Was the SRK, Salman Khan fight media-manufactured?

‘Bigg Boss 9’

The inexplicably popular reality show Bigg Boss got an unexpected dose of ‘realism’ this weekend when Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan – erstwhile buddies turned baddies turned buddies again – returned to being pals , right there in full public view.

Awwwww, to that.

But this is not the first time that Khans have attempted to do a Jai and Veeru act from Sholay in public view. What made this bharat milap of the Khans so different from the other similar attempts to show their mutual camaraderie was the aggression with which the blame for the past rifts between them was shifted from two responsible adults to the media.

Salman joked about how television channels minted money by propagating tales about his animosity with Shah Rukh. Yes, how exploitative is that, considering the two have vented a lot of their mutual spleen on camera.

The two Khans then showed us, with visual graphics (there was a cubicle with ‘Media’ written on it and another with ‘Reality’ written on it, suggesting that the media exists in a world removed from reality) how the media perceived their interaction and what their friendship actually amounted to.

According to the the two Khans’ lively camaraderie on Bigg Boss, the media made up the stories of their mutual hostility. This premise, even on a humourous level (who takes Bigg Boss seriously?) is preposterous.

The two have been at loggerheads for years. And it involves a certain female superstar, now happily married into an illustrious family. Way back in 2003, one of the two Khan superstars spent an entire evening telling this writer about the sins of the other. In July 2008, their simmering rivalry bubbled over at Katrina Kaif’s birthday party where the two exchanged insults in front of at least a 100 guests from the film industry.

Was that Clash Of The Khans in 2008 also media-manufactured?

This weekend on Bigg Boss, Salman and Shah Rukh not only happily deflected the blame for their highly-publicised animosity to the media but also took potshots at the third Khan superstar. “While we were fighting Aamir Khan raced ahead of us,” said Salman to his newly-rediscovered dost.

So were you two fighting or was the media imagining the Star War? Now that the force has awakened on camera, may we expect Shah Rukh and Salman to remain chummy from now on? Or are they going to return to their cold war and then say their renewed friendship was only imagined by the media?

This sort of subjective amnesia isn’t new to the film industry. Years ago Arshad Warsi had called to share his domestic woes with me. I naturally considered his words confidential until he rang back again a few hours later to say, ‘If you are writing about this please don’t quote me.’ When the story appeared as per his request he accused me of destroying his family life.

Even the greats don’t shy away from blaming the messenger for bad news. Gulzar Saab had once spoken about his differences with Kamal Haasan during the making of Chachi 420.When it looked bad in print the mighty Gulzar Saab laughed it off explaining to Kamal Haasan, ‘You know how journalists are.’

Yes, we all know how the media is. And how it is manipulated by interested parties to say exactly what is desired. Tomorrow Salman and Shah Rukh may turn around and accuse the media of ruining their friendship with Aamir.

But that’s another story.

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Was the SRK, Salman Khan fight media-manufactured?

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