Some nine years ago, Bollywood superstar Salman Khan played a bodyguard assigned to protect a college-goer from assailants in a blockbuster film by the same name. To a poser then, he had dedicated the movie to his personal bodyguard, Gurmeet Singh, nicknamed Shera, who also starred in a cameo in the flick.
Shera has also dedicated his life to protecting the superstar. From film sets to endorsement events to award functions to shopping, Shera follows Salman everywhere like a shadow.
In fact, he has been with Salman for over 25 years now, and has pledged to be with the "Bhai of Bollywood" for the lifetime. "Maalik (boss) is everything to me. I will lay down my life for him. He is my god," the Indian film world's most famous bodyguard, who started his career as a celebrity security in 1993, once said.
Also, like his boss, Shera, now in his 50s, is a fitness freak. His passion for physical fitness helped him bag the Mr Mumbai crown, a popular beauty pageant modeling competition. "Salman bhai is my inspiration. Like maalik, I never miss the gym," Shera had said in an interview with an entertainment news outlet a couple of years back.
And guess how much Salman pays him to keep the paparazzi and the crazy crowd at bay -- a fortune, a whopping Indian rupees 2 crore (20 million rupees) annual package, apart from the many perks that are associated with the job, like free travel and food.
But how did Shera start working for Salman? "Actually, Bhai used to go for shows and this one time (1995), there was a show in Chandigarh where the audience had got on to the stage. When they returned, Sohail Khan (Salman's brother) called me to his office and offered me the job," he had said.
Another Khan in Bollywood, Shahrukh or SRK, however, seems to be more generous when it comes to paying the man who keeps him safe, particularly from the crazy female fans.
Yes, SRK gives more salary to his bodyguard than Salman. Ravi Singh, the nearly six feet tall man, reportedly takes home an annual package of Indian rupees 2.5 crore, making him the highest-paid Bollywood bodyguard. He has been protecting SRK and his family since 2011.
SRK's previous bodyguard Yaseen Khan also used to get a fat pay package, but he left the job after protecting King Khan for a decade. Apparently as a parting as well as a wedding gift, SRK had gifted Yaseen a flat in a posh Mumbai locality. This was before Ravi took over the reins of SRK's security detail.
Similarly, the man who guards the "Perfectionist of Bollywood" -- Aamir Khan -- is Yuvraj Ghorpade, also a fitness freak who has all the traits of an ace security man. Like Salman, Aamir pays Yuvraj Indian rupees 2 crore a year for keeping him and his wife Kiran Rao safe.
Yuvraj has been with Aamir for over a decade now. "Many of my friends are envious of the fact that I roam with such a big celebrity all the time," Ghorpade had said in an interview. But before him, Bollywood actor Ronit Roy was reportedly the head of the superstar's security for nearly two years before starting his own private agency.
Bollywood's fittest superstar Akshay Kumar also keeps a bodyguard. Despite holding a sixth degree black belt in Karate, Akshay keeps Shreysay Thele by his side round-the-clock. And Khiladi Kumar, currently the highest-paid Bollywood actor, pays Shreysay Indian rupees 1.2 crore annually.
In 2016, Akshay landed in a major controversy when Shreysay punched a fan for getting too close to the actor for taking a selfie. Subsequently, Akshay had to issue an apology: "What my bodyguard did was wrong. I apologise for that. But sometimes you need to take care of these things as the actors don't understand that sometimes they might get injured too."
Not only the Khans and the Khiladi, the reigning queen of Bollywood -- Deepika Padukone -- also has a super fan following and the man in-charge of her security is Jalal. He gets an annual salary of Indian rupees 80 lakh for ensuring no one comes near to the 35-year-old actress, now married to another highest-paid hero, Ranveer Singh.
"In the world of glamour, celebrities indeed have to pay the price for staying safe," aptly summed up Nishant Kumar, a manager with G4 Guards that has a pan-India presence.