The verbal duel between Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan on 16th July, 2008 at a restaurant in Bandra West, Mumbai is regarded as one of the biggest Bollywood scandals to date.
Both Salman and Shah Rukh, till this day have refused get into the details that led to the feud. However, what I am going to do here is no speculation. I will analyse and narrate the incidents that led to the infamous fight in this new series.
And if you think you know the real reason, you are wrong.
Much after the incident took place, it was reported that Salman Khan and Shah Rukh came to blows because of an unsavoury remark made by the latter about his ex-girlfriend Aishwarya Rai. It was enough to raise Salman’s ire, and he charged towards Shah Rukh to rain blows on him. The latter was prepared to do the same and had his fists clenched in anger. Both were using the choicest expletives in full view of the Bollywood fraternity who had converged to celebrate Katrina Kaif’s birthday on Salman Khan’s personal invitation.
That fight was predictably played up in the media and continues to be fodder even now. To this day, the two stars religiously avoid bumping into each other at events.
But do you think that fight was just over a remark that Shah Rukh made about Aishwarya? Or was it just a knee-jerk reaction from Salman Khan when he heard a disparaging about his ex? Or, was Shah Rukh upset because Salman had made an uncomplimentary comment about the reality show he was hosting? Or was it some deep-rooted, sub-conscious hate against each other coming to the fore because both were drunk?
It was not a fight that started that evening…
Most of the reports about the triggers of the incident are true. There were some uncomplimentary remarks made about Aishwarya. It is also true that Shah Rukh was upset about Salman’s remark that his reality show Kya Aap Paanchvi Pass Se Tez Hain not doing well. But these reasons are simply not enough to make two superstars fight in public and that too, when the whole film fraternity is watching them from such close quarters.
The reasons behind their fight are far too deep and their anger was simmering for years before it reached the tipping point. Let’s connect the dots behind the clash of the two most famous superstars of our era.
Before we go into that, here is a video of the film fraternity entering that famous party in 2008. The most funny thing about this video is that it was shot at a time when nobody had an idea about the nuclear war that was going to happen inside.
Salman treated Shah Rukh as member of his family
When Shah Rukh was struggling to make his niche in the film industry, Salman had already reached stardom. Shah Rukh was a regular visitor at Salman’s house ever since he became moderately famous in Bollywood. He frequently hung out with the Khan family. Salman loved him as a brother. In fact, there was a time when Shah Rukh used to address Salman as ‘Sir’, as revealed by the latter in an interview to a channel (I have the video clip and will post it at an appropriate time).
When Shah Rukh became famous, Salman had acknowledged him as a star and did a film with him called Karan Arjun (1995). Salman was a bigger star than Shah Rukh at that point of time, and the film turned out to be a huge hit at the box office.
Here is the first scene that Shah Rukh and Salman did together in Karan Arjun. However, this was not the first scene in the film where the two were shown together in the one frame.
Since then many producers have tried to cast them together in a film but could not afford both of them. Besides, both were solo heroes and didn’t feel the need to come together again for a film.
However a South producer managed to get them together again. Tamil producer K S Adhiyaman managed the feat and got the stars for a remake of his own Tamil film; the film was called Hum Tumhare Hain Sanam. The film went to the floors in 1997, but couldn’t cash in on the two Khans because it took more than six years in the making due to production delays and financial hassles. It was released in 2002 and managed to recover its money even though the look of both the heroes kept changing in different shots of the film. It was very funny!
Here is a slide-show of a few unseen pictures of Shah Rukh and Salman together in public. The pics are not arranged in any order.
Yeh dosti, Bollywood ishtyle
Though they were busy with their own films, Salman and Shah Rukh Khan kept doing cameos in each other’s films — a sign of the camaraderie that existed between two stars in Bollywood.
We all know that Salman Khan did a very big role in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998) and was a primary attraction for the audience even though he was credited as being a guest actor. Shah Rukh Khan again returned the favour in Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega in 2000 where he came in just minutes before the interval, exactly what Salman Khan did in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai.
Here is the clip where Shah Rukh makes his entry in Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega.
The last film that saw the two Khans together in one frame was Om Shanti Om in 2007. It did not just feature him, but also his brother Arbaaz, his wife Malaika and his best friend Sanjay Dutt. It was an occasion where all the Bollywood stars converged to show their solidarity for Shah Rukh and Farah Khan as he incidentally clashed with Ranbir Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor who were making their debut with Saawariya.
Ranbir-Sonam’s debut film was blown away by a tornado called Om Shanti Om at the box office. Shah Rukh Khan, backed by the entire film industry, made Bhansali lick dust at the box office. After that defeat, Bhansali’s charisma as a filmmaker never remained the same.
Here is the clip of the song where Salman Khan makes an entry (after Rekha) in the song Deewangi Deewangi. You may scroll to 6.40 minutes if you just want to see him.
So, it is clear that Salman and Shah Rukh had tremendous respect for each other and they went that extra mile to ensure that they were available for each other.
So, how did such a great friendship turn sour and why did the two stars go for each other’s jugular that night?
Well, that will be the subject of our next post.
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