Shah Rukh Khan versus Salman Khan: How it all started

shah rukh and salman lastThe connect-the-dots exercise continues as I go behind the reasons that caused the big split between Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan at Katrina Kaif’s birthday party at Olives in Bandra (West) on the night of July 16, 2008.

In  the earlier post I had said how the two stars shared a great camaraderie and how  Salman was actually fond of Shah Rukh. Shah Rukh used to be a part of Salman’s inner circle at one point of time and used to address Salman as ‘Sir’. Salman, in turn, used to treat Shah Rukh like his own brother. They would often did guest appearances in each others’ films.

To read the first part of the series, click here

Just to rejig your memory, here are 10 pictures clicked minutes after the infamous fight between Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan on July 16, 2008 at Olives Restaurant in Bandra. The expressions on their faces will tell you the story of what happened inside a few minutes back. I have tried to arrange the pictures in a sequence.

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Salman gave several interviews after the brawl, but he refused to divulge the trigger of the fight. Check the interview where he admitted that Shah Rukh used to be a part of his Khan-daan once and that he used to address him as ‘Sir’. You will realise that Salman speaks from his heart when he’s in the mood. Also, he leaves a lot unspoken and sometimes just speaks in monosyllables. However, if you note the expressions on his face and eyes, you will realise that hidden in those monosyllables are the best answers. Here’s the much-anticipated video.

Aishwarya and Shah Rukh start ruling the box office

By 2000, Shah Rukh Khan was a superstar in his own right in Bollywood and he was on top of the game. It was during this time that he earned the moniker ‘King Khan’ because by then he had toppled the other two Khans from their mantles. Salman, on the other hand, was still delivering duds in between hits and the whole spotlight of the film industry had shifted to Shah Rukh by that time.

This is the same year when Shah Rukh Khan paired up with Aishwarya Rai in Josh. Though they played brother-sister in the film, it was a mathematical certainty that the two would be cast as leads in other films.

Five months later, Shah Rukh-Aishwarya starrer Mohabbatein released and set the box office on fire. Though the Aditya Chopra film was sold more on the fact that Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan were together in a film for the first time, Ash-SRK’s pair also garnered tremendous response among the audience. Suddenly, Shah Rukh-Ash pair was the talk of the town and Salman-Ash pair wasn’t. Every producer wanted to sign Shah Rukh Khan and Aishwarya in their film.

Salman always wanted to see himself rule the box office with Ash and he found his dream shattered by somebody who was five years his junior in the film industry. Make no mistake, they are exactly of the same age and incidentally Salman is younger to Shah Rukh by almost 55 days (both Salman and Shah Rukh are 1965 born). Salman made his debut in 1988 with Biwi Ho To Aisi while Shah  Rukh’s first film was Deewana  in 1992.

Even though Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (which released a year before Mohabbatein, in 1999) scored well at the box office, their volatile relationship ensured that Ash and Salman never signed a film together even though they came very close to it many times.

On the other hand, Shah Rukh also realised that the pair had tremendous potential and hence, decided to put his own money into his next film with Aishwarya as his heroine. During that time, Shah Rukh had a production house with Juhi Chawla and Aziz Mirza called Dreamz Unlimited (Red Chillies would come in the picture much later).

The first venture of Dreamz Unlimited was Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani and it tanked in a big way at the box office. Two more films from the same company (Asoka and One 2 ka 4) went down a similar path. Shah Rukh knew that if he wanted to keep his production company afloat, he needed a massive hit. Shah Rukh was on the lookout for a perfect script that would script his comeback.

Aziz Mirza then came up with an amazing script and Shah Rukh promptly roped in Aishwarya for the film. The film was a make-or-break situation for Shah Rukh purely for the sake of his production house.

By the time Shah Rukh started the film, the Ash-Shah Rukh pair had become even more popular with Devdas which released in 2002; it went on to become a cult classic. Both Ash and Shah Rukh realised their potential as a pair and wanted to cash in on it.

While Chalte Chalte was still in its planning stage, they did an item number for a film called Shakti. The song was called Ishq kameena. This was again an unmistakable signal that they have become good friends. Here is the video clip of the song.

So, the point I am making is, while Shah Rukh was steadily climbing up the ladder with Aishwarya in tow, Salman was seeing his dream crumble with every move of Shah Rukh. Considering how Salman is as a person, it was again a foregone conclusion that he will react one day. And he did.

Salman starts reacting to Shah Rukh’s closeness to Aishwarya

Shah Rukh roping in Aishwarya for his next production involved a lot of meetings at his house and offices. In Bollywood, most of the meetings were conducted informally then. Unfortunately, Shah Rukh and Ash became great friends, while Ash’s relationship with Salman turned even more volatile and had hit an all-time low. The proximity between Shah Rukh and Ash soon started to become a problem with Salman and it drove him to the brink.

People involved in the project say that instead of taking Salman’s side (which Salman had expected Shah Rukh to do), Shah Rukh remained neutral and continued hobnobbing with Aishwarya leading Salman to believe that they were having an affair. Shah Rukh didn’t have a choice because he had technically invested in Aishwarya and Salman was expecting the loyalty that he deserved from Shah Rukh.

Aishwarya, by that time, had already broken up with Salman in her mind and started avoiding him. She was steadily declining to do any film with him. She said no to several films starring Salman which included one offer from Sohail Khan as well. Even Sanjay Leela Bhansali with a great project like Bajirao Mastani couldn’t make her budge. This stubbornness of Aishwarya started to drive Salman batty.

The more Aishwarya started interacting with Shah Rukh, the more it angered Salman even though they had already broken up by then. That year saw numerous incidents where Salman and Aishwarya fought publicly and it was widely reported by the press. This was also the same time when Salman developed the habit of landing up on her sets.

One of the most widely reported stories was his fracas on the sets of Kuch Na Kaho where Aishwarya was shooting with Abhishek Bachchan. Abhishek Bachchan was then engaged to Karisma Kapoor and was, in no way dating Aishwarya. Salman reportedly landed on the sets and had a big argument with her in front of all her co-stars. According to many reports, when Abhishek tried to intervene, Salman also screamed at him.

This habit of landing up on Aishwarya’s sets would prove to be too costly for Salman as he hurtled down the darkest alleys of his life from here on. The crisis that emerged out of the second such incident would continue to haunt him for the rest of his life.

That would the subject of my next blog post and the third part of this series.

For the first part of this series, click here.

Since we spoke about Salman Khan so much, here is a bonus video for all you Salman Khan fans. This is Salman’s first appearance in an advertisement  (for Limca). Since this ad was first shown in the theatres, you may choose to call this Salman Khan’s big screen debut. The ad is so old that most of us were not even born when it was released.

The next part of the series will be posted on Monday. Enjoy your Sunday.

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9 replies »

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