Though Salman has always been known to have a wild side to him, in 2006, Khan was sentenced to one year in prison for hunting the Chinkara (the sentence was later suspended). Before that it was his scandal of threatening Aishwariya Rai and even in his professional life he has faced numerous controversies.
Yet somehow he always managed to escape be it due to his celebrity status or his links with the Indian elite!
Not anymore for this time Bollywood superstar Salman Khan has been sentenced to five years in prison for killing a homeless man with his SUV in a 2002 hit-and-run after a night out drinking at an upmarket bar.
Indian judge DW Deshpande found Khan guilty of culpable homicide and other charges for driving his Land Cruiser into a group of homeless men sleeping rough in suburban Mumbai, rejecting the actor’s claim his driver was to blame.
“After going through the arguments put forth by both sides, I have come to the conclusion that five years is proper punishment,” Deshpande told the packed sessions court.
Undoubtedly this means the end of the career as a hero for the Bollywood heartthrob who is already almost 50 years old and men in their 50’s hardly ever make ideal heroes for even the great Bachan had started to play a Dad by the time he was in his fifties.
And if this isn’t enough, this conviction will certainly blemish the name of the great Khan family of Bollywood which has long dominated the Indian cinema.
The star of blockbusters such as Dabangg fled the scene of the crash that left one man dead and several others injured. The case has been going on ever since then and finally now the verdict has arrived.
The verdict had been keenly awaited both by his legions of fans and Bollywood studios, who stand to lose millions of dollars if they have to cancel filming for movies for which he has been signed up.
However the Bollywood fraternity has openly come out to support Khan with Arjun Kapoor even tweeting, “It doesn’t matter what anyone or any court says he doesn’t deserve this at any level.” They do seem to stand out for each other!
Most unfortunately Khan’s conviction comes during what was probably his highest point in India’s film industry. In 2014, the actor topped the Forbes celebrity list on two parameters—riches and fame—earning some Rs244.5 crore ($38.4 million.) It was for the first time in three years that Shah Rukh Khan was removed from the top spot.
Khan has acted in more than 30 films in the last 12 years. But it was only in 2009 that the actor’s calling as an action hero was discovered. That year, he acted in director Prabhu Deva’s Wanted, which went on to become a blockbuster. A mega blockbuster infact!
And his appeal wasn’t merely limited to urban multiplexes, with thousands of fans swarming countless single-screen theatres across the country, helping Khan deliver hit after hit.
These included massive blockbusters like Dabangg, Dabangg 2, Ek Tha Tiger, Kick and Bodyguard. His last seven blockbusters have clocked a total of Rs1,100 crore ($173 million) at the box-office.
One can only feel pity for the Great Khan who has fallen from grace just when he had finally made it to the top! Maybe if he had voluntarily surrendered to the rule of law in 2002, his sentence might have been a little less harsh. Yet his pride might have just finished him off in the end!