Zero sympathy is greater than misplaced empathy.


I remember twitching uncontrollably in my pretty comfortable chair reading Salman Khan’s cringe worthy analogy of comparing his enduring film shoot to that of a heinous sexual assault on a woman. He was embarrassingly callous to associate his feeling of extreme physical exhaustion from shooting a wrestling scene to that of  a ‘raped woman’. Now there can be no speculation on whether it was really Salman who said it and is that what he really said. Why? Because Mr Salim Khan has already offered an apology on his son’s behalf as is the norm, and wants us to remember, yet again, that Being Human is to err. Or something like that.

Anyway, I don’t think Salman will be apologising, much to the relief of the All India Bhaitard’s Association (AIBA) members. Because Salman was merely being empathetic, which is when you try putting yourself in somebody else’s situation. Salman thought a sexual assault on a woman is just an impromptu wrestling between her and a hog. Pretty straightforward right? Ok, this is were the Bhaitards clap.

In fact he’s so empathetic, that he has a list of alternate analogies to remark his drilling shoot – “felt like an SUV ran over me”, “felt like a Black buck running away from it’s predators in the hot desert”, “felt like someone who received 41 calls in a night”, “felt like my song got deleted after I recorded”.

Amidst all the flak I read that he has attracted for this wisdom he shared, I also read some counter arguments in Twitter from some AIBA members suggesting that other people are not incriminated when they use the ‘raped’ remark to address plundering defeats, especially in sport. Now that is just an alternate usage of the term sans any generalisation, maybe a crass substitute to highlight the helplessness of sporting teams in a one sided contest.

If Salman would’ve been just a wee bit more thoughtful or maybe a little less stupid rather by not being specific in his description – “I raped myself shooting the fight scenes for Sultan”, maybe that, still in its poor taste, would not have been as maligning as he imagining himself as a woman coming through that ordeal.

It’s an undeniable fact that there are few words more powerful and haunting as the word ‘rape’. Yet it’s not just a problem of the fairer sex, it’s a problem for the society in its entirety. It is a collective responsibility lying with every individual. Not that we can expect this level of understanding or maturity from our self indulgent Hindi movie industry, which is adamant in recognising itself only as Bollywood. And definitely not from the ‘Sultan of Bollywood’ himself, as will be coined.

His distasteful attempt at empathy was only for the lack of sympathy and his inability to differentiate between them. He proves this by standing by what he blurted and making his father eat the sorry pill instead. Which makes it an error resulting out of complete stupidity, right? Not exactly. As this brilliant level of stupidity gives him reason enough to keep his next release away from any humdrum. The more there’s talk about boycotting his movie, the more excitement it generates. Bhaijaan has rolled the dice and the bhaitards are all dolled up to scoop it all.

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