It is no doubt that the Bollywood fraternity includes some of the most influential figures in this country. One of the leading members of this group, without doubt is Salman Khan. A criminal record notwithstanding, Salman Khan’s fan following is, to put it mildly, of epic proportions. His movies are certified blockbusters, before their release, and everything about him, from dialogues, to mannerisms to style, is copied by millions.
One would assume that such a public figure would want to maintain some decency and decorum, especially while speaking on public platforms. Salman Khan, often known as “Controversy’s Child” has once again proved this moniker given to him. At a recent interview ahead of the release of his upcoming movie on wrestling “Sultan”, Salman Khan gave the following statement
“While shooting, during those six hours, there’d be so much of lifting and thrusting on the ground involved. That was tough for me because if I was lifting, I’d have to lift the same 120-kilo guy 10 times for 10 different angles. And likewise, get thrown that many times on the ground. 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. I would eat and then, head right back to training. That couldn’t stop.”
He went on to compare women to his vices, as quoted below:
Doesn’t that (the hard work) come at a price?
Leave every second vice in your list – that’s the mantra I follow. And I have left everything one by one. When it was between coffee and cigarettes, I quit coffee. Between cigarettes and drinks, I quit the stick. Between the drinks and women, I have chosen women. Ab iske baad duniya chhod do! But I will never quit movies.
You think women are a vice?
I’m leaving everything for women. There’s nothing left to quit anymore. Ab to bas haath pakadna baaki hai. Wahi reh gaya hai.
It is appalling that a public figure of the stature of Salman Khan, whose every word and action is observed and often aped by the masses, uses the word ‘rape’ so casually, along with having the audacity to equate women to vices such as drinking and smoking. While he was trolled immediately on social media platforms like Twitter, and he also retracted his statement, we are still mortified at the fact that a celebrity can make such statements so indifferently. It is statements like these, which ultimately reflect the ingrained patriarchy and tendency to treat women as objects. Changing the age old perceptions of India, will take longer than expected, if such people continue to make such offensive statements. We highly condemn this statement of Salman Khan, and hope that he, and all other influential figures, think carefully before speaking.
Our #SocialSurfing workshops focus on online communication and counter speech, and making the internet a safe and secure space to voice one’s opinions. Such workshops are extremely important in our country, where societal patriarchy and stereotypes are making their way to the seemingly democratic online space. Effective online communication will enable us to take a stand against #RapeCulture and #Patriarchy in a successful manner.
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