JAIPUR: Her extended role as film mother to Bollywood actor Salman Khan in real life has invited flak for former Rajasthan Forests and Environment Minister Bina Kak. Ms. Kak, who played the role of Salman's Punjabi mother in the 2005 release, "Maine Pyar Kyon Kiya", maintains that criticism from her detractors, especially from the Bharatiya Janata Party, would not deter her. "I value human relationships more than anything else," says Ms. Kak, who is presently acting in more films playing Khan mother.
Laxminarain Dave, who succeeded Ms. Kak as Minister for Forests and Environment in the present Government, had taken umbrage at Ms. Kak for reaching Jodhpur last week and staying put there for all the three days when Salman was in jail after conviction in the deer poaching case. Mr. Dave as well as Jaswant Vishnoi, BJP Member of Parliament from Jodhpur, had sought an explanation from her about her interest in a "convict".
"Her act is bound to send a wrong message in the public a former Forests and Environment Minister going out of the way to express solidarity with a person who is convicted for a wildlife crime," Mr. Dave said. The BJP leaders did not fail to point out that Ms. Kak had been "sympathetic and supportive" to Salman all through the period from the crime was committed and the trial was on. They were also critical of the role of Govinda, the Congress MP, reaching Jodhpur in an act of solidarity along with film directors David Dhawan, Sajid Nadiadwala and others from the film fraternity in Mumbai. Mr. Vishnoi sought parliamentary guidelines in this regard. "There should be a code of conduct for public representatives in such matters," he said.
Congresswoman Ms. Kak, who had been representing Sumerpur in Pali district in the past -- Mr.Dave too represents an Assembly constituency in Pali has thrown the gauntlet at her critics.
She has also brought in the now infamous case of disappearance of tigers from the Project Tiger sanctuary, Sariska.
"Mr. Dave has no moral authority to point an accusing finger at me in the deer poaching case. I was not a Minister when the incident took place. Moreover, Mr. Dave should explain to the country and the whole world as to what has happened to the tigers in the wildlife parks in Ranthambhore and Sariska during his tenure as Minister," Ms. Kak has said. Ms. Kak, who is now acting in Salman starrers, "God Tusi Geat Ho, "Salami Ishq" and the proposed "Nanhe Jaisalmer", says she keeps no double standards when it comes to public and personal life. "Lots of people had warned me against going to Jodhpur and publicly expressing my sentiments in this manner. I did it because of my attachment to Salman and his family," Ms. Kak affirms, rather defiantly.
"I stand by my commitment to wildlife. I appreciate the commitment of the Vishnoi community to the protection of wildlife. Salman, who is like my son, has confessed to me of his innocence. He is a sensitive human being. It was a frivolous mistake on his part to join that expedition to the villages in Jodhpur in 1998 but he personally was not involved," she says pointing out that his conviction is not final as the case would be taken to the Supreme Court.