MUMBAI: Salman Khan’s conviction and five-year sentence saw the film fraternity expressing overwhelming solidarity with the actor. But on Friday, when the sentence in a 2002 hit-and-run case was suspended, B-Towners seemed to express “relief” in muted and measured ways.
Later on Friday evening, the superstar took to Twitter to thank his fans. “All those who prayed for and supported me, thank you, meherbani, shukriya,” Salman tweeted. The 49-year-old’s sister Arpita Khan Sharma also thanked her brother’s die-hard fans for their relentless support. “This wouldn’t have been possible without all your love, support & prayers. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts,” Arpita tweeted.
Hours after the sentence was suspended on Friday, the actor received a hero’s welcome from fans outside the Khan’s Bandra residence. The fans were singing songs, dancing and even bursting crackers to celebrate his homecoming.
Dressed in a white shirt, Salman came out on the balcony of his apartment, and waved to his fans as a gesture of his gratefulness for their ceaseless support during his film journey as well as trying times. Also seen with Salman were his father and prolific writer Salim, mother Salma, brother Arbaaz and sister Arpita — all of whom have stood by his side in the case.
Salma, who fell ill on Wednesday when the five-year jail term was announced for the actor, stood with her son, looking relieved and at peace.
On Wednesday, popular names like Subhash Ghai, Riteish Deshmukh, Bipasha Basu, Dia Mirza, Varun Dhawan, Sonakshi Sinha, Kunal Kohli, Arjun Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Wajid Khan and Farah Khan Ali said they “stand” by Salman, who according to most of them, is the “nicest human being in this business”. To many critics, this unceasing support of the Bollywood fraternity seemed skewed and unjust as most names ignored the plight of the victims.
Many even said he didn’t ‘deserve’ the conviction. But after jewellery designer Farah Khan Ali, singer Abhijeet Bhattacharya and actor Ajaz Khan came under attack for distasteful remarks for the victims of the hit-and-run case, most top actors and filmmakers chose to keep their opinion at bay on Twitter. Hours after the Bombay High Court granted Salman regular bail, only a few celebrities tweeted about the case.
“@BeingSalmanKhan Bollywood, fans and his critics will all have to agree with this ... Salman rules Fridays ... I’m very happy for the Khan family,” tweeted Sajid Khan.
Jumme ki raat hitmaker Mika Singh, shared, “My best wishes to big brother @BeingSalmanKhan and I’m 200% sure God will help the man who always helps others. Keep praying.”
The Wanted star is also facing trial in a Rajasthan court for hunting a black buck during the shooting of 1999 film Hum Saath Saath Hain.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 10th, 2015.
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