The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Odomos, cutting, catcalls and meal for Rs 26
- life in lock-up

Mumbai, Oct. 9: Salman Khan broke his self-inflicted fast this morning.

The actor, who spent last night in the cramped Crime Branch lock-up at Crawford Market fighting off mosquitoes with a whole tube of Odomos, had “cutting” for breakfast at 11. Cutting in Mumbai means half a cup of tea.

Later, he spent the Rs 26 he received as government allowance for daily food on dal, a couple of rotis and a plateful of rice. “Kal to kuch bhi nahi khaya, aaj lagta hai bhook lag gayi (He did not eat anything yesterday, but it seems hunger has driven him to eat something today),” a policeman on duty said.

Salman has not been permitted home food yet, nor did he have the opportunity to change from his three-day old jeans and T-shirt.

Once a part of the top “Khan triad” in Bollywood — along with Aamir and Shah Rukh — Salman has been sleeping without a mattress on the concrete floor in a fan-less room with a common toilet, drinking tea from cracked crockery and eating lunch off plastic plates. For company, he has half-a-dozen pickpockets, petty thugs and drug addicts.

The man who pocketed a cool Rs 1.5 crore for his latest hit, Chori Chori Chupke Chupke, also had to bear the sarcastic hoots and catcalls from inmates in adjoining cells who kept singing popular numbers featuring him.

Even as the actor munched the lock-up staple, another Bollywood figure opened his mouth on the Bharat Shah case.

Abbas is one of the witnesses in the case, which is probing the film financier’s links with the mafia. Among the others are Shah Rukh Khan, Preity Zinta, Rakesh Roshan, Mahesh Manjrekar and Sanjay Gupta.

Abbas — who directed Salman in Chori Chori — told a special court looking into Bollywood’s links with the underworld that he had received a call from gangster Abu Salem to direct a film. Abbas — of the famed Abbas-Mastan duo — said he refused.

Chori Chori was allegedly pushed by Shah at the behest of mafia don Chhota Shakeel. The proceeds of the film, to the tune of Rs 19 crore, has already been attached by the court.

The director, who said he had only “read” about Shakeel’s involvement in the film, refused to vouch for the innocence of Shah and film producer Nazim Rizvi. He said he received Rs 80 lakh for the film while Zinta took home Rs 25 lakh. The total cost of the movie was Rs 10 crore.

Abbas further said his name had been recommended to Rizvi and Shah by Salman as “a lot of big stars recommend the names of directors to producers and financiers”.

Salman, too, will be examined in the Shah case though investigations will not be concurrent as the actor is now embroiled in the hit-and-run case and is in police custody.

The actor has in the past been interrogated for his links with the underworld. The police say they have evidence that Chori Chori is tainted with cash that has flowed in from the underworld.

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