‘The Khan’ factor…

First published on Times of India on 27th April 2011 – http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tiger-trail/entry/the-khan-factor

Salman Khan recently declared, “I am not interested in being a superhero. I don’t want to wear my underwear on the outside nor do I want to be bitten by a spider. I prefer being SAL-MAN”. Salman is also supremely confident that he makes a better hero than anybody else as well. It would be interesting to hear Shah Rukh’s or Aamir’s reaction to this statement of utmost impudence. I am not in any way implying that SRK or Aamir are better Actors than Salman but a statement from one Khan always draws interesting reactions from the other Khans.

The battle of ‘The Khans’ has always been an interesting one. A given fact that the terminology ‘The Khans ‘ in Bollywood refers to the trinity of Salman, Aamir and Shah Rukh and if you have no idea who comprises ‘ The Khans’, you would get a big D minus in the ‘Know your Bollywood Stars ‘ test and be labelled a dingbat. The other ‘Khans’ in comparison to this trio are a miniscule blip on the Bollywood radar of fame and if you admit you don’t know the lesser popular Khans, you would not sound as much of an imbecile. Each of the Khans from the trinity claim to be bigger than the other in not so subtle ways. In fact their beating of their own chest varies from boorish to downright ludicrous, we know it, they know it, but we are obsessed with this trio and we eagerly lap up all their amusing antics on and off screen.

We have grown up with them, by hearted some unforgettable songs from QSQT, Baazigar and Maine Pyaar Kiya (amongst an endless list of chartbusting hits) and while we have aged, graduated from universities, procured jobs, settled with families and moved on with life, ‘The Khans’ still look and behave like pimple faced teenagers. One of them in fact even convincingly and remarkably manages to play a student at his age, his puppy face can even sell ice to the Eskimos! The other despite the creases, wrinkles and generous nicotine stained teeth is still the darling lover boy now turned super hero. And one more is an eligible bachelor, struts with a swagger and changes his girlfriends to match the colour of his coolers. Love them or hate them, unfortunately you cannot live without them, they are the essence of Bollywood and their competition with one another is a daily dose of entertainment.

Each of the Khans sincerely believes he is a bigger, brighter and a better star than the other one. The three Khans were born in 1965, they more or less have started their careers around the same time, have an enviable fan following, have had a sizeable amount of box office success in the last two decades and have allowed them selves to liberally dip into controversies as we would have expected them to. They are superheros in their own right, they talk like one, walk like one and their collective egos can easily fill up every inch of the stratosphere. The coming together of the Khans is an inter-galactic event, there is never a dull moment when they are in the news and especially when they are pitted against one another.

But, how much longer will‘ The Khans ‘ continue to appeal to us ? The three are inching past their prime. The days are nigh when their name alone will not sell any more. Each new release of theirs requires a greater effort than the previous one, a more aggressive marketing strategy, a younger heroine, a bigger budget, and a chart busting item number to guarantee some level of success. One may argue that every movie needs the same formula to succeed, but there was a time when the Khan’s came with a guarantee. No longer is this the case.

If Aamir is a perfectionist, Salman is extremely stylish and Shah Rukh has an extraordinary sense of dedication. The three have their own unique appeal and each one squares off a section of the audience’s fancy. And there are some like me who do not prefer one Khan over the other. If I think Aamir makes a better Actor, at the same time I am quite enchanted with Salman’s star appeal and I remain in awe of Shah Rukh’s ability to push him self to the brink. Yet, I find Aamir’s marketing ability scheming, Salman’s shooting of the black bucks unpardonable and Shah Rukh Khan’s rants loud and pompous. None of the Khans are a favourite and yet I watch every movie of ‘The Khans’. That’s why I say, love them or hate them, but, it seems for now we cannot live without them. This is ‘The Khan’ factor but it’s slowly changing.


37 Responses to “‘The Khan’ factor…”

  1. Aamir Khan, the youngest among the three boys in this song…

  2. Reader – you are on a roll with these videos!.. thank you.

  3. Osama bin Laden killed near Islamabad!

    What effect will that have on the ME, on India?

