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Salman should take a cue from 1972 film 'Dushman' and do some soul searching
The film depicts Rajesh Khanna a rash driver who frequently drives while drunk. One morning he drives at breakneck speed in thick fog to make up for lost time after consuming alcohol. He inevitably ends up running over and killing a farmer. But despite the opportunity to hit and run, he decides to stay and face the consequences. He is arrested by the police, charged, and brought before the courts.

Rajesh Khanna admits his guilt in the court. Moved by the plight of the victim's family (widow, sister, two young sons, crippled father and blind mother) and his strong belief that imprisonment is neither good for the victim or the perpetrator, the Judge resolves to try a novel experiment of forcing Rajesh Khanna to live with victim's family and looking after their financial needs for a period of two years, the duration which the accused would have spent in jail as punishment.

Against his wishes, Rajesh Khanna had to comply with the court's ruling. Rajesh Khanna initially faced the animosity of the victim's family and villagers. But slowly things changed. The film then continued with usual Bollywood turns and twists and finally ended on a happy note with the victim's family, notably the widow, forgiving Rajesh Khanna for the crime.

For his stellar performance in this film Rajesh Khanna was nominated for Film Fare Award.

This is a reel story. Now let us see what happens in real life. The famous (or infamous) case of Salman Khan's 2002 Hit and Run needs to be reviewed vis-à-vis this film 'Dushman'.

  1. Rajesh Khanna was a rash, negligent and drunken driver. So is Salman. If the prime witness Ravindra Patil was to be believed, then Salman was drunk and driving at a dangerously high speed.

  2. Rajesh Khanna did not leave the scene of the accident, but Salman fled.

  3. Rajesh Khanna pleaded guilty at the court, but Salman still maintains he is innocent as he was not driving the car. Then who was driving the car? Was a ghost driving it as we know that driver less cars are yet to come to India?

  4. Rajesh Khanna accepted the court's verdict although with some initial reluctance, but never appealed. Salman did not accept Sessions Court's guilty verdict with five years' imprisonment and appealed in Bombay High Court which acquitted him of all charges because of lack of solid evidences. Rajesh Khanna, the truck driver was not a celebrity and therefore did not have money, power or connections. For Salman, these things are at his disposal aplenty and he used them to suit his needs.

  5. Rajesh Khanna, as a compensation to the victims, worked for them, tilled their lands and made harvests to support the family financially. In Salman's case, the victims got peanuts as compensation. The police said as per trial court's order the family members of the deceased Nurullah Shariff would get Rs. 10 Lakhs as compensation. But as recent as two years ago, the victim's family was reportedly finding it tough to produce documents to prove their relationship with the deceased to claim the amount. The injured victims got 3 lakhs officially, but actually they got 1.8 lakhs each as Rs 1.2 lakh was deducted towards legal fees. A cruel joke indeed.

    "The prosecution lawyer should have pressed for heavy compensation for us," said Kaleem Pathan, an injured victim of the accident who had to return home as the injuries hamper regular employment. 

    "We have no interest whether Salman Khan is convicted or acquitted, my son has lost all his youth. He cannot walk properly since the accident and has been unemployed. He was assured by Salman Khan's people they will get him treated but nobody cared," says Niyamat Sheikh, father of another survivor Muslim Sheikh.

    1. In the film, the widow of the victim finally pardoned Rajesh Khanna in two years' time as she thought Rajesh Khanna had done enough penance with a clear conscience. In real life, the widow of Nurullah Sharif said on TV yesterday, "It is the win of money power. Justice is never for the poor. I will never forgive Salman for taking my husband away from me". It has been a little more than 13 years since the incident and the widow of the victim is yet to forgive Salman.

    Reel heroes are different than real heroes. Salman is a hero in reel life and a coward in real life. People might have clapped when the Dabang Inspector says, "Kanun ke haath lambe hote hain aur apradhi kanun se bach ke nehin ja sakta (The law is very powerful and the culprits cannot escape law)". But see, in real life the same hero proves it otherwise. 

    Salman would have won hearts of millions had he accepted what he did and compensated the victims beyond expectations which he was capable of. Then the session's court might have taken a lenient view and reduced the sentence to may be one year or even six months or even acquittal. Everybody would have been happy including the victims who matter the most.

    Salim Khan, father of Salman, said that the HC verdict is a win for all the fans of Salman. Well, I am also a fan of Salman and I take it as a defeat. Some Salman fans celebrated the verdict with fire crackers. Probably they have nothing to do with the plight of the victims. Madhuri Dixit and Shilpa Shetty expressed happiness over the verdict along with others connected to Bollywood to prove that reel personalities are so aloof to real life situations.

    Salman said he accepted the court verdict with humility and thanks the fans and friends who supported him. Why did not he accept the verdict of Session's court with same humility and thank the judiciary system? Can Salman answer this?

    The HC is right in its verdict. The prosecution weakened the case with shoddy investigation and doubtful evidences. I hope the case will go the Supreme Court where justice should be seen as being prevailed.

    In the meantime, Salman should do some soul searching and taking a cue from Rajesh Khanna in the film 'Dushman', should first compensate the victims to their satisfaction. Then only he should expect pardon from the widow of the person he killed because of rash and drunken driving.

    There is an extraterrestrial highest court somewhere we all have to face where nothing but truth works. Be prepared Salman, there is still time.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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