Stars achieve huge fame…and sometimes they also acquire immense notoriety! The books of filmdom are littered with numerous instances of film stars breaking the law and attracting national attention for all the wrong reasons. While commoners like you and me would probably want to hide our faces for the rest of our lives in the event of such a brush with the law, the stars have no option but to take the unavoidable disrepute in their stride. In fact, some of them even seem to use the taint to enhance their image – apparently, there’s nothing more desirable than a bad boy or gal!
His struggle with drugs had marked Sanjay Dutt out as a ‘bad boy’ early on but his serious brush with the law had even his most fervent fans gasping. The actor became the first major film celebrity to be convicted and jailed. Sentenced to five years’ imprisonment by the Supreme Court for illegal possession of weapons after the deadly Mumbai bomb blasts of March 12, 1993, Dutt served his sentence in the Yerawada Central Jail, Pune. He finally walked out a free man, all debts paid, in February 2016.
In an eerie similarity to Dutt’s sentence, Salman Khan was also convicted and sentenced to five years of imprisonment in the blackbuck killing case. Currently out on bail, Khan’s skirmishes with the law have been multiple. This has been the second time in the past 10 years that Salman has been placed behind bars. Also involved in the hit and run case of 2002, where his Toyota SUV slammed into a bakery and killed one pavement dweller in Bandra, he was acquitted on appeal in December 2015. However, his woes are far from over as the Maharashtra Government challenged his acquittal before the Supreme Court.
Saif Ali Khan
Saif Ali Khan heaved a huge sigh of relief when he was finally acquitted in the blackbuck case for lack of evidence. He had been part of the hunting party that had participated in the shooting of the endangered blackbucks and chinkaras by Salman Khan in Jodhpur in 1998. More recently, in 2012 precisely, Saif had a skirmish with the law again when he got into fisticuffs with an NRI businessman Iqbal Mir Sharma, at a five-star hotel. He was arrested and let out on bail, while the matter has been referred for mediation by a Mumbai Court.
The generally ‘clean’ Akshay Kumar courted controversy in 2009 when the police registered a complaint against him, his wife Twinkle Khanna and Lakme Fashion Week organizers for allegedly indulging in obscenity in public during the fashion show in Mumbai. The reason was his action during his ramp walk, which had seen him walking up to Twinkle, who was seated in the front row and asking her to unbutton his jeans.
Monica Bedi, dubbed the gangster’s moll, raised eyebrows in 2002, when she along with mafia don Abu Salem, were arrested by the Portuguese authorities for entering the country using fake documents. Imprisonment in a Lisbon jail was followed by a long legal battle before the two were deported to India in 2005 to prove their innocence in several cases by different agencies. Monica was arrested in connection with her forged passport. Her sentence was reduced from five years to two-and-a-half years, after which she walked free in 2007.
The dent to his reputation was considerable when Fardeen Khan, son of the late veteran star, Feroze Khan was arrested by the Juhu police for purchasing cocaine in 2001. Fortunately for the star, he was given conditional immunity from prosecution after being tried by a special NDPS court.
Shiney Ahuja damaged his reputation for good after he was arrested in 2009 on charges of raping his maid-servant. The victim went on to turn hostile yet the case against Shiney continued. His flourishing career was nipped in the bud when he was sentenced to a jail term of seven years. He appealed against the same before the Bombay High Court, and is currently out on bail.
The Pancholis are no strangers to law-breaking. Father, actor Aditya Pancholi had been accused of raping his ex-girlfriend Pooja Bedi’s 15-year-old maid when the two celebs were allegedly dating. He was also sentenced by a Metropolitan Court to a one-year imprisonment in an assault case that took place in 2005. The court fined him Rs.20,000. Pancholi was however able to secure bail and avoid imprisonment.
...and Sooraj pancholi
Son, actor Sooraj Pancholi is currently embroiled in a case of abetment of suicide of his girlfriend, actress Jiah Khan. She had been found dead at home in June 2013, and her mother has long claimed that Jiah was murdered. She fought to have Pancholi convicted and the matter is in the courts.
While popularity for her work eluded her, actress Maria Susairaj hit the headlines for a far gorier reason – she and her ex-naval officer boyfriend Emile Jerome Mathew had collaborated to kill a TV company executive Neeraj Grover in 2008. They allegedly chopped up the body, put it into a suitcase and dumped and burnt it on the outskirts of Mumbai. Maria was, however, acquitted of murder charges after a court battle. She was given three years’ imprisonment for destruction of evidence, while Mathew serves out his 10-year jail sentence.
In 1997, Nadeem, one half of the successful music composer duo Nadeem-Shravan, sent shockwaves through the industry with his involvement in the murder of music baron Gulshan Kumar. Nadeem was in London to evade arrest, and managed to stay safe as the UK House of Lords upheld the London High Court's ruling against his extradition, rejecting the Indian government's plea for a review of the decision.
Mamta Kulkarni was always a sensational looker; however years later in 2016 she hit the headlines for her involvement as a prime suspect in an international narcotics racket, along with her husband, alleged drug lord Vicky Goswami. With Indian, American and Kenyan authorities investigating the matter, Mamta and Vicky were declared absconders.
John Abraham was declared guilty of rash driving in a case and sentenced to 15 days' simple imprisonment. While the actor was taken into police custody, hours later he got relief from the Bombay high court, which granted him bail. On the professional front, the producers of his upcoming film Parmanu: The Story of Pokhran recently filed an FIR against the actor and his production company.
Usually the picture of affability, Govinda showed different colours when he was caught on camera slapping Santosh Ray, who had gone to see the shoot of Govinda’s Money Hai Toh Honey Hai. While a complaint was filed against the star, the Bombay High Court later revoked the complaint, saying there was no material against the actor to show criminal intimidation. What’s more, he had also tendered an unconditional apology to Ray.