Kolkata/Mumbai: It was exactly three years after Salman Khan had been sentenced for a five-year rigorous imprisonment by the Rajasthan High Court when I met Salim Khan, father of Salman Khan at 3 Galaxy Apartment. Chivalrous to the core, the famed scriptwriter of the Salim-Javed duo spoke to me for hours right from the films that he scripted with Javed Akhtar to his relationship with Helen and of course Salman Khan, his first born.
During the trial of Black Buck poaching case, Salman, had been jailed for a week at the Jodhpur Central Jail in 2007 also.
Along with him, co-actors of Hum Saath Saath Hai movie, Saif Ali Khan, Tabu, Sonali Bendre and Neelam were also made accused for hunting two Black Bucks in Kankani village of Rajasthan while shooting for the movie, in 1998.
On Thursday, after almost 20 years, while Saif, Neelam, Tabu and Sonali got acquitted, Salman has been awarded 5 years of imprisonment by a Jodhpur court.
“Nothing can be more painful than seeing your child suffer. I was shocked and in immense pain after visiting Salman at Jodhpur’s Central Jail for the Black Buck case.” During the two-and-a-half hour long conversation, Khan senior had said. He then paused and said, “As we were about to return from his prison cell, Salman, asked his mother, Salma, to not bring me along for the next prison visit. He understood that I was in pain and would continue being in that state, till he returned back home.”
Recalling those moments, Salim’s eyes had turned moist and his voice seemed to be filled with pain. He then took out a scrap book, where he had pasted the clippings of his write-ups that he wrote for various publications in Bhopal and Indore, where he had bared his heart and shared his agony with the readers of some of the leading Hindi publications. Turning through the pages, he said, “When I saw Salman in the prison cell, my heart wept. And when I came back from Jodhpur, each time that I used the air-conditioner or had homemade food I felt very guilty.”
On being asked if Salman had actually committed the crime or was guilty, he had said, “I can’t say much about that the case is still on. My comments might get twisted. All that I can say is that in such cases parents have to suffer a lot. However, I must also state that Salman, is having to pay the price of being a superstar, be it the hit-and-run case, or this case or matters related to his personal life.”
This comment of his rings a similar tone, as that of a recent comment made by actor Sameer Soni, whose wife, Neelam Kothari, was a co-accused in the case and has been acquitted by the court along with Saif Ali Khan and Tabu. He said, “I welcome the verdict as Neelam has been acquitted. But I presume that the Salman Khan verdict is a bit harsh. I guess he is paying for his stardom.”
Meanwhile, repeated calls made to Salim, seeking his comment on this judgment (Salman being sentenced for five years of rigorous imprisonment) remained unanswered.