Mr Perfectionist Khan, alias Aamir Khan, was once kicked out of a Marathi play following his absence on the sets for a day. Isn’t it surprising? As he is known for perfection and punctuality, many may wonder how Aamir transformed into the star he is today despite many stories about his struggle in this film industry. A look at his life…
A self-confessed full entertainer, Aamir Khan’s acting talent was discovered by his uncle Naseer Khan when he was a kid. The latter chose Aamir over his own son Mansoor to portray a role in his film ‘Yaadon Ki Baarat’. Later on, he launched his nephew in the yesteryear’s hit film ‘Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak’ giving his son Mansoor an opportunity to direct the them upcoming superstar Aamir Khan. There is an interesting story behind Aamir Khan bagging his first film.
Pain of failure
Although this enigmatic actor had a keen interest to work in plays from his college days, unfortunately he had to face numerous rejections as none of the directors saw any potential in him. But luck smiled on him when Mahendra Joshi selected him for a group scene in a Marathi play. In fact, he also gave Aamir one line dialogue and the actor was delighted to say the least.
“I was on cloud nine when I got a role in the play. I used to be the first one to reach the sets for rehearsal and last one to leave the place. We used to rehearse everyday. It was then that Shiv Sena declared Mumbai bandh for a day and my mother did not allow me to go for rehearsal that day. The next day when I went for the reherasl they asked the reason for my absence on the previous day. My reply could not satisy the director and he kicked me out of the play. I was depressed and came out.
One of my friends, Niranjan, asked if I was free for the next two days to work in a diploma film in Pune. I immediately said yes…”narrated Aamir still emerged in his memories.
During that Pune trip Aamir worked in Indrajeet Singh Bansal and Rajiv Singh’s diploma films. Ketan Mehta happened to see Aamir’s work in the two films and offered him film ‘Holi’. And after seeing his work in ‘Holi’, brother Mansoor Khan and uncle Naseer Khan felt that they could take the risk of casting him as the lead actor in ‘Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak’. The film hit the theatres and surprisingly was a blockbuster hit. With the film arrived a new shining star in Bollywood by the name of Aamir Khan. But little did anyone know then that this star would keep dazzling even 21 years after the release of his first film and become an inspiration for many budding actors giving a new direction to films.
Discovery of ‘perfectionism’
Following the rat race, Aamir Khan also stuck to formula films for ten years after the release of his first film ‘Qyamat Se Qayamt Tak’in 1988. Some of these films were successful while others failed at the box-office. Amongst the flop films were two flicks directed by Ashutosh Gowariker who is also the director of the super-hit film Lagaan. This 2001 film is a milestone in the history of Hindi films. This film brought about a tremendous change in Bollywood had a far-reaching impact on Aamir as well. With this film Aamir proved his skills of film-making and discipline. The bud of Aamir’s ‘perfectionism’ was sown during the shooting of Ghulam itself. During the shooting of this Vishesh Films film, Aamir had a tiff with Mahesh Bhatt. The latter’s casual attitude was compelling Aamir to hire another director. That was the first time when someone challenged undisciplined attitude of Mahesh Bhatt and we all know that it was Vikram Bhatt who finally directed ‘Ghulam’. The character of Siddhu in this film gave a glimpse of the spark which is still visible in all his films.
Aamir had once said, “During the making of ‘Ghulam’ the realistaion dawned in that our attitude towards film-making is not correct. We lack assiduity. More concentration on the film plot and the roles we play is required. The diceristy in my roles which can be seen started with this film.
The dialogue writer of Ghulam, Ishaan Trivedi, also shares a similar view and opines, “It took four years to make Ghulam. During the making of the film I realised that Aamir was different from the lot and very serious about cinema. He used to take care of small things. He has an acute observation and behaves accordingly. He keeps on questioning about every minute detail and non-intellectuals take this habit of his as unwanted intervention. Amir has a strong memory and he utilizes this to the fullest.”
