Touted as one of the biggest entertainers in Bollywood, ‘Mr Perfectionist’ Aamir Khan is a highly gifted actor who always follows his conviction and has delivered ground-breaking films. Be it the lover boy Akash of ‘Dil Chahta Hai’, violent young man Sanjay Singhania of ‘Ghajini’, art teacher Ram Shankar Nikumbh of ‘Taare Zameen Par’ or Ranchoddas ‘Rancho’ Shamaldas Chanchad aka Phunsukh Wangdu of ‘3 Idiots’, Aamir has always won over critics and masses with his commendable performances.
In a candid interview with Swati Chaturvedi of Spicezee.com on her chat show Kahiye Janab, Aamir Khan talks about his upcoming release ‘Peepli Live’, his favourite actors and his views on IPL and Indian politics.
Swati: Please tell us about your upcoming release ‘Peepli Live’?
Aamir: As it is being said, ‘Peepli Live’ is not about farmers’ suicide. It’s about urban and rural divide. As a society, all our attention is towards the city. Villages grapple with the issues of basic amenities like electricity and water. Villages are no more self-reliant. People are migrating to the city and nobody is thinking about villages.
Swati: You live in Mumbai, where politicians have targeted north Indians. Does your film take up any of such issue? Are you inspired by it?
Aamir: As I have been born and brought up in city, I have less knowledge about villages. I became sensitive towards villages when I heard about the country life from Anusha Rizvi, the director of ‘Peepli Live’. If somebody asks me to leave Mumbai for Hollywood, I cannot because my roots are here. Similarly, it’s a traumatic situation for people who migrate from villages to cities. However, this issue is layered in the story of the film and Anusha has dealt it in a lighter vein in ‘Peepli Live’.
Swati: How do you feel when politicians target north Indians in Mumbai?
Aamir: For me, all Indians have the right to be anywhere they want to be. However, problem arises when more people turn towards cities, something which Anusha is trying to showcase in her film.
You see, I do not make films on issues; ‘Ghajini’ and ‘Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na’ were not issue based films. I see myself as an entertainer and it’s my responsibility to entertain whosoever buys the ticket of my film. Well, it’s nice if you can give a message with entertainment.
Swati: Talking about Bollywood at large, apart from Rajkumar Hirani, all films are made for multiplexes as they hardly cater to issues concerning small towns. It seems Hindi cinema is limiting itself.
Aamir: You are right and it’s not only in Hindi cinema, it’s the same in every walk of life. Unlike today, there was a time when films on universal themes were made.
Swati: Which was your last film on a universal theme?
Aamir: ‘Ghajini’, ‘Taare Zameen Par’, ‘Lagaan’, ‘3 Idiots’, ‘Munnabhai MBBS’, ‘Lage Raho Munnabhai’ – all these films were universal films.
Swati: Considering that films are a soft target, there are political skirmishes where actors publicly seek apology. However, looking at your career graph, you have raised your voice for Narmada issue, you are a part of RTI and even though you may not be taking a political stand, your films put across a strong message. Do you think that controversies in cinema are manufactured?
Aamir: Some filmmakers manufacture controversies and some are genuine. If a film is censored, one should not use violence but take recourse to a democratic way of protest.
Swati: You are considered the new marketing guru. From where do you get your innovative ideas to promote your films? Are controversies a marketing prop?
Aamir: No matter how much money you invest or how many big stars you rope in, a film will never work until and unless it is really good. Well, about my marketing strategy, ‘Ghajini’ was a physical film; therefore, I did its press conference in the gym. During the promotion of ‘3 Idiots’, I disappeared because ‘Rancho’, the central character of ‘3 Idiots’ disappears in the film.
Swati: What makes Aamir Khan click with the audience?
Aamir: I enjoy my work. I take up only those projects which excite me. The way of narrating story is important. People ask me how I choose a director. Well, I choose a director who has an exciting story to tell and that too in an exciting way.
Swati: How about endorsements?
Aamir: I like doing advertisements for only those products which I use. I liked the adverts of Tata Sky, Samsung and Coke.
Swati: Tell us about your film ‘Dhobi Ghat’ with wife Kiran Rao. How was the experience of working with Kiran?
Aamir: Yes, I got the role by great effort. It was very good experience. However, it’s too early to talk about it.
Swati: With you and Kiran working at the film sets and back together at home, wasn’t the closeness too much?
Aamir: No, we had a great time. ‘Dhobi Ghat’ has four lead roles and I am performing one of the lead characters.
Swati: It is usually said that you are a difficult actor, you ghost direct films. Did Kiran face any such problems?
Aamir: (laughs) Anusha does face such problems.
Swati: You went to Oscars to promote your films but why don’t you go to Bollywood award functions?
Aamir: It’s not like that; I did go to the Dinanath Mangeshkar award and Chennai’s Golapuri award. Basically, I go to awards only if I have the respect for its organization.
Swati: There was a time when Bollywood stars wanted to buy IPL teams? Post all the IPL-controversy, do you think you did the right thing by not buying it?
Aamir: I am not a businessman. I barely manage to complete a film in a year, where is the time for IPL? I don’t think I will be interested in IPL.
Swati: You have become a peacemaker of sorts in Bollywood – bringing warring factions together …
Aamir: It’s nothing like that. There are no warring camps. As far as I am concerned, I am friendly with everyone. I have good relations with whosoever I have worked so far.
Swati: Right now, apart from ‘Peepli Live ’, what excites you?
Aamir: Right now, it’s just ‘Peepli Live’, after that I have ‘Dhobi Ghat’ and there is ‘Delhi Belly’ with Imran. I don’t know which film I will sign next. Let ‘Peepli Live’ release on 13th August, only after that I will read new scripts.
Swati: Who is your favourite actor?
Aamir: I like Amitabh Bachchan, in fact, I like Govinda very much. He is a great entertainer, I love watching his films.
Swati: What about the three Khans?
Aamir: All of them – Shah Rukh, Salman, Saif are very good. Hrithik Roshan is also a good actor.
Swati: Is interacting with media a nice experience?
Aamir: There was a time and a reason when I distanced myself from the media. However, I realised that each individual is different and likewise, even in films, everyone is different and that’s how life is.
Swati: Will you ever join politics?
Aamir: I am not interested in politics. I am an entertainer.
Adapted by: Aman Kanth