Aamir Khan and Kiran Rao make a perfect intellectual couple. Aamir’s perfectionist aura complements the super talented lady, who is all set to make her directorial debut with ‘Dhobi Ghat’. The actor, who contemplates over a hundred times before doing a film, surrendered to his wife, who dons the captain’s cap in the film. And Aamir is more than happy to be helmed by his loving wife.
In an exclusive interview with Swati Chaturvedi of Spicezee.com on her chat show Kahiye Janab, Aamir Khan and Kiran Rao talk about their upcoming film ‘Dhobi Ghat’ and their professional equations with each other.
Swati: Both Aamir and Kiran are giving an interview for the first time to discuss a film. How does it feel?
Kiran: Exciting. I feel nice. There are times when you get to know what was in his mind while he was giving an interview. I had no clue about him being nervous when I told him that I was scripting a film. I learnt about it only when he gave an interview.
Swati: He is a good actor isn’t he?
Kiran: (Smiles and nods in yes) Yes.
Aamir: Yes. When she told me that I am writing a script, I was quite nervous. I feared that once the script is ready, I would have to hear it and in case if it did not appeal to me, then I would have to tell her about it. It would have been quite an awkward situation for me, though I could have consoled her but it wouldn’t have been nice on my part to break her heart. So, I was quite worried about it and she had no idea about the same.
Swati: As a creative person, you are committed to the creativity of your script. Would you have had Aamir on board as an actor if he hadn’t befitted the character, considering the fact that he is a perfectionist to the core and is quite choosy about the kind of films he does.
Aamir: Kiran never thought of casting me in the film. She just wanted me to hear her script.
Kiran: Yes, I just wanted to discuss my work with him and share it with him to seek his views on my work, as a life partner.
Aamir: In fact she (Kiran) never wanted me to act in the film. I had to pass through a screen-test to earn a role in the film.
Swati: How was it like screen testing?
Aamir: (Chuckles) I liked it.
Swati: How did you feel when he auditioned for the film?
Kiran: I was feeling very bad when he said, “I am not in the film. At least take my audition to see what the character would look like, if I were to play it”. I was in a dilemma and was in doubt. But I had the greatest opportunity in hand to have him act in my film and how could I just let it go.
Swati: For someone who has studied filmmaking, to be launched by Aamir Khan is like a dream coming true. But there are many who would think he was nepotistic towards you.
Kiran: Actually, Aamir is a very frank. If he doesn’t like something, he would make it very clear. So in this case, if he had not liked my script, he would have told me about it. I was in fact quite nervous narrating the script to him and would have lost confidence in myself had he not liked it. Aamir has a very different way of looking at things and I find it very interesting as I get to learn a lot from him.
Aamir: (Chuckles) She feared that I might end up disliking her script and so did I.
Swati: You are such a perfectionist. Why do people fear you?
Aamir: (Smiles) Yes I loved the script and I loved her more for writing it.
Swati: Even otherwise you love her.
Aamir: Yes true, but I fell in love with her once again because she narrated her script so beautifully to me. I kept looking at her when she took care of all the intricacies of the delicate story. I felt proud.
Swati: You felt proud because she is your wife?
Aamir: I knew she is a good human being but I had no clue about her writing skills.
Swati: (To Kiran) So, when I asked you if Aamir was indulging in nepotism…
Aamir: What does nepotism mean? I don’t know.
Kiran: (To Aamir) Nepotism is the act of favouring someone who is family to you.
Aamir: No. I don’t favour anyone. I would have been candid had I not liked her script. And if a person has convictions in his/her story, they are free to make a film on it as I feel everyone has their own perspective of looking at things and my opinion could be wrong. But if I end up disliking something then I don’t proceed with the project.
Swati: This goes to show your commitment towards your craft.
Aamir: Yes. Absolutely…My commitment towards myself, towards my craft and towards my audiences is of great importance to me. I do not compromise with it.
Swati: But Aamir is also a husband...
Aamir: Yes. I would have lent Kiran all the help and support to realise her dream as a spouse but not as a professional.
