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Salman Khan - Sonakshi Sinha

After dumping moth-eaten content for its films, the Hindi film industry also seems to have got rid of the ancient art of promoting a new pair by linking it romantically.

A soaked-in-romance Aditya Chopra film like Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi got all the attention it required on the strength of its content alone – there was not even a hint of anything hanky-panky between Shah Rukh Khan and new girl Anushka Sharma. Even when SRK launched Deepika Padukone in his own production Om Shanti Om there was no whiff of any casting couch favours.

Arbaaz Khan’s efficiently-produced first film Dabangg is symptomatic of this new professional trend in the film industry. Forget about a romantic liaison between Salman Khan and his fresh new leading lady, Sonakshi Sinha, it is more a family affair between the Khans and the Sinhas!

Salman Khan has been more chivalrous than lecherous. He guided her to start painting and even got her first effort dipped in coffee for a sepia effect

Of course, this is an advantage a celebrity kid like Sonakshi Sinha has over outsiders stepping into the arena. The entire industry has known that she is the apple of her dad, Shatrughan Sinha’s eye and she has his formidable backing in everything she does. Apart from that, Salman Khan’s father Salim Khan and Shatrughan Sinha also go back a long way. They have both been outspoken men with a sharp sense of humour and lately, they have simply re-discovered each other’s company.

Last July, Salim and Salman Khan hosted a party at home for Sonakshi Sinha’s parents on their 29th wedding anniversary.

This year, when Salman Khan practically took over IIFA in Sri Lanka and Dabangg was promoted on stage there, his invitation was to the entire Sinha family. So Shatrughan and Poonam Sinha were present with Sonakshi Sinha and the Khan Brothers in Colombo.

Like his current foe Shah Rukh, Salman Khan also does clean films with no overtly sexy scenes (not even in a film like Biwi No 1) and he simply will not do kissing scenes. So the question of Sonakshi Sinha squirming over any scene was completely ruled out. By the way, her dad and mom had whetted the script and every scene in it before Sonakshi Sinha agreed to do Dabangg. Yup, the script narration was also a family affair!

Off-screen too, Salman Khan has been more chivalrous than lecherous. In fact the whisper is that Sonakshi Sinha who has a natural gift for sketching (that’s what made her do a diploma in dress designing before she started modelling and acting) found a guru in Salman Khan who has now become an expert in the technique of painting. He guided her to start painting and even got her first effort dipped in coffee for a sepia effect.

Dad Shatrughan Sinha confirmed in his inimitable, alliterative style, “Salman Khan and his family are taking care of Sonakshi Sinha in every way – in her presentation, promotion and protection!”

Dabangg, a full-on entertainer that’s looking at an early September release, just got more colourful.