You cannot be friends with both Salman Khan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. It’s a lesson I learned when my dear friend Kamal Hassan went through a messy split with his wife Sarika.
Sarika never forgave me for standing by her husband. I still remember her call to me after the divorce.
“It is better that we don’t communicate at all. I wouldn’t like to connect with you after what has happened,” she had said. I respected her for her honesty. I still do. I don’t see Aishwarya Rai Bachchan making a similar call to Sanjay Bhansali after hearing he has signed Salman Khan again. But she definitely would see this as a betrayal. And I don’t blame her. Not after the way Salman treated her during their relationship. After their ugly breakup, Aishwarya had issued a statement in 2003 severing all relations with Mr Khan.
She had said, “For the sake of my well-being, my sanity, my dignity and the dignity and self-respect of my family... enough! I will not work with Mr Salman Khan. The Salman chapter was a nightmare in my life and I am thankful to God that it is over.”
After the breakup, Bhansali had to choose between his two friends. When he dropped Bajirao Mastani (which he was supposed to make at that point of time with the Salman-Aishwarya pair) and instead announced Guzaarish with Aishwarya Rai and Hrithik Roshan, it was very clear where his loyalty lay. Salman never forgave Bhansali for the betrayal.
Time has proven to be the greatest healer. Khan and Bhansali are back being buddies while Rai Bachchan is apparently “stunned” by the development. She should know relations in the entertainment industry change every Friday. As lyricist Anjaan once wrote, “Ram jaane kaise pal mein badal jaate hain yeh duniya ke badalte rishte.”