He is someone you go to with trepidation, a man who’s had a hit and run case against him (2002), a man on whom a five-year prison term is hanging in the black buck poaching case (judgement day is April 3), a man who has been in acts of violence. Yet somehow, it is this same man who has the support of many, who swear loyalty to him, who feel that he is their mentor, their godfather – a person that they can’t do without.
But then that the way actor Salman Khan is – a Jekyll and Hyde persona that forces you either to love him or hate him with no in between path. No doubt, he has made a special place for himself in the Hindi film industry by constantly churning out Rs 100-crore-plus grosser. But it is more than just the hits that the man provides; it is his behaviour towards a number of juniors coming into the industry, the way he mentors them, that has made him so special.
No, he did not carry this image 10 years back. He was then considered a bully, a person who blew his top at the drop of a hat, a man who allegedly could threaten co-stars after his alleged affair with Aishwarya Rai (now Bachchan) failed. But then all that seems a distant past.
Many say things changed for the better for Salman, when he launched ‘Being Human Foundation’ in 2007 – a charity which provides education and healthcare to underprivileged children. The organisation takes care of over 500 children in two-three schools in Mumbai and also organises health camp for kids all throughout the year. The foundation also supports the ‘Veer’ initiative – a programme to train differently-abled people.
But then this is not the only thing which makes Salman’s benevolence stand out. There are many who tread the same path. Both Sachin Tendulkar and current India skipper Virat Kohli also take care of under-privileged children across the country. But then probably Salman’s act draws more attention because it is from a person who was once called hot-headed, moody, snobbish and what not.
The 53-year-old however, has the young brigade of actors fawning over him. The likes of Sonakshi Sinha (Dabangg), Daisy Shah (Jai Ho), Athiya Sethi and Sooraj Pancholi (both of whom were launched by Salman), Katrina Kaif and even Hrtihik Roshan are die-hard Salman fans.
Very few know that it was Salman who mentored Hrtihik on fitness issues before the latter’s debut film ‘Kaho Na Pyar Hai’. Sources have said that even when Hrtihik split with Sussanne Khan, he turned to Salman for comfort.
Salman’s acts of support and benevolence are probably never-ending. When his multi-starrer ‘Partner’ with Govinda succeeded at the box office he promptly presented the latter with a high-end Mercedes Benz. During his hunky-dory time with the other Khan, Shah Rukh, he had presented him with a watch which cost approximately Rs 2.5 crore. Such deeds are innumerable as the man is said to wear his heart on his sleeve.
Another great admirer of Salman is ‘Fukrey’ actor Pulkit Samrat. “For me he (Salman) is the true inspiration. He has remained the same all through his acting career in spite of the success achieved and adulation he has got. Really a superstar in the true sense of the word,” the actor has been quoted as saying recently.
But then just mentoring or launching actors and music directors or running a foundation is not just what Salman’s charity work is all about. There have been many instances when it has been impromptu charity – like buying 200 cycles for the people of Dharavi or donating food for 5,000 people during the Mumbai floods – all have contributed in giving Salman a ‘Robin Hood’ image. He is definitely a ‘Messiah’ for a large group of people in the Mumbai film industry and also a godfather to the younger clan.
Name Amount (Rs in crore)
Tiger Zinda Hai (2017) 339.16
Bajrangi Bhaijan (2015) 320.34
Sultan (2016) 300.45
Kick (2014) 233.00
Prem Ratan Dhan Payo (2015) 207.40
Ek Tha Tiger (2012) 198.00
Race 3 (2018) 169.00
Dabangg 2 (2012) 158.50
PNN & Agencies