He has been given seven days by the National Commission for Women to apologise.
The actor was quoted by the entertainment site SpotboyE as saying during a media interaction: “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.”
In the audio of the interaction on Saturday, some laughter followed the comment and he appeared to retract seconds later, saying: “I don’t think I should have…”
Amid escalating anger over the words, there are reports that Salman Khan may come out with an unconditional apology.
The 50-year-old star was speaking about filming the wrestling scenes in Sultan and describing what he felt was a grueling shoot, involving “lifting the same 120-kilo guy 10 times for 10 different angles”.
After the rape comment, he was also heard clarifying: “It feels like the most difficult…I couldn’t take steps. I couldn’t take steps.”
Later in the interview, the actor known for his controversial relationships and complicated legal history, also refers to women as a vice that he can’t give up.
Lalitha Kumaramangalam, the chief of the National Commission for Women, said: “It is quite shameful that such a public figure can talk so irresponsibly.”
BJP leader Shaina NC was among those who strongly criticised the actor. “Salman must be condemned for his statement. The Salman everyone knows respects women and if he does respect women then he should admit he made a mistake and apologise,” she said.
Activist Kavita Krishnan said: “Salman Khan’s comment trivialises rape, but it’s not just Salman, rape analogies are common in society and films.”