Monday Morning Questions Post! Salman Week Edition!

I’m not the biggest Salman expert, but I will do my best if you have questions!  And by the way, there is a huge 3 part series of 51 facts and videos and photos going up over the next 24 hours.  So many questions may be answered, or come up, from that! (Home for the new Monday Morning Questions category is here, you can see them all in one place)

You don’t HAVE to ask a question about Salman, it can be about absolutely anything.  And you can ask it any time, today or over the next few days, whenever you want.

Questions can be personal (“why isn’t Salman your favorite Khan?”) to factual (“What day exactly is Salman’s birthday?”) to general discussion questions (“What is your favorite Salman movie and why?”)

The only rule is, let me have first dibs on the questions, otherwise it is no fun for me!

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7 thoughts on “Monday Morning Questions Post! Salman Week Edition!

    • Hmm. Good question! I think he is my second favorite Khan. And it’s not that there is anything necessarily wrong with him, it’s just that I like Shahrukh slightly more. Shahrukh is just so verbal! And I’m a writer, I love it when people are good with words.

      But what I like about both Shahrukh and Salman is their commitment to their Indian identity, their charity work, their kindness to their co-stars, and their availability to their fans. In fact, on some of those things (like fan availability), I even like Salman more.

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  1. It looks like you had a great Christmas! We’ve been so busy but it has been nice. I’m cleaning the house today before some out of town relatives arrive tomorrow for three more days of fun and celebration. My wife gave me a Bose blue-tooth speaker for Christmas so we have been listening (and poorly dancing) to our favorite Hindi songs all day. It is excellent cleaning music!

    That leads me to my question for this week. Have you ever tried to do any of the dance moves from the movies? To say that I have two left feet is probably being generous. It’s probably more like I have two bricks for feet. After watching Bang Bang a few months ago, my wife convinced me that I would be able to do Hrithik’s pivot kick move from the song Uff. Yeah, it didn’t go so well. I pulled my groin and could barely walk for two days after!

    Happy Holidays!

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    • I have not tried the dances, because I am also a clumsy dancer! However, when I saw Ra.One in theaters, we were at a midweek show at a downtown multiplex, and me and my two friends were the only ones in the theater. So when “Chammak Challo” came on over the end credits (this was after about 3 weeks of listening to it non-stop), they ran down and did the dance in front of the screen while I cheered them on.

      For a more general answer, I know the dance moves are supposed to be doable by anyone, at least some of them. So there are the big kick moves, but also like the little hand gesture from “Chammak Challo” which anyone can quickly learn and do at the clubs or weddings or family events or whenever else there are movie songs playing in the background.

      It helps explain some of the song choreography, right? It’s not just about coming up with the most graceful and interesting dance for the film, you also want to come up with some simple move that will help it turn popular so everyone can do it. Just like the old Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movies always had that one boring ballroom dance type number to sell whatever new dance move they came up with (The Piccolino, The Yam, The Continental, etc)

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    • As you say, there are 3 big issues with him, and my response to each of them is different:

      1. Poaching incident: No, this doesn’t bother me at all. I grew up in hunting country, it’s nothing I would ever be interested in doing myself, but I have no big moral objections to it. I knew plenty of people growing up who regularly hunted, they were nice people who were more likely to vote for environmental protections and respect and admire living things than non-hunters. Hunting was about being in the wild and enjoying nature and admiring the power of animals more than anything else. I understand that Salman was breaking the law, but my understanding is also that this is a law which is fairly routinely broken. I suppose if I had a choice, I would prefer him not to have broken the law, but I have no deep instinctive disgust about it.

      2. Abuse towards his girlfriends: Hmm. The problem with this one is that it is so fuzzy. If one of his girlfriends had come out and filed an FIR against him, that would be one thing, but most of them haven’t said anything. Which I don’t take as proof that he didn’t abuse them, abuse victims so rarely speak out, but it is also hard to take as proof that he DID abuse them. And if he did, he isn’t proud of it. Abusers like Sean Connery or Chris Brown who basically brag about what they did and show no regret, that’s one thing. Abusers who seem aware that they have done something wrong, through their silence, that makes me feel slightly different. Not that I forgive him, it’s just different. If Kat or Aish ever comes out with a tell-all book detailing how he terrorized them and threatened them and so on, then I would feel different. But as is, it’s hard to sort through the stories to figure out what is true and what is media imagination and what picture that draws of the relationships. Certainly it seems clear that towards the end of his relationship with Aish, things got really really bad. But what I am not clear on is if that was part of a pattern of his behavior with girlfriends (certainly Aish is the only ex with whom he does not now have a wonderful relationship, but then women can forgive their abusers and have good relationships later, and it is common for abusers to focus their behavior only on their romantic interests, not on anyone else in their lives), if it was related to his drinking at that time (he claims to no longer drink for medical reasons, which I am inclined to believe because it would be extremely dangerous to his health based on his current diagnoses), or if it is something he is ashamed off and worked hard to overcome and atone for. If it is all of those things, one really unhealthy relationship during a time when he was drinking heavily and now he is clean and sober and regrets his actions, then I can forgive him. But, as I said, we don’t know if that is what it was, so I’m kind of living in uncertainty on this point. I’m trying to neither condemn or forgive him until I learn more. And if I never learn more, then I will just always be in this open-minded state on this issue.

