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No logic in the world

I wasn’t meaning to comment about current issues the way most blogs do; this isn’t that kind of a place, it’s more a sanctum for me to churn my thoughts and vent, and mostly about the injustices I’d faced, and about feminism and about relationships and about the lack of any space for ‘logic’ or ‘reason’ in the cultural context. But this issue qualifies weirdly at all these levels, because it concerns Salman Khan.

Just to bring you up to speed if you’re not within three kilometers of India or a female Indian teenager, Salman Khan is a film actor. He’s the son of a man who’s kept his wife and his second wife both in the same house, and says they’re all a ‘nice happy family’ now. As part of one of the filmi dynasties of modern India, he does have tons of money and is – and knows he is – ‘to the manor born’. Once upon a long while ago he’d acted in a couple of really big & successful Hindi movies. Then he went and shot some protected animals, slapped around his girlfriend & poured some Coke on her head (the famous Aishwarya Rai, of L’oreal Mascara fame), fought with some other movie stars, called up his now ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend some 48 times over three hours, drove around drunk in Mumbai’s most famous suburb and over a couple of pavement-sleepers. People, i.e., most of the movie industry’s high-profile participants, refer to him as ‘the cute kid’ or the one who is ‘impetuous maybe, but oh, so kind and generous’, ‘very caring, very protective, very loving’ and just plain unlucky.

This week, after a seven year trial, a judge in Jodhpur announced a five year sentence for Salman Khan for poaching a protected chinkara. Most people didn’t know there were multiple poaching cases against the man – they’re just known collectively as the ‘blackbuck case’. For four days in 1998, while shooting Hum Saath Saath Hain (the bad karma also led to the movie being a huge flop, yippie!), Salman and five of his co-stars went out every night and shot a couple of animals. A chinkara, two blackbucks, another chinkara. They even wanted to eat the animal afterward (ew, gross!) So it clearly was not just ‘one drunk night’ or a random mistake. His mother, who’s been imperious to his son’s murders, girlfriend-battering, drunk driving, manslaughter, et al, fell seriously ill on hearing of the conviction. Maybe she was counting on the Indian judicial system to never pass a verdict. Or maybe she was expecting that, like the pavement sleepers’ murders, this one was on its way to being hushed up with her family’s blood money.

Today, after three days in jail (hopefully the first of a long stay), he’s got out and is giving exclusive interviews to each one of the 164 news channels we have. In the Times Now interview, Salman says “If anything had happened to my mother, I would not have spared the person who did this”. Of course, now Bollywood (that’s what it deserves to be called, Mr.Bachchan) will just fall over itself trying to showcase how much Salman loves his mother and what an ideal son he is. And no one will bother to think logically or point out that it is evil, and illegal, and not really the act of a hero, to publicly threaten to ‘not spare’ someone. So much like our Hindi movies.

What makes me sick is the not just the likes of people like director Anubhav Sinha whining that Jessica Lall’s murderers went free. Which basically means ‘he did it, why can’t I’. Maybe we should just close down and lock up all courts across the country, Mr. Sinha, for ever more?

But what makes me sicker is the tons of ‘fans’ of Salman going on and on about how Salman is such a hero and he is victimized because he’s a celebrity. Hello, just because he looks (looked) good without a shirt does NOT mean it is okay for him to kill poor deer. His shirtless torso anyway never gave them any pleasure! And he went and shot down some protected animals and cooked them and wanted to eat them, thus contributing to ruining the eco-system, and reducing the richness of the planet Earth you’ll be leaving your kids and your grandkids!

Of course, what is worst is the Times of India’s faithful recital of his weekly meal in jail. Much like a junior school newspaper where the mess weekly menu is the highlight. But then, it is the TOI, so the less said the better.

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