    • The common man in most parts of India and ME heard of Osama Bin Laden for the first time in George Duh-duh Bush’s speech after the 9/11 incident.

      The man is dead. The causes of his actions are as old as war. They will live longer.

      The US needs an ally like India to end the causes of violence, not UK and Pakistan. India understands non-violence like no one in the rest of the world does.

    • Your middle paragraph gave me a cold shiver because its truth is so final.

      I wish Obama would have been more non-violent in his speech. I heard an unwelcome echo.

  4. Just heard Obama.. counter terrorism tips from Pakistan was useful he says and has thanked Zardari. Of course, we could have not expected otherwise.

  5. Renate,

    The causes of violenece are a long term battle and may never be resolved.

    In the short term, I think Pakistan has done a good job.

    While the lower ranks in the Pak army and ISI milked the Sheikh of all that he was worth, they kept him within their territory all the time. He could have escaped to Egypt, India, Azerbaijan, Yemen, Sudan or even London, albeit at the risk of abandoning his investments in Pakistan and Afghanistan namely cheap manpower, land and training facilities.

    There are learning in this episode that have to be noted. I have said this before, but its worth repeating.

    One cannot destroy a system while benefitting from it.

    Al Qaida’s campaign was held together by money and all that it can buy. It had to run out of fuel.

    Thousands of years ago, a small sect of people abandoned the money and the ruling Pharaoh and left their country. It was not a cash rich economy. It wasproductivity tied in with slave trade.

    Centuries ago, when the Romans occupied Israel, the jews owned the money and trades. It was not until Nero lost his balance that the Romans failed their own people. The wealth was simply too real and located in places far away from the capital.

    The Germans lost the first WWI because of the money that traders earned on both sides of the warfield. They eventually abandoned the entire system, and we know how. The money was devalued.

    Today, that practice has acquired global dimensions – from a modest beginning of commercializing a state to brutalizing cultures and governing entire countries – Money, and what it stands for, has never changed that quality.

    Any future activism of this sort must begin with an alternative premise that does not use the services of what money has developed. I believe, this is an area of complacency that the economic world cannot overcome.

    Poverty has to be re-defined. The one who does that will be the next Osama for the world of economics.

    • Renate Says:

      Ishwar Allah tere jahaan mein, nafrat kyon hain, jung hai kyon
      tera dil to itna bada hai, insaan ka dil tang hai kyon
      …. …. Ishwar( a synonym for Hindu gods) and Allah why is there hatred and war in your world.
      …. …. Your heart is so expansive, why are the hearts of humans so narrow?

      kadam kadam par sarhad kyon hai, saari zameen jo teri hai
      sooraj ke pehre dharti hai phir kyon itni andheri hai
      is duniya ke daaman par insaan ke lahoon ka rang hai kyon
      …. …. When all the land belongs to you, why are there boundaries drawn at every step
      …. …. Despite the sun guarding the earth why is there so much darkness on earth
      …. …. Why is there colour of blood (of humans) on the ‘daaman’ of the world?

      (Daaman is an interesting word. It means a ‘chunni/dupatta or any kind of cloth covering that a woman may have, especially in the Indian subcontinent. But daaman is what usually covers the ‘lap’ so when you are impoverished you spread your daaman to ask for alms and the kids find solace in a mother’s daaman. Earth is like a mother according to Hindu scriptures, country is called ‘matrubhumi’ or ‘motherland’ , therefore this analogy. And isn’t Javed Saab a genius, notice when he says the ‘sun is guarding the earth’ …sigh…)

      Goonj rahin hai itni cheekhein, pyaar ki baatein kaun sune
      toot rahe hain itne sapne in ke tukde kaun chune
      dil ke darwaazon par taalein, un taalon par hai zunk hai kyon
      Ishwar Allah…
      …. …. So many screams echo, who can possibly listen to any talks of love
      …. …. So many dreams are shattering, who can sift through them
      …. …. There are locks on the doors of heart, why is there rust on those locks?

