Recently, the Indian olympic Association announced Salman Khan as the goodwill ambassador of the Indian contingent at the 2016 Rio Olympics. But the announcement has come in for lot of criticism. Lets take a look at some of the criticisms and also the support that Salman is getting.
It first started with the flying sikh ‘Milkha Singh’ (former Indian track and field sprinter) who strongly objected to the appointment on twitter.
Salman Khan’s father Salim Khan responded by saying – “Salman khan may not have competed but is an A level swimmer cyclist and weight lifter.” (Salman is also playing the role of a wrestler in his upcoming film, Sultan).
Salim Khan also objected to his son being labelled a Bollywood star, “Milkhaji it is not Bollywood it is the Indian Film Industry and that too the largest in the world.”
Salman khan may not have competed but is an A level swimmer cyclist and weight lifter
— Salim Khan (@luvsalimkhan) April 25, 2016
Milkha Singh hit back at Salim Khan (who referred to the soaring popularity Milkha achieved after the release of the film Bhaag Milkha Bhaag) by saying that the movie industry hasn’t done him any favours by making a biopic on him.
Milkha said “The IOA should have thought of what’s the need of the ambassador. I’m saying that the team who all are going whether it is shooting, wrestling, boxing or athletics, they all are our ambassadors. Out of 120 crore people in India, they have been our ambassador then what is the need of any other ambassador?
“It doesn’t make sense to appoint someone in this role. If an ambassador is required, we have many great sportspersons, like Sachin Tendulkar, P.T. Usha, Ajitpal Singh, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore,” he added.
After Milkha Singh, Cricketer Gautam Gambhir, Olympic bronze medallist wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt, and several politicians have objected to the idea that Olympics needed a Bollywood actor’s endorsement.
PT Usha,Milkha Singh jaise bade sports star hai jinhone kathin samay me desh ke liye mehnat ki. Khel ke kshetra me Es ambassador ne Kya kiya
— Yogeshwar Dutt (@DuttYogi) April 23, 2016
Cricketer Gautam Gambhir (captain of Kolkata Knight Riders) says sports doesn’t need a Salman Khan for publicity, and someone like Abhinav Bindra should have been India’s goodwill ambassador as he won the country’s first individual gold medal (at the Beijing Olympics).
— Amul.coop (@Amul_Coop) April 26, 2016
Former Indian captain, Sunil Gavaskar, however was in favor. “Why not a known face who is not really a part of that particular profession. If he can bring a lot more awareness to that particular profession then why not? I don’t see anything wrong in it. See how IPL has benefitted by having Bollywood stars in it. Eventually, it’s mainly because of the kind of cricket being played that will decide the fate of that edition of the IPL but having Shah Rukh (Khan), Preity (Zinta) in the ground, a lot of people come to see them, so that’s a plus,” said Gavaskar.
Because of the controversy, Indian Olympic Association had also approached cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar, ace shooter Abhinav Bindra and music legend AR Rehman to represent India’s Olympic cause as goodwill ambassadors (along with Salman Khan) of the Rio-bound athletic contingent. They all have accepted the invitation.
Here’s what Salman said when he was asked whether a Bollywood celeb can bring glamour to sports apart from cricket?
Everyone’s watching cricket, and it has lots of stars. We need to make stars in other sports. Today, people watch tennis because of Leander Paes and Sania Mirza. Similarly, Saina Nehwal and Dipika Pallikal are stars in their own right. Football will take over very soon because the next generation is hooked to football. Our fault is that we blame cricket, while we need to watch more sports on TV compared to the rubbish we watch on TV. Once we do that, TRPs will go up, and players will get endorsements and they will become stars. While flipping through channels, stop at a badminton match, and try to know who is playing. You want hockey to return to its old glory, watch a game – be it in the stadium or on TV. We (Bollywood celebs) just give that initial impetus.
Those who have supported Salman Khan are obviously from the film industry, including actress-politician Kirron Kher, filmmaker Sooraj Barjatya and Aishwarya Rai.
Salman Khan’s ex-flame Aishwarya Rai also supported Salman Khan. “Anybody who is doing good to represent the country and anybody who is working or seeking or standing out for whatever vocation we have in the country, be it sports, arts or music, I think that’s wonderful and needs to be recognised,” said Rai.
Here’s what Katrina Kaif, another actress who was romantically linked to Salman at one point of time, said: “A controversy with Salman, is it a new thing?”