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Kill Bills on the road

 | July 6, 2012

Now Salman Khan’s younger brother, Sohail, is implicated in driving over a 70-year-old woman sleeping on a Mumbai sidewalk.

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India’s rich and famous seem to be a notorious lot. At least, some of them are.

They are murderously brutal, arrogant and throw money to buy whatever they fancy or need. It can also be freedom to stay outside prison.

Some years ago, we saw Manu Sharma, the son of a prominent Haryana politician, walk into an unlicensed bar in New Delhi and shoot dead a young model, Jessica Lal, when she declined to serve him a drink.

So bloated was his male ego that he could not take a “no” from a woman. So conceited was he by the power of his wealth and political status that he grew livid when a “mere bar hostess” refused him even when he offered a huge sum of money for a glass of liquor.

What is more, there were 300 people at the bar that night, in fact the capital’s who’s who. But nobody dared to walk up to the police and say Sharma was indeed guilty.

He remained free for many years, till intense media and public pressure forced the courts to reopen the case and finally convict Sharma.

Even after this, there were two occasions when Sharma was given short paroles because his grandmother had died and his mother was ill. Both reasons were found untrue, and the young man was caught using his freedom to party in night clubs and get into brawls!

In fact, one of the paroles was sanctioned by the Delhi chief minister.

Such is the power of money that Sanjeev Nanda – grandson of Admiral SM Nanda, illustrious Chief of Naval Staff – ran his swanky BMW on several people on a cold Delhi night, and drove off with little concern for the lives that were ebbing away. All of them died, and it took years before Sanjeev was finally charged and jailed.

Also, some years ago, Bollywood actor Salman Khan reportedly ran his car over sleeping pavement dwellers in Mumbai, killing them. Khan wriggled out of the mess by saying that his driver was at the wheel, and the poor guy had to go to prison.

Probably, in a typical movie style, the master would have promised his servant big money, and also to take care of his impoverished family.

Now, the latest entrant to this Kill Bill drama is Salman’s younger brother, Sohail Khan, whose car merrily drove over a 70-year-old woman sleeping on a Mumbai sidewalk. The frail human being stood no chance against the rampaging onslaught of mighty wheels.

The Khans – one writer called them a family with “a murderous automotive gene” – are back to saying that it was a driver who was guilty. The guy then ran away with the car, leaving the poor woman gasping. It was a passer-by who took her to hospital, where she died.

After this, the Khan brothers and their father went to the media with their statements. Sohail said he was innocent, was never in the car and his driver must be punished. But he added a rider: People sleeping on pavements must be careful!

Maybe, those poor men and women on footpaths should have guards or, better still, hounds to keep killer cars away!

As one commentator quipped, a better idea would be for the Khans to open night shelters where the poor could dream in peace and hope to wake up in one piece.

Gautaman Bhaskaran is a Chennai-India based author, columnist and film critic, and can be contacted at [email protected] He is an FMT columnist.


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