India and its citizens
The release of ‘Sarfarosh’ after ‘Ghulam’ presented Aamir in a totally different light and placed him way ahead of his contemporaries. This film was directed by John Matthew Mathan. This film highlights the patriotism of the protagonist in a balanced manner. Then came ‘Lagaan’ which carved a new chapter in the history of Indian film industry. ‘Lagaan’ was the first Hindi movie to get completed in one schedule with one final script. This film had all the ingredients which were unacceptable as per the norms of Hindi film industry then. It was Aamir’s film believe in the film’s director and script-writer Ashutosh Gowariker which made the making of a classic film possible. Apart from winning millions of hearts, this film got nominated for Oscars in the category of Best Foreign Language film. The film’s success instilled self-confidence in Aamir who was also the producer of ‘Lagaan’.
Personal life problems
Post ‘Lagan’ Aamir went through many ups and downs in his personal life. He divorced his wife Reena whom he had married at the age of 21. Reema was his neighbor. This emotional jolt turned Aamir into a loner. He clashed with media also. It took a lot of time for him to come out of the emotional vacuum.
His next film ‘The Rising’ released after four years. He donned a totally different look in this film. He grew his beard and hair. Audiences liked him as Mangal Pandey.
Impact of his films
Aamir’s next film was Rakesh Omprakash Mehra’s ‘Rang De Basanti’ which had a revolutionary tone set in today’s times. Aamir played the character of Daljeet aka DJ and became a youth icon in no time.
This film left a strong impact on India’s youth. Youths thronged the streets to demand for punishment to the culprits of Jessica Lal murder.
Tone of patriotism
Aamir’s three films released in the last decade- Lagaan, Rang De Basanti and The Rising- had a patriotic tone. Despite his innovative film-making ways, Aamir believes that the main aim of cinema is to entertain viewers. He is a champion of showcasing Indian culture in films which includes everything from songs to action and dance. He clearly states, we are neither social reformers nor keen to make films politically inspired films. Humanitarian in his thoughts, Aamir feels he is close to Gandhism. He firmly believes that the country’s future lies in Gandhian thoughts. When a reader of Danik Jagran asked him if he would continue chasing Britishers in all his films, Aamir replied, “My country’s problems do affect me and I am concerned about these as a citizen of India. Still, I do not consider myself anything more than an entertainer.”
Experimentations and variations
The films produced by Aamir Khan Productions are a symbol of experimental films and have lot of variations. All the films are different from one another but each one of them has Aamir’s special; touch.
Audiences love all his films which clearly show that he has something special in him. He has the power to attract audiences to the theatres. Film scholars and trade pundits do believe that it was Aamir’s Midas touch which attracted crowds for films like ‘Peepli Live’, ‘Dhobi Ghaat’ and ‘Delhi Belly’. Apart from these, Aamir took the huge risk of starring in a film like ‘Taare Zameen Par’ other than shouldering the responsibility of directing and producing the film. He says that this film has given him the maximum satisfaction. Aamir feels that post this film parents in India started accessing their children’s capability in a different way. They came to know about their children’s talent and their conception towards grade system altered.
In his film ‘Three Idiots’ the pressure faced by students enrolled in professional courses was shown.
Aamir’s character in the film Rancho never gave in but fought against all odds. These films have played a pivotal role in changing the perception of the Indian society towards education.
Secret behind success
Aamir’s perfectionist attitude is known by all. I was with him in Pondicherry a few days back. He was shooting Reema Kagti’s film ‘Dhuan’. He revealed that he has already started preparing himself physically-mentally for his next flick ‘Dhoom 3’, the shooting of which will start in January 2012.
Aamir’s devotion to his work and concentration is what makes him perfect. Like a painter or writer, he draws the blue-print of the role as he is going to portray way before the actual work starts.
The truth is that Aamir got only 48 hours time to prepare himself for the role of Bhuvan in ‘Lagaan’ and three days to take the direction of ‘Taare Zameen Par’ in his hands.
Aamir is neither a true genius nor he is a method actor. He does not maintain a similar look or mannerism in all his films like Amitabh Bachchan or Shahrukh Khan. He works a lot on the characters he is required to play. He had once said, “Every character has its unique nature. If you can firmly gauge that, you will be able to easily portray the role.” This truly reflects in all of Aamir’s screen roles.