Thursday, July 10, 2008

Interview: Aamir Khan

The God Of Small Things

Aamir Khan, who’s made big hits out of small films like Taare Zameen Par and now, Jaane Tu… speaks to Sandhya Iyer on the high hopes he has from his next, Ghajini and his love-hate relationship with the media

Aamir Khan is in a joyous mood after the super success of his film, Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na –a film he produced for his nephew, Imran. The actor, who has been intensely working out for the past many months for both his forthcoming films, Ghajini and 3 Idiots, looked in excellent shape and more importantly in buoyant spirits, as he came on a media visit to Inox, Pune.Accompanying him were Imraan, Genelia D’Souza, director of the film, Abbas Tyrewala and some of the other actors in the film.

On Ghajini
If Jaane Tu… can do so well with Aamir merely being a producer on it, does it scare him to think the response his next, Ghajini could elicit? Clearly, the prestige factor is working heavily in his favour, wherein any film he’s associated with finds an enthusiastic audience these days. Ask him about it and he smiles, “It indicates people trust my abilities and I’m very happy about that. I took up Jaane Tu… because I believed in the film. The foremost criteria is that I should be convinced about the script and that is how I will be moving forward with my production house as well,” he says. Considering that his name seems to spell magic these days, what kind of opening is he expecting for Ghajini? 50 crores? Aamir chuckles at the suggestion. “That’s a film I like a lot too,” is his knowing reply.

On ‘Different’ films
For a while now, the audiences have come to expect the unexpected from Aamir. Does he feel the pressure of delivering something unique each time? “I do tend to get attracted to subjects that may not always be good for the mainstream. My near and dear ones keep telling me not to take such risks. But when I take on a serious script— which I believe in— I want to give it a platform and that’s a challenge I’m happy to take on. Mostly, I want to do all kinds of films – not necessarily ones with a social message. For example, Jaane Tu…is not a very different film, it’s the treatment that is very fresh. Similarly, Ghajini is a film I’m very happy with, but that doesn’t deal with any social issues either. It’s a romantic, action thriller, a classic mainstream film. Maybe my audiences won’t expect me to do that.”

On the Media
Aamir also went on a media overdrive for Jaane Tu….why such aggressive promotion? “The thing is, when I saw Jaane Tu…, I realised it was a very well-made film and I was telling Nuzhat (Imran’s mother –who I’m very close to) that if the film doesn’t run, it would be because of me. So it was my responsibility to ensure it was well-marketed and promoted and I did it,” he says.But in general too, he has warmed up to the media like ever before. Is it because he realised that staying aloof was resulting in his failures getting highlighted and successes underplayed? “Honestly yes, it was happening. I’ve been very outspoken and frank but I saw it didn’t go down well with a lot of people. I’ve always been available to the media, except during the release of Fanaa and Rang De Basanti. These films proved to be the biggest hits of my career! Not that I was trying to prove a point. I wasn’t happy about the situation at all. But then I realised I had to be part of the system if I desired to change it in any way. Much like RDB,” he smiles.
He’s also talking to the glossies now! “Yes, that’s because there’s not much difference between what film glossies and the mainstream press is doing these days. So it would be a case of double standards if I spoke to one and didn’t talk to the other” he admits.Does he believe the media has underplayed his success? Aamir has himself hinted, albeit jovially, about him being the real number one. Isn’t it about time he laid more serious claim on it? Aamir gets serious, “I have no doubt about where I want to be and where I am! As for the number game, this is something the media decides. If they aren’t saying I’m number one, it’s probably because I don’t deserve it. When I do deserve, they will say it,” he says.

On Television Shows
Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan are both into television shows? Is Aamir planning to follow suit? “I don’t think I’ll do TV. I mean, I appear on television regularly but I don’t think I’d like to do a game show. Not to say they are not fun. Both SRK and Salman are doing a great job but I just feel it’s not for me,” he says.

On Imran
So will he let Imran pick up awards next year? Aamir smiles and passes the myke to the newcomer who seems unconfortable with the questions itself. He says, keeping a straight face, “I don’t think I will get an award, especially since Aamir has upset everyone.” He then hems and haws and finally says, “Well, depends on how important the award is,” and then just lets the photographers cover him up, so as not to answer the question.