While birthday boy and Bollywood star Salman Khan remained cheerful and ebullient all through the evening before his birthday Dec 27, his family and friends lost the spirit of celebration once the court summons was served on Salman Thursday.
The party spirit dissipated thereafter. While Salman remained cheerful his family did not feel like celebrating at all.
A source close to the Khan family said: "No one was finally invited. Whoever turned up did so on their own. It was just close family friends like Sajid Nadiadwala, David Dhawan and Rumi Jaffery who showed up to wish Salman. No invitations were sent out. How could they, when everyone knew Salman had to be in court on his birthday the next morning at 11 a.m.?"
Salman was against a birthday party.
"Salman felt it wouldn't be appropriate to celebrate at a time when the Delhi gang-rape victim was battling for her life. Only close friends were going to be invited. Even that changed after the courts summons. The idea of hosting a party was dropped. People who dropped in did so uninvited," a source said.
Angry about the courts summons, Rumi Jaffery - who was at Salman's Galaxy Apartments residence the night before the star's birthday - hit out at the sheer injustice of it. "We all respect the law. But look at the timing of the courts summons. Why something like this on his birthday? Couldn't it have been a day earlier or later? Everyone knows it's Salman's birthday Dec 27. Why ask him to attend court on a day when his fans would like to reach out to him, wish him, see him on television? Why take away from the joy of the special day?"
Rumi feels Salman's life and career are a casualty of jealousy. "I am 100 percent certain it were Salman's rivals who provoked the courts summons on his birthday. We lost our excitement about his birthday. But he was fine. He kept everyone's spirits high. Strange, in country where there are so many serious crimes, a 10-year old hit-and-run case should evoke such enthusiasm. I feel it's not about just justice. It's also about getting someone as successful as Salman into a sticky situation. But Salman was unperturbed. He had more fun than all of us put together."
Another close friend of Salman said: "Salman isn't worried about the outcome of the case. His only concern is, his family members may end up saying something politically incorrect. He has told his family to not speak about the case."
(Subhash K. Jha can be contacted at @gmail.com)