Actor Salman Khan was Thursday found guilty by a Jodhpur court in a two-decade-old blackbuck poaching case and was sentenced to five years in prison. Unlike the Mumbai hit-and-run case, where Salman was found guilty by a lower court but the verdict was challenged and stayed the same day, the actor spent the night in jail.
And that may be in the best interest for not just him but the whole country. Here's how we reason:
1. Improving people's perception of the judiciary: The image projected by the judicial system of India has taken a serious beating over the decades. Even Bollywood has added to that through its courtroom portrayals in films like Jolly LLB and its sequel.
If the court manages to keep Salman Khan in jail after convicting him, it would be a huge boost in how people see the judicial system. It would not only reaffirm the faith of people in the judiciary but also deliver the message that crime really doesn't pay, no matter who you are.
2. Bollywood sans Salman may be a better place: Producers and distributors might disagree, but a Bollywood without the influence of Salman Khan may be a great place! True, that the fate of some big-budget films and around Rs 1,000 crore is riding on the actor, but sans Salman, Bollywood may actually try to experiment and come up with a new formula for hits that relies more on content than star-power.
3. Improving Salman's own image: Salman may have thrived on the bad-boy image, but getting called a "habitual offender" by a judge who sentenced you to five years in prison is not exactly "bad boy" behavior – it is criminal.
Salman should try to do the time because the court says he did the crime. Uphold the court's ruling, and it should add a different dimension to your image as a law-abiding and law-fearing citizen, and maybe another Rs 100 crore when you finally get to collaborate with Ali Abbas Zafar once again on Bharat.
(The views expressed are personal)