The Indian Olympic Association makes Salman Khan the goodwill ambassador of Indian contingent to Rio & its raining reactions. I love sports & adore all Indian sports persons. Not the administrators, though. I would have simply passed over this new IOA action as another of its pointless acts had it not been for Yogeshwar Dutt tweeting his disagreement, followed by Gautam Gambhir speaking against it. And I found my views mirroring those of the sports administrators this time! Here's why:
We have known Salman as an avid cyclist & his dad has also enlightened us of his swimming skills. But we seem to have forgotten his exploits in one of the oldest sports. I allude to the case where a black buck with suicidal tendencies came up against Salman & his bollywood colleagues. While animal lovers & judiciary may not have looked at it kindly, the incident showed Salman's love of sport. And his modesty too, for he did not leave behind any photos like those Maharajas & our Brit rulers in the good old days.
Next, we come to the most famous (or infamous, if you prefer that) story about Salman - the hit and run case, as the media calls it. Here we have Salman (or his driver, but this is immaterial) driving his car (or SUV, but this is just a technicality) & he finds a person lying (or sleeping, but we are discussing Salman) on his path. Now, this guy could very well have slept in a park or a railway platform but what does he do? He is lying on a footpath, which is meant for pedestrians (the dalits of indian roads) to walk on. We often come upon such people who are sleeping, sitting or simply selling their wares on the footpath & we take the road on those occasions. But Salman doesn't play hockey for India, like those nice guys who mesmerise us with their skills all over the field but freeze in front of the goal. You may call Salman murderous, but I look at it as killer instinct.
And Salman is a proven winner, a champion in his trade. All his movies are super duper hits. And he does it without resorting to making irresponsible statements on politics or social issues. Which was the last Salman flop that you can recall (well, Prem Ratan Dhan Payo was an obligation)? Yes, Salman spells success.
So, here we have a sportsman with a killer instinct & a champion. Attributes you would use for someone like Virat Kohli. But Kohli's are a rarity in Indian sport. I am convinced that Salman matches the specs required for an ambassador of sports. While I respect Yogeshwar, Gauti & the venerable Milkha Singh, I don't agree with the charge that Salman is doing this to promote his film. Had he been commercial minded, he would have bought a team in a sporting league for himself (like Shahrukh, Abhishek or John Abraham). I feel we should not look for hidden agenda in Salman's actions. Remember, he is the guy who bares it all out in his movies. So let us put our differences aside & support Salman in his efforts to promote our Rio-bound athletes.
Bhai tum aage badho, hum tumhare sath hain!!