  6. My job profile permits me to visit the family of a deceased person associated with the company. It’s a part of my general awareness.

    Last Friday, a close friend and an engineering manager, in the local Oil company, Nasser Al Kiyumi, expired in the afternoon.

    The arabs have an ancient traditional culture that has survived commerce and industry.

    The residential clusters in the city have a unique a pattern. There are about 30-40 houses in the locality belonging to the same family. All have the same family name. In this case, every one is an Al Kiyumi. There is a small mosque within the area that is called the family mosque.

    There are 3 days of special prayers in the mosque after a demise in any family. The male members in all the houses stay in the mosque attending to visitors who come for paying their respects.

    I have been a visitor on many occassions. This one was not unusual.

    There were about 15-20 men in the carpetted mosque. As soon as I entered the main entrance, all of them stood up along the wall for the introductions. I shook my hands with each one beginning from the one immediately on the right.

    Each person introduced his name and his relationship with the deceased. Father, brothers, sons, uncles, nephews, cousins and so on.

    At the end I was offered a small chair and some dry arabian dates with a strong concentrate of coffee thats called gawa.

    The most touching moment was when a young boy of about 7-9 walked up to me and shook my hands, saying, “Salaam Sir, My name is Suleiman. I go to School. Nasser was my father. Please have water.”

    He was polite, humble and spoke in a toneless voice.

    “You stay here, with me” I said.

    He stared around for some help. His elder brother nodded.

    The boy jumped on to my lap.

    “What are you studying in school?” I asked

    “Aa-rabi and English and Numbers” he said

    “Do you play in the school?”


    “What do you play?”


    “Do you play well?”


    “Who teaches you?”


    “Your father is no more”

    “I know. Allah has called him”

    “Do you like dates?” I said, offering him a slightly wet one.

    He nodded and took a bite.

    “Thank you Sir” he said, getting off and scampering away to the main hall.

    It was time for their prayer.

    I stood up and shook hands with the elder brother, promising him any help from me and my company.

    I drove back in a rather sombre mood.

    Polite and humble children don’t make sense to me. I like to see them trying the impossible – testing themselves and the world around them.

    Death defeats the whole damn purpose of childhood.

    • Aishwarya Says:

      Heartfelt condolences on the loss of your friend. May his soul rest in peace.

      Death defeats life.

      Children are resilient. Hopefully, in due course and with adequate support, he will enjoy his childhood to the full…

      God bless.


      • Reader Says:

        Thank you.

        The purpose of putting this one here was to show that the essential nature of the phenomenon is the same.

        The object or subject is not important. Neither is the ethics of rationalizing.

        The fact that a person is capable of the feeling is all that it takes for me to take a metaphysical decision.

        A rational virtue does not live on instincts.

        In other words, an argument that hatred is a justifiable feeling is not rational. It does not deny the capacity to practice hatred.

        Ashwini once said something about one of her relatives, “I hate her when she.. (something something)”

        And I said, “Really? So, you are capable of hating people”

        “Ofcourse, I am” She said, “I choose whom to hate and whom to love”

        I was rather perplexed. I said, “I never thought you could hate anyone.”

        She changed the subject.

        A few days later she brought up the subject herself. She said she was sorry, she didn’t mean hatred as a desire to make anyone suffer.

        I accepted that and we moved on.

      • Aishwarya Says:

        I like Ashwini’s response. She says, “I hate her when…”. What I understand is she does not ‘hate’ the person, only how the person behaves in certain situations…

        This may not be ideal for sharing on a blog but let me say it anyway. When my paternal grandmother lived with us, I remember she was finicky about her food. Once the curry prepared was too spicy and in a fit of anger, she threw chilly powder on my mom’s face. I must have been 3 or 4 at the time. I do not grudge my grandma her choosy food habits but I do hate what she did to my mother.

        I dislike the attitude of the US. I do not like bullies. Which does not mean I am questioning their legal procedures or the technicalities of capturing a criminal. What I am uneasy with is the instinctive response – the jubilation of the crowds over the death.

