honestly, I don’t know, but it’s unfortunate that there is a problem.. And if things get okay it will be nice.”
Ever since the duo returned from the ‘Rockstar’ world tour in 2006, the tension between them became conspicuous. If there was any room for doubt, Salman’s snubs and nasty comments about model-turned-actor John, wiped them clean. When asked in an interview, how he feels about John, Salman said, “I must say he makes politically correct statements!” And when he was asked to guess who John considered his fitness icon, Salman said with a straight face, “Who? Anil Kapoor?”
He made his dislike for John even more evident, when he recently blamed the second half of Baabul as responsible for the film’s bad performance at the box-office. Incidentally, Salman is present only in the first half of the film and the second half revolves around John. And when asked if he had stopped talking to John, he retorted, “But when did we start talking?”
Neither John nor Salman have spoken openly about the reasons behind their silent war but members of the ‘Rockstar’ team say, “There was definitely a problem between the two on this show and a lot of it was in Salman’s head. You see, Salman had appointed himself the unofficial rock star of the concerts. But John kept getting as much frenzied applaud on stage as Salman did, if not more. This hurt Salman’s ego. Also the fact that John kept to his own space, hung around with his best friend whom he had taken along on the tour, instead of joining Salman’s coterie, really hurt Salman. He’s basically like a child who wants and needs constant attention.”
Sources also say that the trouble began when Salman promoted himself as the biggest attraction followed by Mallika Sherawat which proved a sure blow to John’s ego.
Is it about money?
Topping it all, the main reason for this animosity was credited to the choreographers’ fees. Incidentally, choreographer Ganesh Hegde walked out of the show at the last minute so choreographers Bosco-Caesar had to be roped in at a low rate. But later, when the choreographers complained to Salman about their low fees, he asked all the stars on the show to contribute money for their fees to which John refused and that got Sallu fuming.
But when John was asked whether the reason for their fight was the choreographers’ fees, he replied, “I am not a stingy person. It’s unfair to single me out and say that I didn’t want them to be paid. In fact, when such stories started Salman and I were sitting with the rest of the show members and calculating the money to be given to the dancers. To single me out and say that I had a fallout with Salman is unfair!” He even claims not to be bothered by the fact that Salman promoted Mallika on the show. “I am not an insecure person. I don’t need to be (smiles). I got an amazingly encouraging response from the audiences there,” clarifies the actor.
But Salman is apparently not one to forgive and forget in a hurry, although he has a big and generous heart. In fact, after their tour, Salman even refused to work with John in Ravi Chopra’s Baabul and was even hassling with the dates for Salaam-E-Ishq, which starred both John as well as Salman. And perhaps that gave director Nikhil Advani, the cue to avoid any common scenes between the two actors in his film Salaam-E-Ishq.
Messing with Sallu
Messing with Salman is not fun and John is learning this the hard way. Salman seems to be having second thoughts about doing Rituparno Ghosh’s remake of the 1962 classic Sahib Biwi Aur Ghulam for which Ghosh has finalised Salman, John and Priyanka Chopra.
Reports have it that Salman is reluctant to work with John and wants him to be replaced by Shiney Ahuja. The producer of the film, Pritish Nandy is in no comments mode and when Shiney was asked about these developments, he says, “Right now, I am not doing any film with Ritu. He has not offered me any role in any of his films.”
One step further
Taking the rivalry a step further, Salman has reportedly instructed girlfriend Katrina Kaif not to work opposite John in any film. Kaif, caught between her beau and her career, had to apparently turn down two films opposite John. Katrina had to let go of the UTV produced film Rockstar and the T.Series produced film Chandramukhi.
Not only this, Salman even included John’s girlfriend Bipasha Basu in the enmity. Salman snubbed old friend Bipasha when she greeted him at the GIFA awards in Malaysia. Then even at the Salaam-E-Ishq function where all the actors walked the ramp, Bipasha once again tried to greet Salman, but once more he ignored her and simply looked away when she said hello. According to sources “Bipasha is irritated with Salman’s childish attitude and has decided not to give a damn either.”
But commendable is the fact that John is still trying to make things fall in place. Perhaps because the last thing he prefers is to get into controversies. He chose not to retaliate and gave statements like, “Salman and I became fond of each other during the trip. He was very helpful and guided me a lot throughout the tour. There was so much to learn by watching Salman. He’s been on tours before and knows a lot more.”
Even at GIFA, which included a soccer match between celebrities and Malaysian ministers, John avoided playing the match because Salman was part of the team. According to a source from the organizers’ team, “John did not want to play with Salman. He said it would be uncomfortable and the best way to avoid any unpleasantness was to not take part in the game.”
On ‘Koffee with Karan’, John tried to clear his stand, “I think I used to say hello... but he is kind of upset with me... He is a senior...so I don’t get into the way of things... it’s important that I understand that I have come here to work. I have not come here to make enemies. I don’t want to get into the middle of any controversies.”
It was interesting to see the modest John biting his tongue, when one of his fans said that he is the only actor who makes them forget the ultimate macho Salman Khan. But he tried his best to appease Salman by grading Khan’s physique better than his, in the rapid fire round later. And when Karan asked him which actor comes to his mind when he hears the tagline ‘Just Do It!’ John mischievously replied “Salman Khan”. Perhaps hinting at a patch up. We hope Salman is listening.
When we choose to look away for good, we are as complicit as those at the helm of this atrocity
Over 100 people in Lebanon have been reported killed during the hostilities started on October 7