Punishment vs. Compassion: Industry and fans plead for mercy for reformed Salman

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Bollywood is reeling. The axe was expected to fall… but not so harshly. Five years of imprisonment for Salman Khan in the blackbuck case has clearly spooked the industry and opened a gush of compassion for the beleaguered star. Even as most B-town denizens maintain that the law will take its course, they can’t help send out a plea for mercy, for the long since reformed ‘bad boy’.

https://twitter.com/ANI/status/981830781319475200

Social media is awash with laypeople and celebrities declaring their support for the actor with the hashtag We Support Salman Khan. While Jaya Bachchan, film star and Rajya Sabha MP said, “I feel bad. He should be given relief. He has done a lot of humanitarian work,” Rani Mukerji struck a loyal note when she said, “I always say this, my love will always be with him.” From Arjun Rampal to Subhash Ghai, all underline that he is the “most loved person by the industry and people for his human reasons”.

https://twitter.com/SubhashGhai1/status/981825968388976640

The Salman Khan of today is a far cry from the wild, hot-headed star he was 20 years ago. All the worst examples of his behaviour date back to roughly two decades back. The shocking hit and run incident took place in 2002, the blackbuck shooting in 1998. Since then the star has calmed down immensely as a person. From time to time he has ruffled feathers with his spontaneous statements, whether it was his comment that the 26/11 attacks were hyped because "elite people" were targeted, or his suggestion that “those who order wars should be sent to the forefront and be told that you fight first.”

Recommended Read:Blackbuck poaching case: Salman Khan sentenced to 5 years in jail

But nothing serious has blotted his copybook in decades. In fact, he is seen to have paid back with interest for all his wrongdoings with his constant and considerable charity work.

Along with his mammoth star power – Salman Khan is the industry’s most successful hero with the highest number of films in the Rs.300 crore club – he has amassed a huge wealth of love and goodwill. Experts estimate that he has Rs.400 to Rs.600 crore riding on him, as the verdict affects three major film projects – the nearly complete Race 3, and the yet to roll Bharat and Dabangg 3. His TV show ‘Dus Ka Dum’ is also in the pipeline.

Power and love – Salman has both aplenty at this point in time. Either could be the reason why B-town is pleading he be allowed to enjoy both in unfettered freedom.

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