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mid-day editorial: Rape is not a punchline

Bollywood superstar Salman Khan courted controversy once again, when he said that training for his upcoming film Sultan left him feeling like a raped woman, evoking outrage everywhere. In an interview to an online portal, 50-year-old Salman said that when he used to walk out of the ring after the shoot, he felt like a raped woman. He stated that he could not walk straight.

If you can’t quite believe what you are reading, then, you need to believe it. Sallu did use those words and then, because of the huge outrage that followed, back-pedalled furiously. Some reports stated that he had been misquoted.
This is a favoured celebrity tactic: when you find yourself in hot water, blame the media. Some other reports say that his father Salim Khan apologised for the comments. This is a tactic unique to Salman: when in trouble, retreat and let daddy do the clean up.

To use rape so casually and make such a vile analogy is enough to bring the bile to people’s throats. Salman has always spoken without putting his brain into motion first, but this must surely rank as one of the most horrendous statements he has ever made.

If Salman thought he was being funny, he was merely repulsive. If the star thought this was like one of his goofball, infantile dialogues in a movie, he was so wrong.

This shows an immature mindset and a total, shocking insensitivity to rape victims. It is also reprehensible that Salman says what he wants and is simply allowed to get away with it, or that dad steps in to save sonny boy, apologise and it is back to square one for the superstar. One cannot help feeling sorry for the family of this actor, who has to jump into do damage control, whenever he offers one of his puerile gems.

This makes Salman no different from the numerous politicians and famous figures who have offered the most heinous comparisons about rape. This time, Salman, do not back pedal or let others apologize. Redeem yourself in some small measure, but offering an unequivocal apology.

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