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Single Sallu's a friendly ex

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BHARATHI S. PRADHAN   |   Published 14.11.10, 12:00 AM

With Katrina officially moving out of her 45-year-old beau’s life and whispered to be seeing the younger Ranbir, is Salman Khan gunning for Rishi’s son? The answer is no because, contrary to his aggressive image, Salman Khan rarely has a problem with any of his girlfriends moving on in life. And he seldom holds a grudge against the new man. For instance, when Sangeeta Bijlani moved on to Azharuddin and married him, Salman not only attended her marriage but her husband also became his buddy.

“I’m friends with all my former girlfriends, except one,” he blandly stated. The exception was Aishwarya Rai of course. But in typical Salman style, he has had no issues at all with Abhishek Bachchan, the man Aishwarya ultimately married. Mention Abhi and Sallu’ll casually shrug, “No problems with him, nice guy.” In fact, his dad Salim Khan has more issues with Amitabh Bachchan than Salman has with Abhishek.

The only “other man” Salman has had a run-in with is Vivek Oberoi, but it had little to do with the fact that he was the man Aishwarya dated after breaking up with Khan. It was Vivek’s act of calling a press conference and publicly exposing Salman as an obsessive lover who was harassing Aishwarya that turned the Bandstand Khan against the Oberoi boy.

And so, whether it’s a casual fling or a new, full-fledged relationship for his girlfriend of six years, Salman has no hate-Ranbir agenda over his intimacy with Katrina. But come to think of it, fate has actually been pitching Ranbir opposite Salman quite frequently. The first time it happened, Salman didn’t even know who his adversary was. Years ago, Salman and Ranbir had collided into each other at Olive and the Kapoor boy had reportedly got his shirt torn in the scuffle. But when Salman learnt that he’d just brawled with Rishi Kapoor’s son, he’d repented in the morning and sent across a suitcase crammed with new shirts to Ranbir. Of course, this also means that hierarchy and dynasty matter in the film industry because, if the young man he’d picked up a fight with had not been from a blue-blooded film family, would Salman have offered the olive branch to him in this manner the next morning?

But the suitcase diplomacy worked and Salman even did a friendly miniscule appearance in Ranbir’s debut film Saawariya. This time too they clashed, but strictly on screen. In this bout, Salman ultimately won debutante Sonam Kapoor’s heart, leaving Ranbir desolate. But two years later, the tables have turned in real life with the Katrina-Salman break-up and Ranbir’s reported entry into her life. Reported, because nobody is going official about it and right now it does not even seem like a serious commitment. But to return to our original point, fate does seem to be throwing Salman and Ranbir opposite each other rather often.

When former girlfriend Deepika Padukone recently said that if she had to gift Ranbir something she’d give him a packet of condoms, she said it all. But Ranbir is young, successful and officially unattached. Also, those jumping overworked hormones are in his genes. In his youth, as Raj Kapoor’s richie-rich son and as the sensational Bobby star, Rishi was equally flamboyant, playing the field quite unabashedly.

Recently, Rishi mock-grumbled to me about the new two-seater sports car Ranbir ordered behind his back. “I was in London shooting for Patiala Housewhen mother and son went and booked it behind my back. Remember I had a red one like that in my time? But I asked Ranbir where he could possibly drive that car today.” Actually Rishi is quite thrilled that Ranbir is having the time of his life, exactly like he did nearly four decades ago, although he states aghast, “At least in our time we used to feel squeamish about gossip. These days it is so in your face, it’s all over the electronic media before you know it. Today there is no aankh ki sharam, no testing the waters like we did. They’re straightaway sleeping together!” If that sounds fuddy-duddy, Rishi knows it as he himself concedes, “Maybe we’re just an older generation.” So would he pull up Ranbir if he felt he was doing something not quite right? “I would,” Rishi retorts. “But will Ranbir listen to me? That’s the question.”

And Chintu laughs delightedly, demonstrating that Ranbir sowing his wild oats is quite par for the course and the senior Kapoors don’t take it seriously. In fact, they’re looking on with indulgent pride at the inheritor with the unmistakable Kapoor genes.

Bharathi S. Pradhan is editor,

The Film Street Journal

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