An increasing number of people appear to be sorry that actor Salman Khan said what he did about feeling like a ‘raped woman.’ His father Salim Khan apologized on Twitter and now actress Kangana Ranaut says “We are all sorry about it.” This group does not include Salman himself, the silence from whom has been deafening – as indeed has been the corresponding silence from Bollywood’s biggest wigs.
All is quiet on the Bollywood front save for a statement from director Anurag Kashyap describing Salman’s remark as ‘thoughtless’ and now a comment from Kangana.
“We all agree that it’s a horrible thing to say, something that is extremely insensitive,” Kangana said in Mumbai on Wednesday. She was speaking at a press conference for the short film Kriti.
She might have ended there and we wish she had but it appears that not even the outspoken Kangana can bring herself to publicly condemn Salman Khan, a 50-year-old superstar who holds the industry and fans in utter and abject thrall.
The Queen actress immediately qualified her statement with: “But let’s not encourage that mentality where we want to point fingers at each other and want to feel greater by running people down by trolling them. As a society we have to take responsibility and stand united. It’s a disgrace for the whole society and not an individual. So, like what Salim uncle says is right, that we are all sorry about it. It’s not about an individual. We all collectively feel sorry for that thought process.”
On Tuesday, Salim Khan appealed for forgiveness on behalf of his son, writing on Twitter: “Undoubtedly what Salman said is wrong, the simili (sic), example and the context. The intention was not wrong. Nevertheless I apologise on behalf of his family, his fans & friends. Forgiveness is to pardon the unpardonable or it is no virtue at all. To err is human, to forgive divine. Today on Intl Yoga Day, let’s not run our shops on this mistake.”
A section of Team Salman has made excuses of the flimsiest sort for the actor by drawing comparisons of their own that serve only to increase in magnitude the insensitivity of Salman’s rape analogy. His brother Arbaaz said, “It was just the kind of (statement) where we compare things – ‘I worked like a donkey’ so now people will say you used the word donkey so some animal activist will come after you.”
Salman’s Yuvraaj director Subhash Ghai insisted that nobody respects women more than the actor.
This did not appear to be the case when Salman told a group of journalists last weekend, “When I used to walk out of the ring, after the shoot, I used to feel like a raped woman. I couldn’t walk straight.” He was describing how difficult it was filming wrestling scenes for his new film Sultan.
Almost as soon as he’d said it, the actor tried to retract somewhat inarticulately: “I don’t think I should have…”
Later in the interview, he also spoke of women being a ‘vice.’
After giving him a week in which to apologise, the National Commission on Women have summoned Salman Khan in Mumbai next Wednesday. Arbaaz says he will say sorry only if he feels he needs to. Salman is scheduled to attend the IIFA Awards in Spain this week.