Salman and Sohail Khan. Pic/Nimesh Dave
Sohail Khan defends brother Salman’s anti-war comment that has oddly turned into national television, social media debate
Mohar Basu (MID-DAY; June 15, 2017)

The last time Salman Khan spoke his mind about banning Pakistani artistes in Bollywood following the September 2016 Uri attacks, he was slammed left, right and centre by 'deshbhakts', including a few Bollywood folk. The superstar has once again triggered a controversy by pitching for peace between India and Pakistan, calling war an insensible move. His statement has set off a debate on television news channels and social media, but his brother, Sohail Khan, says it’s merely a common man’s opinion.

“A lot of importance is given to actors’ comments on such issues. I am not sure if people from this industry have the knowledge to talk about politics with such depth. What Salman bhai — or any actor for that matter — says, is his opinion as a common man, a mere civilian. Ask people about war, and anyone would say it’s bad. That’s exactly what he said as well. War anywhere, in any part of the world, be it Syria, India, Iraq, China, cannot be a good thing,” says the actor-filmmaker, who plays Salman’s brother on reel, too, in upcoming film, Tubelight. Incidentally, the movie is set against the 1962 Sino-Indian war.

Echoing Salman, Sohail adds war is unnecessary since many lives are lost. “I wouldn’t understand the psyche of anyone who says war is a good thing. Dialogue, debate, discussions have proven to go a long way in mending relations, without our jawans going to the front and losing lives. Sadly, we don’t always know why these things happen and how they happen. Lack of knowledge from our side often downplays our intentions. We don’t have the authority to say things or the right to stop things. So, all we can do is lament.”

At this point, however, Salman’s comment on war and its impact will only spark off necessary discussion that Tubelight sought to stir. “There is a scene where I get recruited for the Army and Salman’s character feels bad because he feels Army people lose their lives. I am told they are right in their own way, but I don’t see how. We respect all soldiers who put their life on the line for us. We should do something to protect them too. Authorities should be questioned for sending them [to war]. Why should anyone have to lose their loved ones?”

Sohail feels a dialogue, not war, can help put an end to the hostility between the two countries. “We all think about it. But when you voice it, there is a contradictory viewpoint. But isn’t that the reason we make a film like Bajrangi Bhaijaan (2016) or Tubelight?” he questioned.