Actor Salman Khan’s comment on Tuesday to media where he compared his experience of shooting a sequence for the movie Sultan to “a raped woman” left not just the virtual world incensed but even made the National Women’s Commission call his statement “reprehensible”, question his “regressive mindset” and demand a public apology. “We have sought an explanation in seven days,” said NCW chief Lalitha Kumaramangalam.
At a presser in the run-up to Sultan’s Eid release, Salman who plays an ageing wrestler described a gruelling sequence saying, “During those six hours, there’d be so much of lifting and thrusting on the ground. That was tough for me. I’d have to lift the same 120-kg guy 10 times for 10 different angles. And likewise, get thrown that many times on the ground. When I used to walk out of the ring, I used to feel like a raped woman. I couldn’t take steps…”
“It’s not only a wrong statement, it’s very irresponsible and callous for a man whose fame and wealth is based on the adoration of his female fans… He has extrapolated patriarchal mindset,” the NCW chief said, adding that if the actor did not give a satisfactory response, he would have to appear before the commission.
Shiv Sena had lashed out against the star in the afternoon, too, demanding an apology, but softened their stand after the actor’s father Salim Khan apologized.
Recently, too, when Salman’s appointment as the Indian Olympic contingent’s goodwill ambassador drew barbs from Milkha Singh, Salim Khan had fought back. “Milkhaji is not Bollywood,” he had retorted, underlining his son’s prowess as “an A level swimmer, cyclist and weight lifter” and justifying his stand. “Salman has been in controversy for the last 25 years regularly. Not a single time i supported him. Now first time i support him on my belief that what he is doing is right,” he had tweeted.
While the actor remained unavailable for comment despite several attempts to reach him, his rape analogy continued to attract outrage. “#Salmankhan has been treated with kid gloves for a long long time..Running an organization BeingHuman doesn’t make you a Human..Own up!!” tweeted Adithya.
Salman’s fawning fans, though, supported him and floated the hashtag #SalmanMisquoted that continued to trend all day. Then there were those who stayed perched around his residence at Galaxy Apartments, Bandstand on Tuesday evening.
Most were unaware of the newest controversy surrounding the star. The presence of mediapersons prompted a couple from Gujarat to ask whether the hit-and-run case or the black buck case was still causing trouble. When they learnt of his controversial remarks, Ajay and Asmita Rathod, the young couple, said, “Salman is a star whose every comment is taken seriously by fans as well as media. He should choose his words carefully.” A family from Jodhpur felt sorry for Salim Khan who was forced to apologize on his son’s behalf yet again. Most fans said the actor would tide over this controversy too, perhaps after a few rounds to the women’s commission.
Meanwhile, the cane curtain of the balcony was pulled down so nobody could get a glimpse of the family’s first floor residence. Bodyguards in black uniform denied mediapersons access to the building claiming Salman and Salim Khan were not home.
Most of Bollywood remained silent on the controversy and those who did vent include actress Pooja Bedi who wondered aloud if the controversy was justified. “If I say I feel FAT as an elephant will @PetaIndia file a case? is India getting OVERSENSITIVE?” she tweeted.