous and being quoted. Stars like Salman Khan touch a million lives, and that is why it is their prime duty to keep their hands clean.
Enough said, as a fellow countryman, I feel insulted that Salman Khan is somehow related to me. I think it is the time we boycott watching his mindless movies and teach this naughty useless boy a lesson and some culture.

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