You would pick up Jasim Khan’s biography of Salman Khan, titled Being Salman, off the rack if you are an ardent fan of the superstar or are intrigued by his mysterious personality. In an attempt to understand the ‘bad boy’ of Bollywood, whose star power overshadows everything else in his movies, delivers an action packed blockbuster that defies both gravity and logic, you will be left startled.
Salman, who turned 50 last year, seems to not only have perfected the magnetism of Rajnikanth, but has also matched it with Bollywood’s masala. Needless to say that’s what one would expect Jasim, who is a senior journalist and TV producer, to have penned. However, Being Salman is anything but that.
The biography goes on to explore why and how Salman is the way he is. The first five chapters of the book unfold the roots of his heredity, talking about his four grandfathers’ and his ancestral background, taking the readers on a journey from Afghanistan to Swat, Pakistan to India. Midway through the book, chapters begin to reflect upon Salman’s persona and his mistaken ‘bratty’ identity.
Delving into Salman’s passionate yet failed relationships, Jasim blatantly accuses the women in his life of being opportunists, seeking popularity alone and not willing to tie the knot. From talking about Salman’s big break with Maine Pyaar Kiya (1989) to his back-to-back blockbusters since Wanted (2009), Jasim unveils various facets of Salman’s life; the bond he shares with his family and close friends, uncountable good deeds through his NGO, Being Human, to his court cases.
It is pertinent to note that the writer also manages to provide an insight into the Rajasthan blackbuck poaching case and the Mumbai hit-and-run case that may have been overlooked in the media furore.
On the other hand, despite claiming to have undertaken rigorous efforts in compiling the book, the author fails to answer the question he himself raised: why is Salman the way he is? Irrespective of being informative, Being Salman reads like a text book. Repetitive at several places, the book also leaves unanswered questions of reported abuse from Salman’s infamous relationship with Ashwariya Rai Bachchan.
All Jasim manages to do is open a window into the life of the superstar, leaving readers wanting to know more. A complete let-down for Salman fans, the book does not have a single quote that can be attributed to the star himself.
Title: Being Salman
Author: Jasim Khan
The writer is a subeditor at The Express Tribune Features desk. She tweets @ChauhanNisma
Published in The Express Tribune, April 24th, 2016.
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