Actor-filmmaker Mahesh Manjrekar believes everyone makes mistakes, but when his superstar friend Salman Khan is at fault, it is “blown out of proportion”. On Thursday, the Jodhpur court convicted Salman for killing two blackbucks in October 1998 when he was shooting for the film “Hum Saath Saath Hai”, and sentenced him to five years in jail. The trial court acquitted his co-stars, Saif Ali Khan, Tabu, Neelam and Sonali Bendre, giving them the “benefit of doubt”.
“Salman is one guy who is ready to take the rap. He is ready to take the rap, the blame (on himself). He is human at the end of the day. Who doesn’t make a mistake? I definitely make a mistake. But when he makes a mistake, it is blown out of proportion,” Manjrekar told PTI. Manjrekar and Salman have worked together in films such as “Wanted”, “Dabangg”, “Ready” and “Jai Ho” among others. “Salman is more than a friend to me. I don’t know what transpired (in the case), the courts are there to decide. But today if you ask me what is your wish, I would say he should be released tomorrow. He doesn’t deserve to be in jail. From two days my wife is asking me what is going to happen, and I am like, he will be out soon,” he added.
The “Vaastav” director believes celebrity status of the “Sultan” actor made things difficult for him. “Maybe a thousand people who have hunted an animal have got away. Hunting is legal in places like (South) Africa and other countries. There are (rules) like you can’t kill a female animal, can’t kill young leopard or lion, so they decide what you are going to kill, they see the balance is maintained. “Wherever hunting is legal, animals thrive. Here (in India) guys don’t know what they are killing, they go and kill on the sly…. kill any animal randomly,” he said. Manjrekar has not met the Khan family yet as he feels it is not the right time to discuss the verdict with them. “It is not the time to talk about it. There are times when you should let the family bear the grief alone, it is not that if you ask them about it, it is going to reduce their pain,” he said.