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At the outset, let me begin by saying that I have never been a fan of any of your movies. I have found your acting extremely nonchalant. I mean, it’s like no big deal for you. I wondered how you pulled it off. To top it, you have been in the industry since 1989, over 23 years.
No mean feat.
To be honest, I always thought of your brother Arbaaz as a better actor. In fact, I still do. Brother had a terrific debut with DARAAR. Absolutely awesome and I wondered why his career never took off. I can almost hear him echo cricketer Vinod Kambli’s quote, ”Bhai took the elevator, while I had to take the stairs!”
Eight years ago, when I met Brother at his Vida Apartments and posed this question to him about your status, he told me, ”There has to be something about Salman for him to be around for so long. He is a star. No question about that.” He also pointed out something very pertinent… about your dedication.
I was still not convinced.
Then came WANTED and I began to see what I could not see earlier. That you are actually having fun. I mean, you are not trying too hard to be what you do not want to be. It is like, take it or leave it. This is what I really am.
And this is exactly the quality that has endeared you to your legion of fans cutting right across the country and I dare say in other countries where Bollywood reigns as well.
What is also exemplary is your giving attitude. I’m sure no one likes to ‘tom tom’ the fact that they are into charity. But now, Being Human is so phenomenally huge that you cannot ignore it and go the route you have chosen. I also know that this is not an ego trip but a genuine effort to help those in need.
I have been privy to the fact that your dad looks after around 500 adivasis in Panvel. I also know that your dad meticulously screens every request letter, be it for an operation or for simple medication. The genuineness of the request is of prime importance. You do not like to be conned. That itself is a huge effort!
Today, Being Human is not just a store or a T-Shirt; it is much more. It is actually helping us understand that we all can be humans and reach out to the less fortunate in our own little way. We do not have to be crorepatis to do that.
More importantly, you have cut across class barriers.
You will see a street kid flaunting a Being Human T-Shirt, a middle-class youth as well as a corporate executive. And all could be at the same street at the same time and still not flinch! There is no shame in flaunting this tag. And this is a huge shift in thinking.
You are now not only helping out on your own steam but also throwing the platform wide open for others wanting to help out with your Foundation.
I have one request. Just like your T-shirts are a huge rage; can you have Mandhana design a multi-purpose carry bag that can be used for all shopping purposes? This way, I am sure, most will discard plastic. Who knows, manufacturing of plastic bags may soon be a thing of the past. Also, if you can have Being Human ambulances at nominal costs to the common man…
This is just the beginning; I know that a few years down the line, A Being Human Hospital will dot the Mumbai horizon.
The recent news in a business paper about Rupert Murdoch and his Indian entertainment empire inking an Rs 450-500 Crore five-year satellite-television deal with you comes as no surprise to me. This is a first in the annals of Bollywood. You have surpassed even your own expectations. I mean, you long ago crossed the Rs 10-lakh mark you set out to earn.
The seed for this was sown by your parents a long time ago!
The Gospel in Luke, chapter 6, verse 38 says is all: ”Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
God will never let you out give Him!
I’m now a Being Human fan. Maybe someday, when you do give a dhamekedar performance, I might add your name after Mr Amitabh Bachchan and Arbaaz Khan to my list of favourite actors!
(This column tries to be as honest as honest can be… )
Also check out: An open Letter to Leander Paes by Martin D’Souza