On Thursday evening, the sea-facing Galaxy apartment block was decked up like a bride. Throughout the evening, the building located at the corner of Bandstand — this area probably draws the maximum number of fans after Juhu where Amitabh Bachhan lives — witnessed a host of big cars pulling up outside and familiar stars from the film industry alighting.
Earlier in the day, the Bombay High Court had acquitted the actor in the 2002 hit-and-run case. It observed that a “strong suspicion of guilt cannot be used to hold a person guilty”.
The verdict might have triggered a series of memes and jokes which suggest that the car that the actor was driving was drunk and it was the footpath that was driving it but the chances of them diminishing Brand Salman are feeble. With only a couple of weeks to go before Khan turns 50, the verdict will probably boost his image.
It might be a coincidence but Khan’s choice of films seems to drive home the point that he is a man with a golden heart. Take a look at his movies he has acted in along side promoting his NGO Being Human and its various activities, in the last a few years. Even when he was a corrupt cop in Dabangg (2010), he still managed to score his career’s biggest hit up to that point and walk away with Robin Hood-esque persona that finds wide mass appeal.
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In Bodyguard (2011), Jai Ho (2014), Kick (2014) and Bajrangi Bhaijan (2015), he plays honest, upright and adorable characters. In his latest film Prem Ratan Dhan Payo too he sweeps the market – the film’s earnings are pegged at over Rs 400 crore — and wins hearts by playing a good-hearted theatre actor who believes in keeping the family together. He does this even when he is just an impersonator.
The stories of the actor’s generosity are well-known. He helps the poor — donates his watches, money and even promises to build them homes. Being an influential man of the industry with a kind heart, he is known to periodically take young and aspiring actors under his wing: Arjun Kapoor gives him credit for his lean frame today; in the last couple of years, Daisy Shah and Jacqueline Fernandes have inched towards stardom thanks to him; and Sooraj Pancholi, of course, could make his big debut earlier this year in Hero thanks to Khan’s unstinting support.
Irrespective of the hit-and run case raising questions about his character, the image of Khan as a do-gooder has remained intact. Now with the court’s verdict, he can breathe easy and step into his 50s on December 27 with aplomb. He can ask for some party tips from his on-and-off friend Shah Rukh Khan, who recently celebrated his 50th birthday with great fanfare.
If reports are to be believed, Khan is furiously working out in the gym to prepare his body, which already boasts of rippling muscles, for his next Eid release, Sultan.
For fans, who find the wait till Sultan’s release too long, there is the book titled by Being Salman, published by Penguin and due to be released on his birthday. The book promises to delve into Khan’s family history and his personal history to reveal interesting vignettes and unknown facts about “the enigmatic and immensely popular superstar”. This, according to the publishers, will help “his many fans understand what ‘Being Salman’ is all about”.