Salman Khan is not sorry: actor avoids apologising for rape analogy
Controversial Bollywood actor Salman Khan seemingly does not consider his unsavoury rape analogy worth apologising for.
Khan made the insensitive remark during a press conference in June. Comparing his rigorous shooting schedule during Sultan, his upcoming film where he plays an ageing wrestler, Khan said: “When I used to walk out of the ring, after the shoot, I used to feel like a raped woman. I couldn’t walk straight.”
His father, veteran screenplay writer Salim Khan, however, felt the need to say sorry on his son’s behalf, and tweeted an apology immediately after an audio clip of the flippant comment went viral. “... Nevertheless I apologise on behalf of his family, his fans & his friends. Forgiveness is to pardon the unpardonable or it is no virtue at all.”
Khan’s brother, actor Arbaaz Khan also said the comment was “not appropriate”, but added that the intention was not to demean women, and that people should not be oversensitive.
Khan has not apologised or made any direct comments. On the few occasions that he was questioned after the controversy, he either walked away or made an arbitrary statement: “Nowadays, the lesser I speak, the better it is.”
However, the National Commission for Women (NCW) and the Maharashtra State Women’s Commission (MSWC) – two organisations that protect and promote women’s rights in India – have sent a notice to Khan asking for clarification on his statement and apologise for it by June 29.
In response, Khan responded by sending a letter through his lawyer to both the organisations, albeit without an apology.
NCW chief Lalitha Kumaramangalam revealed that the four-page legal letter was “not conciliatory”. The organisation is now taking legal advice on the action that can be taken against the star.
On June 29, news channel India Today got hold of a copy of Khan’s reply to NCW, in which the 50-year-old confessed to being “conscious of the traumatising nature of rape” and mentioned having the “greatest respect for women”. At the same time his letter also hinted that NCW was making a mountain out of a molehill by dwelling on his remark.
Khan’s response did not deter Kumaramangalam, who told the news channel that NCW is getting ready with a carefully worded reply to Khan, which will be out soon. “We will not take a soft stand,” she said.
Meanwhile, Khan’s lawyer wrote to MSWC saying that since the case is already with NCW, it should be called off from its end. However, MSWC has emphasised that the matter can be heard at the state level as well. The body has asked Khan to appear in the MSWC office with his lawyer on July 7, while NCW summoned Khan to appear before them on July 8.
Much has been said in support of and against Khan from his Bollywood peers. Most recently, an NDTV reporter asked Shah Rukh Khan whether Salman should apologise for his inane comment. King Khan replied: “In the last few years, I have come to realise that I have made so many inappropriate comments myself. I don’t think I am someone to sit in judgement for anybody else’s comment. To be really honest, it is not about taking sides.”
It remains to be seen whether Salman Khan honours the two summons. More importantly, will he live up to being a true idol to his millions of fans?
Published: July 3, 2016 04:00 AM