Salman Khan, Bollywood’s most misunderstood actor? (Book Review)

Title: Being Salman; Author: Jasim Khan; Publisher: Pengiun Viking; Pages: 235; Price: Rs.599

Known as the “brat” of Bollywood and an ill-tempered actor, superstar Salman Khan – a role model for many – is infamous for a life entangled in controversies one after the other.
Be it the blackbuck poaching in Rajasthan or the 2002 accident that left one dead and four others injured in Mumbai, or his much talked about romantic dalliances, he has always been in the news. According to many people, and those from the industry as well, superstar Salman Khan is the most misunderstood actor in the industry – and this book attempts to relate how and why.
Even if you are not a fan of the star, “Being Salman” might just turn your heart a bit towards the actor who has delivered blockbuster movies ranging from “Maine Pyar Kiya” and “Hum Aapke Hain Koun..!” to the more recent “Dabangg”, “Ek Tha Tiger”, “Kick” and “Bajrangi Bhaijaan” to his credit.
Author Jasim Khan, a senior journalist and TV producer, it seems, has taken great pains to explore Salman’s growth as well as his personal life.
The lineage, no matter how interesting and informative, reads like a text book in school, with too much information to digest in one go. But don’t lose interest. The read becomes interesting as it progresses towards the reality of what Salman is all about.
Salman started his career with “Biwi Ho Toh Aisi” (1988) which starred actors Rekha and Farooq Shaikh. Attaining fame after director Sooraj Barjatya’s “Maine Pyar Kiya” in 1989, the 50-year-old’s career, which started on a “meagre” – by film industry standards – salary of Rs.10,000 a month, has now amassed assets estimated at around Rs.1,280 crore (almost $188 million).
For someone who is not a fan of the actor, the book throws light on what a misunderstood man Salman is.
Still unclear is what really happened and how true the accusations were when Salman’s former girlfriend and actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan claimed that he had physically abused her, though some chapters of the book explore the various facets of Salman’s love life.
According to the author’s research, his girlfriends took advantage of his fame, used him and were unwilling to settle down – all to an extent true.
Brushing past the love-hate bond between superstar Shah Rukh Khan and Salman, “Being Salman” also reminds you that in the end, everybody is a human being. Like all people have fights and patch-ups, stars too have the right to fight and patch up.
This book, which talks of the famous actor’s relationship with his parents and brothers, his food habits, nature, love life, career graph, turning point of his life thanks to his NGO ‘Being Human’ and the bond he shares with people, leaves you with a lot to think about.
In a nutshell, “Being Salman” is a small window on why Salman is the way he is.
(Kishori Sud can be contacted at [email protected])