The ongoing 12th Hindustan Times Leadership Summit got its glamour qoutient right when Bollywood beauty Deepika Padukone, actor Aamir Khan and filmmaker Karan Johar came together for a session.
If Deepika Padukone was synonymous with beauty and talent, the one word that came to the mind when one thought of Aamir Khan was respect, is how Karan Johar introduced his twin guests.
And when you have Karan Johar moderating the entertainment session of the 12th Hindustan Times Leadership Summit, laughs and cheeky comebacks are guaranteed. The session was made more entertaining by the presence of actors Aamir Khan and Deepika Padukone, as they talked about how cinema is changing in India, women-centric films and the run for the 100-crore box-office earnings.
“At one time, we had a pretty narrow understanding of what mainstream Indian cinema is. Now it has really widened; filmmakers are making films that earlier wouldn’t have been made,” Khan said when asked where Indian cinema is at today. “Now such alternative films are being seen by a large number of people as well, so the audience has also changed. They want a fresh voice.”
To illustrate the point further, Aamir said, "Taare Zameen Par would have been an arthouse flick in the '70s." It's another matter that it ended up becoming a big box-office success.
Khan also brought to focus the 100-crore phenomenon and shed light on why there’s such emphasis on the box office these days. “One of the most damaging things that’s happening today is that a lot of top filmmakers and actors are selecting scripts that would make 100, 200 crores. And I am including myself in that. A lot of top, successful people are afraid to experiment. We really have to let go off that fear, if we want to make films that are different.”
Padukone, when urged to make any “final statement of sorts” on the recent controversy surrounding a certain visual that was published and circulated on the web, said, “I think I’ve said what I want to say, and that’s about it. It’s not about attacking one person or trying to create any kind of negativity, it’s about standing up for yourself and making people aware of where we as a society are going wrong.”
Throwing his weight behind Deepika was Aamir who further went on to say that manner in which not just films but media also show women isn't right.
Given her non-film background, Deepika mentioned how she never really felt any pressure at the time of her debut. And the reason was that she never had any expectations. "I didn't go with any expectation. I had never been in the film set before."
When Karan asked her about the shelf-life of an actress, the charming lady, replied, "The question itself was wrong."
Pressure had a different meaning when it came to Aamir Khan. Here's what Karan asked Aamir: did he feel pressurised by that behemoth called box office? To which Aamir quipped: "When we choose to make a film, we should stop thinking of the money it will make. Stories should be the main reason to make a film."
Aamir felt audience shouldn't be held responsible for this pressure that many filmmakers tend to feel. The quest of every filmmaker is to tell a good story and keeps his costs down. The good thing, today, is a lot of young talent want to tell stories.
Moving on, Karan asked Aamir if he seriously thought cinema was a soft target. On the cue, Aamir agreed that cinema was indeed a soft target. Elaborating further, he mentioned how when Karan Johar was facing the ire for My Name Is Khan, he called theatre owners to pitch in for Karan.
"When I heard about your film My Name is Khan, I was disturbed. I called up theatre owners and said you shouldn't buckle under pressure."
Karan wanted to know from Deepika what she thought of competition in the world of glamour and movies? To that she said that she in fact like competition but that it has a completely different meaning for her. As a sportsperson, she thought of competition in a healthy way. "Everyone is definitely competitive but I think for me its different. As a sportsmen, it is not about negativity, for stepping onto some one else's shoes. It tells you to learn from my mistakes, improve oneself."
Deepika Padukone reflects on the cleavage controversy
Any conversation with a Khan can't be complete without reference to the complete domination for the three Khans in the industry. Aamir said that they were the 'trimurti' of Bollywood only because of our surnames. But he was quite categorical that there dominence was never a nice thing.
The usual questions about the other Khans were thrown at Aamir, who answered, “There should be ten other Khans who’re equally good.” The session came full circle when later the leading actress was asked by an attendee, “Are you threatened by actors these days exposing more, sometimes baring all with just a transistor?” (The hint was clearly at Khan’s soon to release PK and its much controversial posters). Khan answered on her behalf, amidst much laughter, saying even then people would still look at Padukone.
"For me, I would want more stars. There should be 10 of us who should be popular. As creative people we should encourage young people to come forward. Three is less, we should have more of us."
Incidentally, Aamir Khan loves Ranbir Kapoor in Barfi!. And yes, Deepika thought Katrina was one of the most 'hard-working actors' in the industry!