Does having Salman as a friend really brighten up prospects in the industry? It definitely seems so...
In this industry, where closeness with celebs and loyalties towards particular star camps holds as steady as a mound of quicksand, Salman Khan has more or less always been known to stand by his faithful friends in the face of adversity.
There was buzz that Salman gifted his 'very good friend' Asin an apartment in Mumbai, even recommended friend Zarine Khan to filmmakers, while promoting former girlfriend Katrina Kaif in Bollywood and gifting artworks to Aamir Khan.
This all-weather friend, however, is now being accused of showering undue advantage on another friend, Mahek Chahal, as she battles it out with fellow contestants on a TV reality show.
Salman apparently took this model, of Nayi Padosan fame, under his wings to teach her the ropes of making a successful career in Bollywood. There were earlier reports of how the model-turned-actress even accompanied Sallu on his outdoor shoots.
Currently a contestant on television reality show Bigg Boss, Mahek , according to former fellow contestant Pooja Bedi has turned into a 'vulture' and is 'terrorising' the other inmates in the house, all because she has the backing of Salman, who also hosts the same show.
A few days earlier, Shakti Kapoor, also an ex-inmate from the house, ranted against Mahek on Twitter. The former Bollywood baddie apparently called her 'Salman's girl', adding that the scales tip in her favour to emerge winner this season.
Recently evicted Pooja Bedi has also pointed a finger at Salman for supporting Mahek in her antics. In an interview, she says, "No one can object to her behaviour because then he or she gets portrayed negatively.
Everyone in the house thinks Salman is calling the shots. They're unnerved." In fact, so thick is Salman's friendship with her that the star even turned up recently on the show to rebuke Siddharth Bharadwaj. Pooja also adds that the other contestants feel everyone has to suck up to Mahek to remain in the show.
Pooja however also decides to give Sallu the benefit of the doubt, saying, "I like Salman! I'd be very distressed if he was protecting and helping Mehak to get to the finals."
It cannot be contested that for all those who remain in the star's good books, he is an exemplary friend. However, we wonder if there is any truth behind these recent rantings, or are they just cases of the sour grapes?
(Inputs by Subhash K Jha)