| Salman Khan
Mumbai, Oct. 25: Salman Khan returned home from jail last night to a welcome fit for a hero.
Sunjay Dutt, Preity Zinta, Shilpa Shetty, Satish Kaushik, Boney Kapoor, Sanjay Kapoor, Kishen Kumar, Sajid Khan, Chunkey Pandey, Mahesh Manjrekar and Afzal Khan dropped in to lend their shoulders to Salman, freed on bail after 17 days of captivity.
That is not counting the “family” stars, sister-in-law Malaika Arora Khan, her sister Amrita Arora and Salman’s brother Arbaaz. Page Three regulars Aarti and Kailash Surendranath also made an appearance.
Many of the friends who dropped in — Dutt, Kishen Kumar, Pandey, Manjrekar and Afzal Khan — have had close encounters with the law themselves and could have given him a tip or two.
But it was party time at Galaxy, the apartment building in Bandra where the star lives, last night. No one was in a hurry to talk about the September 28 incident in which Salman’s Toyota Land Cruiser had crushed to death a pavement dweller and injured four.
“What a state this poor guy is in,” said Dutt, Salman’s friend and role model, who hit the headlines recently for his alleged taped conversation with underworld don Chhota Shakeel. Dutt said he had given a few words of advice to Salman. The rest was up to fate, he added.
Salman was locked in a tight hug with him for five minutes before Dutt left in his Mitsubishi.
Dutt’s friend and director Manjrekar, whose name figured in the tapes, too, said Salman was a “misunderstood” person.
The guests stayed on till early in the morning and police vans patrolled the area, with an eye on the proceedings in the Khan household.
Socialite Aarti Surendranath said it was not a party, but a spontaneous get-together of friends.
Salim Khan, the star’s scriptwriter father, said the family was very happy to have Salman back. He blamed the media for blowing up the case and said: “My son never claimed he was an angel. But he didn’t deserve this. Though the media added to his trouble, our family has very strong, loyal friends who stood by us throughout. Yesterday, so many friends turned up that I lost count.”
When Salman returned last night, there was such a crowd waiting for him that the actor had to be brought in through the back door, Salim said.
But Salman came out in the balcony from time to time to wave to the people. Today, too, there more than a hundred people outside his house in the afternoon, waiting to catch a glimpse of the star.