The Wrath Of Khan

By Sunil Kumar

Khan Noonien Singh; the arch-nemesis of Captain James T. Kirk in the Star Trek Universe is an interesting antagonist. Without realizing it; Gene Roddenberry created a syncretic character; reflective of India’s secular and pluralistic society. Getting a Hispanic Montalban and Benedict Cumberbatch to play him seems so unfair to India; if you can’t handle this country’s accents Hollywood; remember a lot of our actors playing roles in your industry; and Reliance producing Steven Spielberg.

Salman Khan has been hogging the headlines this week; primarily because of his super-hero image; carefully nurtured and promoted through the movies. What happened one sozzled night in 2002 is a mystery; like many other things in India; but Judge Deshpande should be congratulated for not succumbing to massive pressure. The country’s legal fraternity has been rightfully implicated many times; and justice delayed is justice denied.

Khan and his followers in Star Trek II: The Wr...

Khan and his followers in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When the common man has to struggle forever in a convoluted system like India; it often seems like little consolation when the judiciary is commended when it reaches some correct verdicts. Lynch mobs, morality and emotions often are a guiding factor; public sympathy for people such as Sanjay Dutt and Salman Khan a truly irrational but expected outcome of popular culture.

What is it about the almighty newsbyte that it leads to very little change but a lot of chatter? The film industry came out as a very integrated unit in light of the Salman episode; but on the flip side; the pretentious cacophony of light bulbs and glamorous cocooned actors only makes people rail against the inequity of existence!

Millions of fans have been inspired by the nobility and heroism of Salman Khan on-screen; but to be a real human being; maybe “Bhai” has to own up to what actually happened in the bylanes of Bandra. India’s film industry has been swimming in murky waters for more than two decades; an unholy gangster-producer nexus going unchecked due to apathy and even admiration from the law.

Directors and producers often talk about creative freedom; but maybe honest introspection may reveal numerous warts that need to be rectified. The country’s most sanctimoniously hypocritical preachy news anchor; Arnab should realize that ground rules should be the same for everybody; tainted Hindu godmen or major film actors. The Salman case again highlights how tardy the justice system is; a decade and a half is enough for memories to fade; facts to be conveniently altered; and the world to take a U-turn.

The fact is that all sympathy for the homeless in this case is mere hogwash; another armchair debate that will actually not change anything. The judgment will play out like a news soap opera; only to be supplanted by the next burning issue. The most volatile of the Khan triumvirate; Salman has probably sobered up in the past decade; as age and experience mellowed his instincts.

The melodrama and its after-effects are going to be a newsquake of Bollywood proportions; and how it pans out a true reflection of the country’s values.

 

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