Salman Khan

- Vikram Chandiramani 

Hunting the protected chinkaras as well as driving under the influence of alcohol and killing pedestrians might have been a thumps down for someone else but crazy fans of Salman Khan loyally stand by him. He has been locked up, at least twice, but he remains a successful star who has a definite initial. No wonder the advertising agencies happily sign him to model and to endorse.   

No one calls it charisma. He has never received any major award for his performance, either. Respectable filmmakers shun him because of his unreliability and uncertainty attached to him because of the Damocles’ Sword of a jail term and long months of trials hanging over him but Salman Khan goes on. In fact, he has said time and again that he can pick up non-entities as his producers and directors and yet make the films run.

It is this grass root support that forced Amitabh Bachchan to give him a clean chit by calling him a nice boy after Khan costarred with him in Baghbaan and helped him resume his third (or fourth inning).

Films like Kyon Ki, No Entry, Main Pyar Kyon Kiya, Lucky – No Time for Love, Mujhse Shadi Karogi, Garv, Tere Naam were not expected to win any actor awards and appreciation for his performance but they, even if some of them have not been very hot at the box office, have ensured a steady upward graph making him a 7-crore hero.

His under production films include a remake of Amar Akbar Anthony, Saawariya, London Dreams, Marigold – An adventure in India and Partner.

Which films will be completed and which will remain incomplete if Salman gets a jail sentence may be a difficult question to answer but the producers are not chewing their nails. They know they have a good thing going with Salman. The likes of SRK and Aamir Khan are simply beyond the reach of these small producers.

Salman Khan, the eldest son of writer Salim Khan, shot to fame with his first film, 'Maine Pyar Kiya' which was considered to be the biggest hit of all time. The film established his image as a combination of a machismo and a loverboy. "I used to deeply feel the need to achieve even beyond what my father had succeeded in," he admits. But that according to him was not to prove a point. "It was because I wanted to show my father that his son was not a bum, an idle lay-about; that he was capable of maintaining himself, of achieving success." According to the industrywallahs, Salman Khan could have been the undisputed number one had it not been for his boyish approach and highhandedness with the media. "Yeah, I'm arrogant. And I like to keep people at a distance," he maintains. "I know who my close friends are and they haven't changed over the years. But there are these acquaintances who, I know for a fact, laugh every time a movie flops. I ignore it. There is nothing I can do about it. It is better to maintain a distance with people."

However, he always revels in the fact that he is one of the most hated guys in the industry. And he didn’t seem to mind when some actresses like Juhi Chawla had reservations about working with him. "With Juhi, we had a misunderstanding earlier, which has been sorted out now," he clarifies. "We have done three shows together and I have nothing against her personally. It is just that roles offered to me with her haven't been good enough."

These days, he has got himself an ad agency looking after his image, doing the damage control exercise when he is in trouble and everyone belonging to his camp refers to him as Bhai and talks about his `generousity`. The generousity can be as eceentric as bashing up Ranbir Rishi Kapoor during an intoxicated evening, and repenting with an expensive gift and an apology the next morning.

Salman Khan is involved with actress Katrina Kaif, is also 18 years elder to her. Bollywood insiders say Salman Khan has been very keen to marry Katrina Kaif but she isn't very enthusiastic about the idea. Salman Khan has had a string of failed relationships, the most high profile of which was with Aishwarya Rai. Before that he was involved with actresses Diya Mirza, Somy Ali and Sangeeta Bijlani at various points of time.