In 2012, a movie was released with a fascinating story – a pilot manages to land a malfunctioning plane with just four casualties. While people praise his skill an investigation stumbles upon the fact that the “hero” pilot was actually a drunkard and a cocaine addict. He managed to land the plane with just four casualties while drunk. His family life is shot to hell because of his drinking. Most of the movie is about how the Pilot tries to hide his drinking problem and refuses to acknowledge that he has one. He even checks into rehab and genuinely tries to give up drinking and doping. For the final hearing, he comes in sober but cleans out the mini bar and is drunk the morning of the hearing. His lawyer preps him with the answers after getting him sober…. Finally in the last scene, he just comes clean. He says he drank mid-air and that he was a drunkard and a dope head. He goes to jail, gets sober and writes about his experiences. Infact his son comes to see him and says he spoke of him when asked to speak about a hero in school. The movie was titled “Flight” and the pilot was played by Denzel Washington, who was just brilliant as always. So the message is “truth” however bitter sets you free and helps you in winning over people. People trust you when you speak the truth and not when you constantly lie. Old lesson ? You bet. But guess what, fundamentals don’t change and this is fundamental.
Why am I talking about this movie today ? Well we have our own version of this movie. A car crashes into a pavement dwelling in 2002 killing one and injuring four. The driver is drunk and allegedly a movie star, hmmm, superstar. The case is filed and today this star has recorded his statement alleging that “he wasn’t driving, and he wasn’t drunk”. Here’s a news item from 2013 about this case All you need to know about Salman Khan’s hit-and-run case. The honourable judge will examine the evidence and pronounce his judgement and it will be the right judgement.
Some things don’t stitch up as a lay person … The driver change in the middle of the night, the hostile witnesses, the eye-witnesses changing stories. I actually like Salman Khan. Am sure even if it was his driver who rammed the car into the pavement, he would have made sure the injured were taken care of and the next of kin of the dead was compensated well. He seems like a genuinely good human being trying to help people without the spotlight on. But this story doesn’t add up.
Just for the sake of make believe – imagine if Salman had been drunk and had made the mistake of driving. And he had admitted to it and spent ten years in jail. Would you have respected him more ? Would he have been the poster boy for the campaign against drunken driving and really impacted several young lives ? I think it would have been a huge thing for youngsters to see a superstar admit to his failings and respect the law. But we don’t know the truth.
Maybe it was his driver who was drunk and maybe Salman was not driving.
The moral dilemma of sticking to the truth and facing consequences or lying and seemingly getting away is something all of us face. The path you choose is according to your version of reality. The truth is just the truth… The lessons are in the path you choose at the fork.
Someday, some star !