Son of scriptwriter Salim Khan (who co-wrote classics like Sholay, Deewar, Zanjeer, and Mr. India), Salman shot to fame as a gentle Romeo in the 1989 blockbuster Maine Pyar Kiya. He then went on to star in some of the biggest hits of the 90s, among them Hum Aapke Hain Koun...!, Karan Arjun, and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. In recent years, however, his drama off-screen proved more gripping than any movie. He moved from scrape to messy scrape with the law, the media, and his sometimes girlfriend, Miss World-turned-actress Aishwarya Rai. Columnists bemoaned his bad boy ways. Religious fundamentalists protested his taste in women (he was a Muslim; Aishwarya, a Hindu). But all along, diehard fans swore he was simply misunderstood.
Now he stands accused of manslaughter. And even those fans may reached their limit.
Fall 1998 marked the beginning of Salman's legal troubles. While in Jodhpur, Rajasthan to shoot the 'Mhare Hivda' song sequence for Yashraj's Hum Saath Saath Hain, he and several costars went hunting in the nearby Thar Desert. The group strayed onto a Bishnoi reservation, where Salman shot a black buck, a member of an endangered species that is illegal to hunt. The Bishnoi -- being a tribe that believes in the sanctity of all life, and not at all in the sanctity of film stars -- physically detained the actor, who was then thrown into jail by an unsympathetic magistrate. The scandal sent reporters scrambling for their pens -- which they then used to draw an indelible black mark next to the actor's name.
Media then turned their attention to his rocky relationship with Aishwarya Rai, whom he began to date after acting across from her in 1999's Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. Rumors already existed claiming that Khan had physically abused a former girlfriend, Pakistani actress Somy Ali....