MUMBAI, (Reuters) – Bollywood movie star Salman Khan ran afoul of a national women’s group, film critics and Twitter users yesterday after saying that training sessions for his new film made him feel like a “raped woman”.
Khan, arguably India’s most popular actor, made the remark during media interviews over the weekend to promote the film “Sultan”, in which he plays a professional wrestler.
“It is the most difficult thing,” the 50-year-old actor told reporters in Mumbai on Saturday when asked about his training schedule. “When I used to walk out of that ring, it used to be like a raped woman walking out.”
The remark, which initially went unnoticed, sparked outrage on social media with the hashtag #InsensitiveSalman trending for several hours.
The National Commission for Women (NCW), a government-run body for women’s rights, took notice and wrote to Khan demanding a public apology within seven days.
“He has demonstrated the patriarchal mindset that is prevalent in this country – unfortunately, he will get away with it,” Lalitha Kumaramangalam, the NCW chairwoman, told a television channel.
Khan, who holds broad appeal among audiences drawn to his image of a bad boy with a heart of gold, has not commented and his manager did not answer phone calls.
Prominent movie critic Raja Sen said on Tuesday he would not watch “Sultan”, which opens in cinemas early next month.
Khan’s remark also drew a bitter response on Twitter.