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Salman Khan: Bad boy, good samaritan?

By Urvi Malvania
May 08, 2015 10:54 IST
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He may or may not have changed, but one thing is certain: his friends and fans are going to stick by him, says Urvi Malvania

Love him or hate him but you cannot ignore him, and it proved no different on Wednesday.

Salman Khan's conviction by a Mumbai sessions court in a hit-and-run case that killed one person and injured four others 13 years ago saw Bollywood and the media going into a frenzy.

The vast majority of celebs from Tinseltown threw their weight behind the actor, taking to Twitter to show their support for the troubled star.

But by no means was it a clean sweep for Khan.

After 13 years of filings and court summons, the law finally caught up with the actor.

The evidence against him was palpable and he was found guilty of culpable homicide and sentenced to five years in prison.

This, of course, wasn't Khan's first brush with the law.

He has been implicated for allegedly killing Chinkaras, a protected animal, while on a hunting trip with friends in 1998 (during the filming of Hum Saath Saath Hai), and has been accused of physically abusing a former girlfriend.

But despite this "bad boy" image which has stuck with him forever, Khan has continued to be a powerful force in Bollywood.

In the 13 years that have elapsed since his Toyota Land Cruiser ran over pedestrians sleeping on the pavement near Amercian Bakery in Bandra, he has to his credit as many as seven Rs 100-crore movies.

Having made his first appearance in Biwi Ho Toh Aisi in 1988, he got his big break in Sooraj Barjatiya's Maine Pyaar Kiya. Since then his legion of fans has only been growing.

His successful streak at the box office continued through the 1990s as he dished out hits like Judwaa, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Biwi No.1 and Pyaar Kiya Toh Darna Kya. The turn of the century, however, held some setbacks for Khan, resulting in movies like Kahin Pyaar Na Ho Jaayeand Chori Chori Chupke Chupke, which failed to make waves like his previous films.

It was in 2003, when Khan played an obsessed lover in Tere Naam that he became a nationwide sensation once again. He followed it up with films like Mujhse Shaadi Karogi and Partner and the recent superhits like Wanted, Dabangg and Ready.

The last three movies marked a turning point in his career and made him the superstar he is today.

The court cases and the troubled image have done nothing to diminish his stardom.

If anything, the long court battles have given Khan enough time to reinvent himself-as a humanitarian and a man with a generous heart.

He started the Being Human Charitable Trust in 2007 which later branched out into retailing of clothing and accessories.

Through the foundation, the actor reaches out to the poor and funds their education and treatment costs for life-saving medical procedures.

As a brand manager puts it, "The verdict has come after 13 years since the incident. In this time, Khan has shown that he has changed his ways and is now a Good Samaritan."

He may or may not have changed, but one thing is certain: his friends and fans are going to stick by him.

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Urvi Malvania
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