Earlier when an actor’s film was about to be released they’d go to pay obeisance to the powers that be at Siddhi Vinayak temple and pray that divine intervention would ensure that their film became a blockbuster. They’d then go to Ajmer Sharif and do the same. Because all gods must be prayed to. Now, they go to perform at the altar of Bigg Boss and then stop by at Comedy Nights With Kapil with the same prayer on their lips. And frankly speaking, Salman Khan and Kapil Sharma may have the ear of the people more than the high priests at Siddhi Vinayak and Ajmer Sharif do.

Which is why, the impossible happened on Sunday. Hell froze over and Shah Rukh Khan appeared in the house that Bigg Boss built. If you’re late to the party, Salman and Shah Rukh are now fast friends. Christmas has really come early for Salman—not only has he been declared a free and non-murderous man, he also has his BFF back in his life.

Was it worth the wait? I have to sorrowfully—because I would have liked to rip the episode apart—say that it was quite an entertaining show. The promos of the episode had taken enough digs at how the two had fallen apart and were now going to come together, much like Karan Arjun did in the film of the same name. Another showed them as Jai and Veeru from Sholay.

The episode was thankfully very non-filmy. But it was like Salman and SRK’s own personal party. SRK and Salman definitely get along and there’s an easy camaraderie which is visible. Going by the fact that neither can act, I’m guessing the emotion and unadulterated mirth on display was genuine. I’m getting old because it was quite heartwarming to see how well the two get along and hear their anecdotes of how Mamta Kulkarni ticked them off because she felt they were ruining her shot, or how they all used to sleep in the same room sometimes—SRK and Salman, not Mamta.

They pulled each other’s legs. They took a trivia quiz about each other’s sleeping habits, behaviour, eating habits. They made fun of how by becoming friends again they’d ruined so many “news" stories for the media. That while they weren’t speaking to each other, Aamir Khan had pipped them to the post and become a bigger star than them. Then Kajol joined them after a point and they played games which we used to play when we were 12 years old. But all in all, what came through was that the two—Salman and SRK—were having a blast. You wouldn’t have guessed that these are two soon-to-be 50-year-olds, going by their energy levels. It was obvious that these are two superstars who know that they’re at the top of their game. And that if they make a film together, it’s going to be the blockbuster of the century—mindless though it may be, going by what we’ve seen in Dilwale and Prem Ratan Dhan Payo.

It was though a lot like SRK and Salman were having a personal chat, which the camera crews had crashed in on. When Kajol came on stage and joined them, the nonsensical banter continued. What was nice to see—and again it must be the holiday spirit and my age—was that they all get along and they don’t look like the new breed of cookie-cutter actors who have identical bodies, hairstyles and are forever minding their Ps and Qs.

I did feel that Kajol and Shah Rukh genuinely looked petrified when they entered the Bigg Boss house and were semi-molested by the contestants who behaved the way beggars do when they see a potential benefactor at the traffic light. It was not a pretty sight. At all. They were hugged, kissed repeatedly, hugged again, shrieked at and around, kissed again. I could almost see them ageing and wondering how much more they’d need to do to make their film a success. They’re still locked in the house with the insane inmates, in case you want to watch them tonight.

If you can look past Salman’s now non-murderous past, you’ll have to agree that last night, he did deliver what can only be called full paisa vasool entertainment. Also, SRK’s and Salman’s appearance together and friendship brings home the fact that few, if any, of the new gen stars are of the same caliber. No one would care if Ranbir and Ranveer are friends, or to be fair, even if Hrithik and Akshay Kumar are friends. This harks back to the time when a Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan ruled the roost in Bollywood. And you can’t cut Kajol out of the equation. For an actress who’s almost a decade and a half older than the new bunch of actresses, there’s a confidence and natural beauty about her which immediately makes her stand apart—and she’s as loud and boisterous as the guys. This is celebrity as celebrity should be defined—famous, popular, ruling the roost, not giving a damn.

Whether you like Bollywood or not, you have to be impressed by the caliber of celebrity that was on display last night. And rue the fact that even the mighty must swim in the cesspit of Bigg Boss to sell their wares.

Close