As the Dhoom:3 star celebrated his 25th year in Bollywood yesterday, he nostalgically shared memories of his growth – from a nobody to the Perfectionist star – with the media at Dadasaheb Phalke Chitranagari, or Film City
There’s something special about Aamir Khan – something that has allowed him to stay in the movie business for 25 years now. But it wasn’t always so; famous filmmaker Tahir Hussain’s son wasn’t blessed with a red carpet welcome when he stepped into the film world. Ever since he began his acting career, there have been accusations coming his way – he’s too short to be a hero, he can’t dance, he’s very choosy, etc. But even today, 25 years later, Aamir Khan is still hot stuff!
It’s simple: you will not survive past your first film if you do not have ‘it’, that X-factor, that special something. And it is likely to keep Aamir on top, along with a strong overseas presence generated over a period of time that will help propel the NRI-friendly Dhoom:3 and Rajkumar Hirani’s P.K. catering to a more desi audience, for at least a few years longer. Khan himself tries to explain how it works….
On completing 25 glorious years in Bollywood!
The first couple of releases were unsuccessful and it was quite a difficult phase. I made mistakes, but I learned a lot from it. I realised I shouldn’t have done those films but now I feel good thinking had I not done these films, I wouldn’t have learned from my mistakes. I’ve learned the most from my mistakes. Whatever I am today is also because of my mistakes, not only because of the wise decisions I took. I made a very important decision – I won’t sign films for money, fame or name and not even for big banners. For me, it has always been whether my gut feeling, my instinct or my heart is allowing me to agree to do a film or not. If that doesn’t happen, I don’t say yes. I’m glad I stick to the decision of doing quality work.
On living the line – Akele hain toh kya gham hai!
Yes, I do believe in it (smiles). Don’t be afraid if you walk alone. When I started walking on the path called cinema, people around me said – he’s very choosy, doing fewer films just at the beginning of his career, ek ya do saal mein out ho jayega. They were also right to think that way because I wasn’t working according to typical conventional Bollywood norms. So people felt ke yeh zyada tik nahi payega. I realised this kind of work method suits me the most. God has been kind – mujhe itni kaamyaabi mili. I give as much importance and value to success as I give to failure.
On Aamir Khan – the brand, the power
I feel strength is connected to your determination. If I have the strength to lift 100 kilos, that’s great. But if that 100 kilos fell on someone and if you can’t lift that and set him free, then what’s the value of your strength? If you can’t channelise your strength in the right direction and towards the right cause, then there’s no point. Sachh aur saahas hai jiske mann mein… ant mein jeet usi ki rahein (smiles)
On his strong and weak points
Firstly, my junoon and madness as an actor to do something new all the time has got me where I am today. I know this could be dangerous. Secondly, I’m very stubborn. This attitude allows me to perform better. There were people who asked me not to do films which I eventually did at the beginning of my career. So the madness and stubborn nature helped me to evolve as an actor.
On why he thought he would never have attained super-stardom
I never thought I’ll reach this level. I never thought I’ll become a star, and that too a successful one! When I analyse my career, I truly wonder how I reached this place. I’m glad I’ve achieved all this by entertaining the audience. I thank filmmakers, technicians, co-stars and the audience from the bottom of my heart for their undying love and support, without which it wouldn’t have been possible. I’m also thankful to my entire family, including Reena (his first wife), Kiran Rao and my kids.
On his on-off equation with the media
It has been very good, so far (laughs). A few years ago I wasn’t happy with some people from the media who wrote false news related to me. They still write (smiles). I got very upset because I’m a very emotional person. I take things very seriously. When I get hurt, I keep mum. So I kept mum and decided not to fight with the media. I decided to stay away. But then the press felt I was getting arrogant. I asked myself what’s going wrong, why is it going wrong. I didn’t get answer. It’s during the pre-production work of Taare Zameen Par that I got the answer. I met a psychiatrist called Dr Shetty and asked him what’s the most important thing a child needs. He said every child needs four basic things – security, trust, dignity and love. It’s only then that I realised like every child, every grown-up and mature individual needs the same. I thought I’ll give these four things to the media, thinking perhaps it can better my relationship. I made up my mind thinking that if someone wrote negative things about me, I’ll not retaliate and not stop talking to him or her. Even if you cheat me, I’ll still trust you. I’ll respect you and won’t insult or slap you. I’ll give love to you. When I gave these four things, I started feeling the media attitude towards me changed.
On his association with Bombay Talkies and Salman Khan
I’m glad I completed 25 years of my career this year when cinema completed 100 years. I feel bad thinking I couldn’t create something related to 100 years of Hindi cinema. I wish I had more time to conceive something related to it. And I wish Salman could’ve been a part of Bombay Talkies. I’m glad to be associated with Bombay Talkies film in whatever capacity I could be.
On TIME magazine’s cover as one of the 100 most Influential People of 2013
I was very glad to be part of 100 most influential people of the world. I’m flattered to receive the honour. I’m a big fan of Daniel Day-Lewis and I’m happy I got the opportunity to spend some time with him. I also interacted with Steven Spielberg. While interacting with the world press, I learned they were quite impressed by the TV show Satyamev Jayate.