Stop hounding Salman!

So now Salman Khan is being pulled  up for slapping an overzealous  security guard.However   we may hate  him for his brashness, he doesn’t deserve   to be  hounded constantly.

  And what , pray tell, is his crime? Let’s not even go there.  Let’s just look at why Salman has been chosen to  be the Fall  Guy…let’s wonder  why he’s constantly  in    trouble and why those troubles are constantly magnified  into manifestations of a monstrous  aberration  in  his character.

 ‘This man has got to be made into a example,’  the moralists and  other custodians  of  our  twisted social  order  seem  to suggest, as though Salman were a dangerous  social outcast whose exuberance must be  put on a leash.

      I’ve   spent time with Salman .  And I  can tell you one thing. All he wants  is  attention.  Give it to him,  and he’ll be yours  for a  lifetime.  Ignore him or be contemptuous, and he  retaliates, not out of ill-will or malice, but   out  of hurt.

 There was   this incident  a few years  ago  in a  restaurant  where Salman  had entered  with  a lady friend  for a  meal. A fight that had  broken out between  him and  some people at  the next table  ,  was duly splashed  in  the papers the next morning.

 But did anyone know why  it happened? I had met Salman the day after the incident. And he told me . “All  I  wanted was a quiet  masti-filled evening.  But  the minute  we walked in  a bunch  of guys  started  passing vulgar comments.  ‘Faggot,  what’re you doing  with  the lady?’ was one comment. There were many others.  At first I ignored them.  Then  I couldn’t take it any longer.”

  Most  of  the trouble  comes on Salman   after  he’s pushed to the wall. There’s that  infamous incident on camera  with press photographers  where he was  shown pushing  media-persons physically.  Did  anyone hear the  nasty communal  comments   that  were passed at  Salman  , or  the  fact that he was physically pushed  from  behind  before he retaliated?

  I sincerely feel  Salman is caught  at the  wrong place at  the wrong time.  I sincerely feel he doesn’t court  trouble . Trouble loves  him,  chases him  down, throws  him to the ground  and  then watches  in  glee as he tries  not to squirm. I  sincerely believe Salman  is a child who craves  for   attention.

      Years ago  I remember my evening with  Salman when  we went to this restaurant where he banged and banged  on  the bathroom door and nearly broke it down. Everyone fell silent and waited  for  the inevitable  fight. But guess  who emerged from the loo? Zayed Khan!

  The two stared at one another hugged and screamed in delight.

  The onlookers  looked a little cheated, as  though the management hadn’t given them their money’s worth.

 I  remember  Salman catching hold of  Kareena Kapoor who had accompanied us . “Let’s give them a  scoop,” he had mock-whispered and pretended to beat up the giggling star  for   the shutterbugs who  went crazy. When I  frowned in disapproval he  grabbed her again and chuckled,  “Let’s give  him  a scoop…”  and he pretended to   manhandle her  while she giggled  uncontrollably.

   I remember Salman  jumping  from the back-seat  of  the car on to the front seat straight  into  my lap when I had  ignored him  . I remember Salman talking in a  hotel’s coffee-shop till the  wee hours  with Abhishek and finally  taking off his posh watch and gifting it to his co-star. Unlike some other superstars Salman never gets insecure about his juniors. He  treats them  like kids newly  recruited into  the army where he’s the general.

  Can  this generous but impulsive man who loves to  be noticed actually mean any harm? I seriously doubt it.  I  seriously think Salman means  no harm to anyone. He’s incapable  of    causing conscious hurt. 

   Just why   people  actually end up hurt because of him  is between  his God and Devil. 

      We can  punish him  for being brash. But he’s too soft-hearted  to  cause anyone deliberate  harm.

      “But you can’t be  a  spoilt brat  at his age” a  serious actor reasoned after the latest trouble in Salman’s  life.

   Perhaps  not.  But  must we punish Salman for   not having grown up enough to realize that there  is a public face, and  then  there’s a private face.  And  the two do not meet in public?

 That all-important mask  which all superstars wear in public, is conspicuous  by its absence  in Salman’s  demeanour.   If he dislikes a  situation  or a person  he won’t make  the  effort to  hide it.

     Society is   never  kind  to non-hypocrites.  Salman  has been made to realize this the hard way  for years now. How long will he be hounded for   being himself without caring if his  slip is showing?

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