      2. The drunk driving: There’s a lot more going on here than simply a hit and run, which makes my reaction complex. Let’s see if I can break it down into the elements that are involved:
      a. The actual hit and run: Yes, this was a terrible thing. However, remember how above I said about the abuse that we don’t know for sure if it was a one off, if he changed his behavior, if he regrets it, and so on? Well, in this case we do know all those things. This is the only serious driving incident he was involved in, he does not drink any more, and he has spoken many times about how he regrets it, even without coming out and saying that he was driving the car, he has still taken responsibility for the incident. My biggest problem with the incident would be if it showed a lack of respect for human life, a feeling that as a wealthy movie star he was above the tragedies of a pavement dweller and cafe workers. But this is the one area in which I think Salman has proven himself over and over again. He consistently shows a sense of humanity and concern for others no matter their state. And so, for one drunken driving incident, I think I can forgive him. Not forget, but forgive.

      b) the legal issues: I think this has considerably muddled the situation. My minimal research has pulled up Section 279 and Section 280 of the Indian Penal code which deal with rash driving. They both suggest a sentence of up to 6 months in jail. I believe (and this is just my opinion) that if Salman had known pleading guilty would result in a quick trial and sentence of 6 months, or even a year, that he would have done it and faced the consequences and publicly taken responsibility and everything else. After all, he has come as close to admitting responsibility as he could without effecting his court case, and he has done all sorts of charity work that directly atones for his actions. But since the case has dragged on and on, and the prosecutors keep upping the charges, he is fighting it. In the recent Koffee episode, Salman (or one of his brothers, I can’t remember) made a plea not for movie stars to be given special consideration, but to be treated “normal”. Which has always been my impression of this case as well. If he hadn’t been famous, if the whole country hadn’t already had an opinion before the case started, if the lawyers hadn’t seen a chance to increase their fame, then the whole case would have been over in no time and he probably would have gotten 6 months in jail. But since he is famous, it has turned into this whole never-ending circus. So in terms of all the many shenanigans his lawyers have pulled to keep him out of jail, I have no moral judgement because it feels like they are using underhanded means to fight an unfair prosecution. And for Salman personally, he has shown that he does not feel he is special, but rather feels that no one should be kept in jail or trapped in court case limbo, by his many charitable contributions towards prisoners.

      c) The issue of what message his behavior gives to his fans and followers: I am a little torn about this. Without a public apology, and maybe a series of PSAs about the dangers of drunk driving, Salman isn’t really repudiating his behavior in a way that would tell his fans not to do the same. In a bigger sense, he is doing that, through all the charity work and emphasis on respecting human life no matter the status. But the idea of people cheering when a criminal escapes prosecution is a little troubling. I could wish that he was more emphatic in clarifying that he doesn’t want to escape prosecution, he wants to avoid UNFAIR prosecution (which, again, I do believe is what he is suffering from. The charges should not be as high as they are, and the number of appeals and the length this case has dragged on is over the top).

      Generally, with all his controversies, I am very aware that we only know about them because of his fame. I can’t make any value judgments, if that makes sense? I can’t say “He is the worst person in India” or “the most spoiled movie star” or “Not like other people who have avoided temptation”. Because, we just don’t know! I am sure an Ambani son, for instance, could get away with much much worse than these 3 stories, and we would never ever know about it. I am also sure that a slightly less famous but equally rich movie star could get away with much much worse and the media wouldn’t care. And what I am certain we can’t say is “He covered it up and got away with it and doesn’t even care!” Because the fact that we are all talking about it means he didn’t cover this up, not the way he could have. And he certainly didn’t get away with any of these things (again, because we are talking about it, and because he has been in and out of jails and courtrooms for over a decade now), and his behavior for the past 10 years at least has proved that he does care about being a better person.

      For a counter-example, did you know that Matthew Broderick killed two people through reckless driving in 1987? It’s a footnote in his wikipedia page, the studio protected him and helped cover it up and fight the court case, he got off with a slap on the wrist. He gave some apologetic interviews back in the 80s, and no one has really brought it up with him since (I am sure because he doesn’t allow it to be discussed in interviews). Compare that with how Salman has been dragged through the courts with no help in keeping it quiet, how he is fairly open and willing to discuss his troubles in interviews (not trying to help with a cover up), and has changed his whole life around to atone on a personal level for his actions.

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