The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Crowe & Penn rolled into one

Mumbai, April 1: He’s our desi version of Russell Crowe and Sean Penn. Both rolled into one. The difference is Salman Khan won’t stop where even these Hollywood stars will.

Crowe, who seemed to be making a habit of beating people up in drunken brawls, has promised to be better behaved. Penn says he has put behind him those days when he used to beat up Madonna and lock her up in the doghouse. But Khan refuses to give either himself or others a break.

It has been a long and rough roller-coaster ride for the cute boy of Maine Pyaar Kiya and the top slotted superstar of Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. Only, Salman could have bungee-jumped so low in his life and career in such a short period of time.

The nation sat up to his antics when he went on a murderous safari killing endangered black bucks. Except animal lovers and wildlife activists nobody really held it against Salman at that time. Very few held it against him when he poured a bottle of cold drink over former girlfriend Somy Ali’s head.

But Bollywood sat up when Salman punched big guy Subhas Ghai on the nose. Nobody even speaks loudly with Ghai in the film industry.

Then came Aishwarya Rai and everything changed for Salman, mostly for the worse. Or, so they say. The rumour is he could not take his break-up with what people say was a short-lived but tumultuous affair with the former Miss World. But more than anything else, it was her perceived nonchalance. While she was bagging big projects in Bollywood — and even Hollywood — Salman was seen crying his head off on a rainy day in Bandstand.

Only last year, Salman, after creating a ruckus outside Aishwarya’s residence late one night, was warned by police not to come near the actress’ house. Sometime after that, he dashed her car with his and fled from the spot, forcing Aishwarya to complain to the police once again.

And, who can forget the actor’s brawl with reporters outside a Bandra court.

Aishwarya would later say she suffered physical and emotional “scars” while dealing with Salman. The actor had once barged into a set and roughed her up. He had even threatened his former friend, Shah Rukh.

Then there is the ongoing police investigation into Salman’s links with the underworld. Though Salman is fighting a court battle in the American Bakery case, where he is accused of driving a car over sleeping pavement dwellers on September 28 last year, killing one and injuring four, Bollywood had mostly remained silent on him.

That is until he took on Vivek Oberoi.

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