Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The black buck stops here.

I am not for capital punishment. In fact, I’m against any sort of punishment. I don’t think it works in changing behaviour. So, I am not a part of the whisper campaign that goes: Do unto Salman as he did into the black buck: shot her legs and slit her throat with a knife. My view has nothing to do with his giving away pedal bikes to street urchins or a Rs 25-lakh Mercedes to a fellow artiste or a lakh of rupees for the medical treatment of the Dalit poet who called Mumbai a whore once upon a time. To retract a bit, I first became aware of his propensity to give away pedal bikes sometime towards the end of the last millennium. On my way back from a business trip to Colombo, I had broken journey in Bangalore to visit Ashu, Nandini, Aditi and Avantika in their Koramangala residence. Salman was then shooting a David Dhawan flick there. Nandini, Aditi and Avantika had gone to watch the shooting. Avantika who used to be quite a smart tot caught Salman’s eye and fancy. Pat came a mock marriage proposal with a pedal bike thrown in as an additional incentive. I remember calling the gesture “cute” and “sweet” like everyone else. All this happened before the poor guy’s sadistic steak made a public showing: manhandling girl friends, mowing down street dwellers, slitting the throat of a member of an endangered species and who knows what else. And, yet his colleagues and fans – who, I’m sure, are all honourable men and women – say that he is a victim of celebrity, a much misunderstood person, a benefactor of humanity. Maybe I’m mistaken but I happen to strongly feel one ought to side with the Bishnois and Maneka Gandhi here.

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