Actor Aamir Khan’s visit to the HT City office on Tuesday saw the perfectionist making doubly sure he had just the right amount of milk and no sugar in his tea, but what kept the audience­­ ­smiling even after laughs over that were his ­honest, down-to-earth confessions.
When one of the winners of HT City’s Stars in the City contest asked him why he thought of engaging in social service through his show Satyamev Jayate, Aamir said it was more for personal ­reasons: “Yes I am doing it to help people, but more importantly, it makes me feel good about myself.”
When another HT City reader asked him about the criticism his show has run into, especially with regards to its sources of funding, Khan said he doesn’t care for detractors. “Yes, a few people ­criticise ... a few people want to malign us, but we want to be focussed. I have decided to ignore all the criticism.”
The actor-filmmaker added that cynicism is the root cause of stagnation. “The fact is that we, including myself, are so cynical. We all think, ‘kuch nahi hoga ... bohut try kar liya, bohut dekh liya lekin kuch nahi hota’, and we are just not ready to believe that change can come about. I have been like this, too ... we are always doubting. So I don’t blame people. But change is a process and I’m hopeful it will come. We want to appeal to the better side of each human being ... not just the authorities.”
Aamir Khan spoke about things close to his heart, both professionally and personally, as he visited our office on Tuesday, to interact with the lucky winners of HT City Stars in the City contest. In a free-wheeling session, moderated by HT City Editor Sonal Kalra, the actor spoke about his show Satyamev Jayate, his family and his next directorial venture. Here are some excerpts:
Q: How do you decide the causes that you take up on your show?
We have a core team of around eight people. Each one makes a list of issues we should tackle. We also include suggestions sent by viewers, on our website. We put all of that on the table and then, we have discussions. We start with a list of 50 topics…argue and fight and finally, pick 13 or 14 topics for one season.
Q: The election season is in full swing and many celebrities are endorsing political parties. But we don’t see you doing so. Why?
I don’t believe in endorsing any political party. I think each one of us should decide for ourselves. I don’t want to influence people in any way. I’ve never done it in my acting career of 25 years, and I don’t even intend to do it in the future.
Q: How do you de-stress yourself after hectic schedules?
I love spending time with my kids (Junaid, Ira and Azad)... aur Kiran ji (wife Kiran Rao) ke saath bhi mujhe sukoon milta hai. Apart from that, I love reading books. Each person should indulge in one thing that takes him/her away from everything else. There was a time when I used to play squash and it was like meditation for me.
Q: When will we see you directing your next film?
Currently, I’m too involved with acting. I do have a script but I won’t be directing it for the next few years.
Q: Why don’t you attend Bollywood award functions?
Because I have no value for them... I attended Gollapudi Srinivas Award in Chennai, a national-level private award given to a first-time director in Indian Cinema every year. I got it for Taare Zameen Par. That award had value for me, and so I attended it. It was a truly moving experience.