Nemesis is trying to catch up with Salman Khan, but a hot-shot lawyer and a father are blocking its path
By FILMI FEMME and MONA SHAH
He is B-town’s enfant terrible, courting controversy on numerous occasions, but who’s name is spelt ‘Blockbuster’. He is the ‘Bhai’ who no one messes with, showing charitable side no one can compete with. He
is the industry’s most eligible bachelor whom women find irresistible, a bad boy who refused to commit, a mama’s lad who can cry at the drop of a hat, but can have you in splits with his childlike humor. A man who flexed box office muscle with the same elan as he ruled popularity charts, yes, Salman Khan’s pop culture oeuvre has made him one of India’s most prolific stars.
But the actor who turns 50 this year and has been in the industry for nearly 25 years, has spent the better part of his career in the classic chor police game. Charged for illegal possession of arms and poaching black bucks in 1998, followed by the 2002 hit-and-run case, each time he fanned flames of fame, his past misdemeanors resurrected to haunt him.
For 13 years, the hit-and-run case saw the actor and court play a cat and mouse game, but on May 6, the Mumbai Sessions court sentenced the actor to 5 years in jail for culpable homicide, and charged him on various other accounts. Many felt it was karma catching up with him, while others felt that the sentence was unfair and that Salman was being penalized for his star status. As a pall of gloom descended on the industry, his fans and supporters thronging to his apartment block with names like Shahrukh Khan and Aamir Khan among others, reaching out in various ways to endorse their support for him.
Following the sentence, Salman was out on interim bail for 48 hours. And in what could have been a black Friday for Salman instead turned into his biggest Friday release when in less than 36 hours, his sentence was suspended and a fresh appeal for bail launched. Naturally, critics and trolls once again screamed that it wasn’t fair play and this was how the rich managed to arm-wrestle the law, but others felt the sentencing was too harsh. As one faction baulked at Salman for rash drunk driving, running away from the scene, manipulating his driver to take the blame; the other faction claimed that he had paid the price as in the Shariat he had given blood money to the effect of Rs19 lakh to the victims family. He supported various charities to help the under- privileged. Also, wasn’t the son of a rich tycoon who had crashed his Aston Martin still walking free, after killing two people?
Naturally the media had a field day, applauding the sentencing on one hand and on the other, slamming the suspension as a failure of the Indian judicial system. But in the eyes of his fans, it seems that Salman could never be guilty and nothing can create a dent in his popularity
It was Salman’s humane side, his efforts to redeem himself since his past wild days, his ‘Bhai-giri’, his strong filial bonds, his connection with his fans especially children, being far more real than any of his contemporaries, his chequered life with its good and bad, that struck a chord with the ‘aam aadmi’.
But the man who tilted the balance and swung the decision to ensure a super speedy bail from the Mumbai HC, despite the 5-year sentencing is unknown to many but famous amongst the rich and famous in India; HARISH SALVE.
Who is Harish Salve
The mastermind behind this was Harish Salve, 56, former Solicitor General of India, and the country’s most powerful lawyer. He is currently representing Ratan Tata who has gone to the Supreme Court claiming that his privacy has been violated in the Nira Radia tapes scandal.
He won Mukesh Ambani’s gas dispute against brother Anil who was represented by Ram Jethmalani. Hiring this high-profile advocate digs giant-sized holes into one’s pocket. It has been reported that his fees is approximately Rs 30 lakh per day! Mukesh Ambani shelled out a whopping Rs 15 crore to have Harish handle his cases. He charged, hold your breath, Rs 60 crores from TN Godavarman Thirumulpad for his Forest Case. And doling out a fat paycheque is not all one needs to do, to hire Mr. Salve. If media reports are to be believed, this eminent advocate has to be provided with overnight five-star suites and first class air- tickets, including a lavish spread for him and his team at a five star hotel, amounting to Rs 2 lakh! Salman Khan has hosted the popular reality show Big Boss and currently has two films awaiting release titled ‘Bajrangi Bahijaan’ and ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’. With several brand endorsements also in the bag, Salman is currently riding on over Rs 230 crores. With a fresh hearing due on June 15, many feel that it’s unlikely the actor will ever serve a jail term and with a smooth battery of lawyers trying their best to keep him safe, Salman is scripting his own destiny.
The BJP Connection
For those people who probably thought that the Khans should, by virtue of their religious ancestry, be anti-BJP need to peer deeper into this Khan-BJP connection. Well-known scriptwriter Mr.Salim Khan has been criticised by many Muslims of not being vocal enough against Narendra Modi who was accused by many to turn a blind eye to the carnage that occurred in the Gujrat riots.
”When my mother died I felt I won’t be able to live but I am alive today, even my father died long back. Should I cry till now? No one can justify that (the riots). It should never happen. I am sure Mr. Modi has learnt the lesson and that no one will die in his regime.” he said.
“The Muslims find themselves safe in this country.
They only need basic amenities, job, education, food,” he said.
Mr. Salim Khan also launched the Urdu version of Narendra Modi’s official website.
Sources in the industry have indicated that the veteran script-writer might have met with top BJP people to ensure that his son receives a fair hearing and should not be a victim of political pressure.
Does this mean that Salman’s off the hook?
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