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
Mumbai/Delhi: 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.
Salim Khan, veteran scriptwriter, was quick to proffer a public apology. "Undoubtedly what Salman said is wrong, the simili, example and the context. The intention was not wrong. Nevertheless I apologise on behalf of his family his fans & his friends. Forgiveness is to pardon the unpardonable or it is no virtue at all. To err is human to forgive divine," he said over a series of tweets before adding: "Today on Intl yoga day lets not run our shops on this mistake."
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.
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 (see box). 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.
Singer Sona Mohapatra, though, was one of those rare voices of dissent from the industry who got trolled by Salman fans for expressing her annoyance on Twitter. "Women thrashed, people run over, wild life massacred & yet # hero of the nation.'Unfair'. India full of such supporters." She followed it up with another tweet, this time a direct rebuke to the actor. "Dear idol of millions, Getting your father to say sorry everyday isn't good enough. Teach your fans something good for a change?"
Writer Madhu Kishwar, on the other hand, was vocal in her support of Salman's naivete and slammed her fellow feminists instead.
Curiously, as pro-Salman and anti-Salman remarks held sway, Twitter user @DashYourHopes pointed at another reality: "Its terribly awful we live in a country where a casual rape remark gets more coverage than the act itself!"