Aamir Khan: honest man or diplomatic liar?

The latest item boy in B-town talks about his equation with Amitabh Bachchan, the importance of being honest and why he has not followed up Raakh with more gritty, edgy films

Talking to Aamir Khan is like going on a rollercoaster ride. Not because he talks very fast, but simply because when you are on the ride, your negative perceptions of B-towners get turned upside down. Of course, they also get turned right side up almost immediately. But you’ll have to wait just a li’l bit to get to that part!

So here’s someone who is (or at least comes across as) an intense, honest man who easily pokes fun at himself. Ask him whether he will once again turn singer, what with so many actors doing so recently, and he quips, “I tried it once and by mistake I did well. I don’t want to do it again and end up shattering people’s misconceptions that I can sing.”

Honesty is very important for this Khan, even when he is the producer and his money is at stake. “I see marketing as an extension of filmmaking. And I believe you must be honest in your marketing. You should never let down your audience or cheat them. That’s why during Dhobi Ghat I said from the beginning that it’s an arthouse film and everyone won’t like it. People complained, but I was only telling the truth. Who wants to see an arthouse film nowadays? Nobody.”

He doesn’t even take credit for the string of hits he’s had recently. “There are many reasons for success and I am not the only reason. All the films have originated in the mind of the writer with whom I have no connection. So, if you say, ‘Aamir you have had so many successes’, I am not a solo player. It is a team effort and in that team the two main people – writer and director – are not me.” (With Taare Zameen Par, which he directed, being the only exception)

Honest and humble? And a sincerity that makes you believe he is for real? Surely there must be a crack in the facade somewhere. And there is. Not much of a crack, but it’s there. One you’ll notice every time he pauses and strokes his new moustache before answering a question. Here’s what he said that made us think that:

On similarities between Bhaag DK Bose and an American album

“I don’t know anything about it. But I am sure it was not intentional.” (Really?)

On Bbuddah Hoga Terra Baap releasing on the same day as Delhi Belly

“I am a huge fan of Amitji. If the film is good, people will like it. From the bottom of my heart I wish that while my film is successful, his film is 10 times more successful than ours.” (You want another film to make more money? You expect us to believe that?)

On good films like Guzaarish not doing well

“I haven’t watched the film, so I can’t say.” (Or you just don’t want to say that you don’t think it’s a good film?)

On not doing gritty, dark films like Raakh and sticking instead to commercially viable cinema:

[Long pause] “There’s no particular reason. I just move towards scripts that excite me at the spur of the moment. And I haven’t received any such script yet.” (Come on!)

On working with nephew Imran Khan

“As soon as we get a good script.” (Or are you waiting for Delhi Belly to make Imran more commercially viable?)

On the promo of Ram Gopal Varma’s film Not a Love Story releasing with Delhi Belly

“Whenever my film releases, people request me to add their promos with it. When Ragini MMS was releasing, I had requested Ekta (Kapoor, its producer) if I could add my promo with the film and she sweetly agreed. It’s nothing new.” (Or you just don’t want to get into the middle of the war between RGV and various influential members of the fraternity, yet not offend your Rangeela director?)

So, is Aamir refreshingly honest or an artful dodger? Or just plain diplomatic? You decide…