Swati: People have great expectations from a debutant director. Many would feel you are very lucky to be married to Aamir Khan. There are also chances of people trying to drag you down for your overwhelming good luck. Do you think this might happen to you?
Kiran: Yes it has been very easy for me so far. To be launched by Aamir Khan is like a dream ride for me. I am happy about the fact that the person who I adore and respect the most even professionally liked my work. I am thrilled to have made what I wanted to make. And of course expectations do accompany adulations.
Aamir: The biggest thing right now is that the film is all set to release and I hope the audiences like it.
Swati: People say Aamir has brilliant marketing brains. He can even go to the Harvard University to give marketing lessons. You use media the most when your films are slated for a release but you confine to your own castle when you are not doing films.
Aamir: There is no truth in this. Yes, there was a time when I cut away from media. During that phase, two of my films, ‘Rang De Basanti’ and ‘Fanaa’ were ready for a release. But I did not interact with the media on both the occasions. Had I been so shrewd and an opportunist, I would have been media friendly during the time of the release of the films. No doubt, there was a time when I refrained myself from the media.
Swati: It is not an ongoing dialogue. It sounds quite fitful. It is like the Indo-Pak peace talks.
Aamir: No you are wrong. You can interview me whenever you want to irrespective of whether or not any of my films are due for a release. In fact, I been interviewed on many occasions and have attended media events which have been of no direct consequence to me. I think you don’t follow me, which is why you have a wrong notion about me.
Swati: I do follow you...
Aamir: In that case you have accused me of using the media as per my conveniences and you are wrong.
Swati: Anusha Rizvi has disassociated herself with ‘Peepli Live’. Even Amol Gupte had certain differences with you while making ‘Taare Zameen Par’. The image that is created of you is that you are a very difficult actor who controls the director. What happened with Anusha Rizvi?
Aamir: I don’t like to discuss others.
Swati: But she said she has nothing to do with ‘Peepli Live’ making it to the Oscars.
Aamir: She is free to say whatever she wants to. How can I stop her from doing that? All I can say is that everyone has their own way of looking at things. As a producer, I am duty bound and my responsibilities are three-dimensional; I need to take care of my cast and crew, the marketing and distribution and my audiences. I have certain responsibilities and shall do it come what may and no can stop me from doing them. I am glad the film was critically an acclaimed one and also fared well at the Box Office. So I know what I did was right.
Moreover, I do not think like a businessman while producing a film. I do it if a concept touches my heart. Had I been thinking like a producer, I would have made big budget films and profited manifold.
Swati: You made it to the Oscars with ‘Lagaan’ and ‘Peepli Live’. And now you are going places to promote your film to the maximum.
Aamir: Where did you get this information from?
Swati: From people.
Aamir: You tend to believe in “other people” a lot. As far as Oscars are concerned, I have never done anything to promote my films. I don’t believe in lobbying and don’t seek votes. If anyone is caught doing such things, they are disqualified. And even if such wicked things were practiced, I am not someone who would stoop so low. What is the point in getting something after having asked for it?
Swati: I completely agree with you...
Aamir: I think with the kind of international platforms that the Oscars provide, our films get a large scale exposure. Awareness is created about Indian films. And I don’t think receiving an award is important. What is of great relevance is whether or not the audiences like the film.
Swati: Who is a perfectionist of the two of you?
Aamir: I am not a perfectionist and I don’t know why people think I am one. I am passionate about my work and I enjoy what I do.
Swati: Who is more passionate about the craft of the two of you?
Kiran: Both are equally passionate about our work. But he has more stamina than I have.
Swati: (To Aamir) Aren’t you fed up of seeing Kiran both at home and at work.
Aamir: No…I love working with her. She is a born leader and I feel quite secure working with her. In fact, there are people who go out of their ways to get work done properly for her.
Swati: Who is a better director?
Aamir: Of all the films that have been made under my banner, ‘Dhobi Ghat’ is by far the best.
Swati: What are you future projects?
Aamir: I am doing a film with Reema Kagti which has Kareena and Rani. But I shall miss Kiran on the sets.
Adapted by: Gayatri Sankar