As the Bombay High Court today acquitted superstar Salman Khan in the 2002 hit-and-run case, hundreds of his fans revelled outside his Bandra home, bursting crackers and breaking into a jig. No sooner than the news spread about the hugely popular actor being absolved of “all charges” in the over 13-year-old case, fans started converging outside his residence, dancing to hit Bollywood numbers, distributing ladoos and waving Salman’s cutouts in celebration.
However, the fans and supporters, desperately wanting to catch a glimpse of the 49-year-old actor, were left disappointed as Salman did not turn up in balcony of his flat in Galaxy Apartments, where a huge crowd had gathered. “I am here since 3 pm and it’s 7.30 pm now. I just wanted to see Salman Khan and to say hi! to him,” said an enthusiastic fan.
Salman, who reached home at 5.35 pm, over five hours after the judgement was pronounced, entered the building from the rear gate to avoid the crowd and a large media contingent present, and remained indoors. Another fan Manjar Khan, who came all the way from Hyderabad, said, “I don’t know what happened on the night of the accident, but Salman is like God. I can never think of Salman committing any crime.” Police have stepped up security outside Galaxy Apartments in the upscale Mumbai suburb.
However, unlike the day the trial court sentenced Salman to five-year imprisonment in the case seven months ago, there was not much gathering of frenzied crowds around the Bombay High Court today. Though security was tight in the premises in anticipation of a huge crowd, except for a few fans, young lawyers and curious onlookers, the scene was largely free of any buzz. Police had deployed jawans and women constables of the Riot Control Unit at the both gates of the court located in Fort area of south Mumbai.
Excitement and suspense was palpable after Salman’s arrival at the court. A sombre mood engulfed the premises as the star, attired in a black and white checkered shirt and jeans, arrived in the afternoon from Karjat, about 100 km from Mumbai where he was shooting for a film, and walked straight into the packed courtroom with sister Alvira Khan Agnihotri, brother-in-law Aayush Sharma and long-time bodyguard Shera in tow.
Meanwhile, late in the evening, Bollywood personalties including veteran actress Waheeda Rehman, Sangeeta Bijlani, Eli Avram and Tiger Shroff called on Salman at his residence. Salman’s brother Sohail Khan, sister Arpita, father Salim Khan along with his stepmother Helen also visited the 49-year-old actor.