        The question is: If a rational virtue does not live on instincts, how do we rationalize our instincts?

      • Aishwarya,

        Rationality and rationalization (rationalizing) are opposites in content and process.


        If, in the course of philosophical detection, you find yourself, at times, stopped by the indignantly bewildered question: “How could anyone arrive at such nonsense?”—you will begin to understand it when you discover that evil philosophies are systems of rationalization.


        AR, Philosophical Detection

        On the other hand, Rationality is the quality of a virtue that defies illogical perceptions. An instinct is an automatic response that defies reason, and hence irrational.

      • Aishwarya Says:


        Then this may not be the right moment for me to say, I trust my instincts… 🙂

        Once, a beggar was hit. The person later hoped the beggar would realize he hit him because he loves him and hates the act of begging.

        There is a metaphysical decision and an instinct here.

        When we reject an act, I hope we do not reject the person.

      • Reader Says:


        That’s right. Compassion is not an expression, it is a state of the mind.

        I was once asked what kind of a wife I would have ideally preferred.

        I said, “One who doesn’t know how to hate. One who is a role model of compassion.”

      • Aishwarya Says:


        I had a quip to that, but I won’t say it here. It may bring on the man-woman combat. 🙂

        I understand and agree… Compassion is a state of mind.

      • Reader Says:

        There is no man-woman conflict in my answer.

        I can only be asked about my preference of qualities in a wife.

        My physical appearance, behavior and body language does not permit anyone to ask my preference of qualities in a man. Far from it, I don’t even look like a John-Elton sympathizer.

        I am not a casanova, but alpha enough not to infect someone with ionizing radiation.


      • Aishwarya Says:


        Absorbing information.

        I never thought otherwise, you know.

        Compassion can be looked for only in a woman…


    • Condolences to the family. A touching narration. Thanks for sharing this. Death indeed defeats the whole purpose of childhood.

  7. Aishwarya Says:

    Who housed Osama? Pakistan.

    Who provides aid to Pakistan? US.

    So…who financed Osama’s palace in Pak? Err…the US?

    When the govt. orders a killing, it is legal and justified. When a group turns against the law, it is terrorism. Killing a terrorist is justice and the end of terrorism? Violence for peace in the world?

    Between a full coverage of Saddam’s execution to the complete secrecy over Osama’s end, the ‘intelligence’ methods are strange. If they are so sure it is Osama and not the hen keeper, how come no pics?
    Wonder what the repercussions of this will be… Strange are the ways of the world. Or may be it’s just me…

    Hope your next post is on Tom & Jerry. I don’t seem to be handling the frenzy over Osama’s death very well.


  8. And “lucky” it didn’t coincide with the royal wedding. Or maybe not lucky but pre-planned by Obama or the media.

    Osama’s death is just symbolic and is going to help Obama in the elections. The Islamic jihad is too decentralised to be affected by Osama’s death although they might have some sort of a financial setback.

    With all the radiation in the sea, dumping Osama in it was a bad idea. 10 years down the line we will have a sea monster called O’Sea’Ma coming and terrorizing the whole world.

  9. And what IF it were not Osama? What IF a deal was done with the real Mccoy? What If?

    • Funny name too Abottabad. named after some english guy abott and added the suffix – abad.

      we dont have such names in india…do we ?

  10. Prasanna Gopal Panda(Abu-Dhabi, UAE) Says:

    I must sit and read every content flashed on your blog and it has got reasons too! I should admire your bold stpes, your exploration on things happening arround, utilizing the power of knowledge and enlighting others with that, still many more…Good work dear. Wishing a grand success to you for the time to come in your life…
    Happy day wishes…

  11. Prasanna Gopal Panda(Abu-Dhabi, UAE) Says:

    I must sit and read every content flashed on your blog and it has got reasons too! I should admire your bold stpes, your exploration on things happening arround, utilizing the power of knowledge and enlighting others with that, still many more…Good work dear. Wishing a grand success to you for the time to come in your life…
    Happy day wishes….

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