New Delhi (AFP) – Accused of killing a homeless man, hunting endangered wildlife and assaulting a former Miss World, Bollywood superstar Salman Khan’s off-screen life is almost as dramatic as the epics he stars in.
As the Hindi cinema icon is jailed for five years for killing rare antelopes, here are some of the other major controversies that have enshrined Khan as Bollywood’s bad boy.
– Deadly hit-and-run –
Khan was in a vehicle in Mumbai, the home of Bollywood cinema, in 2002 when it mounted the curb and killed a homeless man sleeping on the pavement.
He was found guilty of culpable homicide and sentenced to five years in prison, but the verdict was overturned in a higher court in 2015. His acquittal is being challenged in the Supreme Court.
– Miss World scandal –
Khan, who has never married, was accused of assaulting former Miss World Aishwarya Rai during a closely-watched relationship which ended more than a decade ago.
The superstar denied ever hitting the Bollywood actress and dismissed rumours about their high-profile liaison, including that he threatened to jump off the roof of her apartment during a heated argument.
– Bomber gaffe –
In 2015, Khan sparked outrage when he urged India’s top court to spare the life of a bomb plotter convicted over a series of blasts that killed hundreds in Mumbai.
Protesters rallied outside his home after Khan declared the man innocent, but the Bollywood action hero later retracted his remarks under a hailstorm of criticism.
– “Reprehensible” comments –
A year later Khan was back in hot water over another insensitive quip, this time likening his intense training schedule for a film to feeling “like a raped woman”.
India’s National Commission for Women demanded Khan apologise for the “reprehensible” remarks. Khan mused that he should talk less to stay out of trouble. His father, Bollywood screenwriter Salim Khan, made an apology of sorts on his son’s behalf.
– Bodyguard assault –
Indian police in 2016 charged Salman Khan’s bodyguard for illegal possession of a firearm and assaulting a waiter at a pub in Mumbai.
The bodyguard, Gurmeet Singh Jolly has worked with Khan for decades and is known to be a close confidante of the controversial superstar.
– Raising eyebrows –
In 2013, Khan — who today remains unmarried at 52 — straight-faced declared on national television that he was a virgin and saving himself for his future bride.
The interviewer, stunned by the incredulity of this confession, asked about the coterie of beautiful women with whom Khan was often seen fraternising. The buff bachelor replied they were all just friends.