A lot is being said about the bullying of flourishing talent by the ‘elite club’ in Bollywood. Many are exhuming the Salman Khan-Arijit Singh fallout that almost wiped the popular singer out of the industry four years ago.
The Dabangg actor has been called out as the industry bully by netizens, though much of what transpired on the night of the Star Guild Awards in 2014, where it all began, is unknown.
What appears to be a lighter-hearted casual exchange sending audiences in splits, was in fact, the beginning of a cold war from the superstar’s end, whose massive ego was pierced by the novice singer who had little understanding of Bollywood hierarchy.
It was the Tum Hi Ho artist's first awards function, but he wasn't prepared to attend the show as he was pre-occupied with editing a song for composer Pritam in Kolkata. At the eleventh hour, on Ashiqui 2’s co-producer Mukesh Bhatt’s insistence, he changed his plans and took the flight to Mumbai in the very casual and chappals he had on while running his editing table. He rushed to the show straight from the airport. Still very green in the industry, Arijit failed to gauge the temperament of the industry and the offences it took.
It had been a long journey and the fatigued singer dozed off on his seat. When his name was called out for the award, someone had to shake him up. He was greeted by Salman Khan and Riteish Deshmukh on the stage; When Salman, the host of the evening, pulled him up for dozing off, the new bloke absentmindedly blurted out, “Aap logon ne sula dia” and bit his tongue immediately as the realisation of what had slipped his mouth struck him fast. He apologised, but not before having rubbed one of Bollywood’s biggest ringmasters the wrong way.
Arijit went on to sing chartbusters after another but wasn’t unaware of the sulking Khan’s revulsion for him. Salman’s dislike for him started to show when Meet Brothers dropped a song recorded with Arijit from Kick. Even Pritam bailed out from using his vocal prowess for Bajrangi Bhaijaan. He apologised to Salman repeatedly, but Bhai was far from letting bygones be bygones.
Vishal Dadlani had sent for Arijit to record a song for Sultan. This gave him the hope that Salman had finally got over with the miff, but all that proved to be his wishful thinking when the music producer texted him that his song hadn’t made the cut. Arijit, who had planned to dedicate the song to the Sultan star upon its release, was left heartbroken. The singer took to Facebook to pen down a heartfelt apology for Salman Khan.
It was received with mixed reaction from his fans; many thought he had sold himself short by making this move, while others criticised his desperation for Bhaijaan’s acceptance. Arijit, unable to handle the pressure, deleted the post, hoping that the letter would somehow reach Salman.
That was back in 2016.
Four years hence, the 33-year-old singer, after belting out the soul-wrenching “Channa Mereya” for Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, “Ishq Mubarak” for Tum Bin 2, “Phir Bhi Tum Ko Chahunga” for Half Girl-friend, and scores of other chart-toppers, has established himself as one of the most bankable singers in B-town. His non-film music is faring exceptionally well on other platforms also. Much like this one:
Now though there hasn’t been any development in the fail situation he is stuck in with Salman Khan, we shall look at the brighter side that the singer from Kolkata has found a solid ground despite the unfortunate tiff with an industry heavy-weight.