A friend shared an article that screamed at my face right from the title that went-Dear Intelligent Salman Khan Fan, It’s Finally Time For Us To Talk.
This friend sharing this article to me was an aftermath of a long winding argument from previous night about Salman’s recent comment belittling the act of rape by metaphorizing it, with characteristic disdain.
Her conundrum was not just about my insensitivity to his; but also about the coexistence of a fan of Kamal Haasan and Woody Allen’s oeuvre and a Bhai lover in the breadth of the same person.
Coming to think of it,its not the first time I’ve been condescended for my fondness to Salman.
“You speak and write in good english. You’re able to appreciate the nuances in the composition of Nadaan Parindey. Why would you be a Bhai fan?”
I laughed it out by continuing to watch Jumme Ki Raat.
“You’re a fan of a criminal who just bought justice on E-Bay. Doesn’t it make you a accomplice too? Next time think twice before mocking the corrupt netas on your timeline with sarcasm.”
I try reasoning it out with you, but after reaching a moot; I left it and continued tweeting about how awesome the Sultan trailer was,much to your dismay.
So dear Salman hater let me try demystifying the possibility of a being a Bhai fan, while being a connoisseur of art and a decent person at the same time.
True that I’m a huge fan of Kamal Haasan. I muse on his work when I’m not imitating him subconsciously. I would like to believe that I’m capable of making my own ambience with a playlist; I believe that I’ve got a decent taste of music. Loner by choice, on Saturday nights I’ve often ensconced on the warmth of Woody Allen classics over getting wasted in dingy clubs playing psychedelic music.
But I couldn’t help but get delirious like the euphoric crowd around me when Bhai broke into a neanderthal celebratory dance, lip syncing to “Saath Samundar“; while watching Kick on the day of its release.
It’s not like he’s a great actor or a great dancer, which he himself admits to not being. Then what is it that endears him to the masses(intelligentsia included) as a star to root for in cacophonous unison? There’ something strangely delightful about watching a star-fully aware of the prowess of his mojo-wielding it with the primal fluidity that Bhai does on screen. Which is the very reason why his goofy steps from a Muni Badnam or Dhinka Chika gets imitated across demographies.
Bhai loves to take his shirt off; like we love to wolf whistle at the sight of it.
Bhai can say the weirdest of stuff in an outlandish accent without making it sound like gibberish.(case in point being Baskar bas kar Baskar…monologue from Partner.) Torso flexed exaggeratedly, Bhai struts across the screen like a gladiator at the sight of his opponent even when in the service of a soft romantic number.
There are things that only he can get away with, plastering a smile instead of a smirk on our faces. For who else would we buy pleading in the name of Lord Hanuman to the Pakistan army, while trying to trespass to the other side of the LOC?
Salman’s screen image is that of a man-child, who broods copious quantity of machismo without dissolving the underlying innocence. He’s the stud who captures the imagination of an entire nation with his style statements time and again, but would never once go beyond Base one onscreen because Prem wouldn’t do things that make families cringe.
Prem is Bhai’s alter ego-dutiful son, doting brother, hopeless romantic all rolled up into one endearing cliche-just like Bhai is ours.
So by being a Salman Khan fan, I’m catering to the side of me which likes to feed on mindless entertainment from movies having larger than life heroes. The side of me which loves junk food for the instant gratification of the tongue without having to think about the nutrition or the lack of it.I can find the gol guppas on the streets as fascinating as a formaggi pizza and continue to be a well rounded foodie.
My blood does boil as one news after another breaks about the heinous sexual violations perpetrated against the women fraternity. I’m born with a sister of my own and have a lot of women acquaintances, whose safety I wish for. I’ve at times felt like suspending a chauvinistic pig from his genetia that rightfully got provoked at the sight of women in modern clothes.
News of Salman taking up the word “rape”-discounting its gravitas-does not infuriate me as much as the very act does. A lewd analogy drawn out of a socially despised crime is in really bad taste. It shows the lack of finesse in the person at best. But it doesn’t make him an instant public enemy who needs to be brought to his knees by hypersensitive activists and self appointed torch bearers of feminism.
Ours is the same nation that uses the fuck word on dinner table conversations. So it’s not like when someone tells me to fuck off, he insults the very act of holy consummation that brings life on earth. Got screwed and screw you are other popular phrases of our common parlance.Neither do they serve as salt on the wound of a rape victim.
So why the fracas around Salman’s statement alone. Is it because he’s a soft target given his perceived notorious image or the big bucks riding on him?
My fascination for Bhai’s films is not as much an endorsement to his thought trains or offscreen ideologies as it is a reflection of my taste for a particular kind of films. Our relation is that of a superstar and a fan of his shenanigans. Our worlds don’t intersect beyond his movies. My love for Bhai movies doesn’t fashion my moral compass or conscience; which was alive and kicking last time I checked; even before Arnab Goswami tried pretending to be it.
So this Eid, I’m gonna watch Sultan. No; it doesn’t change the fact that to I continue to be a law abiding person;an animal lover who respects women and strongly condemns misogyny in any form.