Shah Rukh Khan versus Salman: Their first public fight
So you think that on 16th July, 2008, Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan had their first public fight when they met at Katrina Kaif's birthday party?
This was not the first time they spat in public. They first fought in July 2002 and that fight was the most violent of them all. The way they fought in 2002 would put the Katrina Kaif birthday party incident to shame. Before this incident came to the fore, the whole film industry knew that Salman considered Shah Rukh as his brother and as I had said in the first post of this series, they used to gratify each other by doing cameos.
Just to drive this point home again, here's a video clip from Zee Cine Awards in 1998 where you will see Salman and Shah Rukh sitting in the front row together. After Shah Rukh was declared Best Actor, Salman came on stage to celebrate it even though he didn't get an award that evening. This goes on to show how large-hearted he is.
As I had mentioned in my previous post, Salman Khan had started landing up where his girlfriend Aishwarya Rai would be shooting. There were reports that Salman Khan had first landed up in Mehboob Studios in Bandra while Aishwarya was shooting for an advertisement and disrupted it. But it was just a gossip in a magazine and as usual, was denied.
The biggest incident of them all was yet to come. The magnitude of the incident was such that Salman was tagged as Bollywood's Bad Boy after this incident.
Before I go into that incident, here's proof about the great chemistry that Ash and Shah Rukh had developed. They were not only great friends but were in great demand as well. In my last blog post, I had posted the video of an item song called Ishq Kameena (from the film Shakti). This song (though shot much earlier) was released two months after Devdas (July 2002). This was the time when the popularity of Shah Rukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai was at its peak.
Here's the behind-the-scenes video of the song . We will come to the big fight after this clip.
Salman Khan's darkest days
Shah Rukh had put up his set for Chalte Chalte at Naraingaon, near Pune and they were shooting a few romantic scenes and a song. The relationship between Salman and Ash had turned volatile by then and Salman used to continuously call on Aishwarya and Shah Rukh's mobiles. Most of those calls went unanswered. One could sense that Salman was simmering on the inside because he couldn't digest the fact that he had been unceremoniously dumped by Ash.
For a couple of days, the calls stopped, but it was just a calm before the storm. A few production staff, connected with that shoot schedule, told me that Shah Rukh could sense it and had confided in Aishwarya about the possibility of Salman landing up on the sets any day. He requested Aishwarya to ensure that the shoot gets over without a hassle because a lot of money had gone into that schedule.
Shah Rukh was caught in a strange situation. On one hand, there was his production where he had to manage a big profit and gain the confidence of the distributors (a critical thing for any production house). On the hand, there was his friendship with Salman which was going for a toss.
But his worst fears came true. One fine morning a furious Salman Khan landed up on the sets of Chalte Chalte. What followed was nothing less than Bollywood high-tension drama.
'Just come out at once'
Salman Khan was driving an SUV and drove straight into the sets of Chalte Chalte. He then went straight up to the spot where Aishwarya was and confronted her. The shooting came to a standstill. Salman then asked Aishwarya to leave the sets immediately and come out with him.
Shah Rukh apparently intervened and it led to their first major fight in front of the whole shooting unit. When Shah Rukh declined to let Aishwarya go, Salman said that there's nothing in this world that can stop him from taking her away. Aishwarya was caught between the crossfire and didn't know what to do.
Apparently, Salman then drove his car into the sets, causing damage to the sets in the process. He then opened the front door of the car and ordered Aishwarya to sit inside.
It was too much for Shah Rukh to take and he warned Aishwarya that if she left the sets that day, it will be the last time she would be seen on the sets of his film. Caught between the two, Ash probably thought that she would try to pacify Salman first and then return on the sets the next day. Shooting getting cancelled for a day was never a big thing in Bollywood then. She sat in the car and Salman drove out of the sets. He also banged Aishwarya's car on his way out.
The shooting for that day was cancelled. A furious Shah Rukh asked his director Aziz Mirza to call Aishwarya and tell her that she is not a part of the film anymore. To Ash's horror, Ash then received another call from a colleague informing her that she had replaced by her good friend, Rani Mukerji.
The darkest day in the life of Salman Khan
This incident of Salman barging into the sets of Chalte Chalte and disrupting the shoot was the beginning of his darkest days. Had this incident not happened, Salman's life would have been dramatically different from what it is right now.
Months after the incident, Aishwarya finally spoke out against Salman Khan. In an interview to The Times of India, she publicly lashed out against her ex and said that he is harassing and abusing her. She also said that Salman would hit her and injure himself when she wouldn't take his calls. The article triggered a shock-wave in Bollywood and finally which was spoken in hushed tones was out there for the public.
This public humiliation was too much for Salman to bear and it triggered a shocking chain of events.
Aishwarya’s interview came out on September 27, 2002. Call it coincidence or events spiraling out of control, but the very next day, late on September 28 night, a drunk Salman Khan allegedly insisted on driving his land-cruiser (registration number MH 01 DA 32) back home after a drinking binge at a pub in Bandra, Mumbai.
He was so drunk that night that he lost control of his SUV and crushed three people under his wheels. All the three belonged to a nearby bakery and were sleeping on the pavement when Salman's SUV lost control and crashed into them.
An eye-witness at the accident spot (according to reports) described the actor to be in a state of shock on seeing a body under the wheels of his car till his brothers took him away from there.
That was the dead body of Noor Ullah Khan (38) who was declared 'brought dead' at the Bhabha hospital. Two others were gravely injured.
Though police swung into action the next day but charged Salman under bailable sections like rash and negligent driving. Soon, a huge public outcry followed accusing the police of letting him off lightly and not charging him with homicide.
The ghost of that incident is chasing Salman Khan even today. Two years later after the incident, the metropolitan magistrate, after examining 17 witnesses, brought forth the more serious charge of culpable homicide against him and transferred it to a sessions court for re-trial. Salman appealed against the order and argued that he should not be tried under such a grave charge.
The court will decide whether it is culpable homicide or not, a few days from today, on June 24.
In the next part of the series we will talk about how Salman's battled the odds following the incident and how his relationship with Shah Rukh started showing signs of improvement before hitting rock bottom again.
Links to the earlier articles of this series. Just click on the topic to read the blog post.
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