When Do Dooni Chaar (2010) was announced as the Best Hindi Film at the 58th edition of the National Film Awards earlier this month, first-time director Habib Faisal admitted that he had expected Aamir Khan Productions’ Peepli Live to bag the honour. But surprisingly, the actor-filmmaker had not submitted the Anusha Rizvi-directed movie.
When asked why he gave the National Awards a miss this year, since his previous productions Lagaan (2001) and Taare Zameen Par (2007), have all been honoured at the event, Aamir attributes it to his company’s policy decision. "I just want to stay out of it. I don’t want to apply for any award," he says point blank. "If an organisation feels they want to honour someone’s work, they can do it on their own."
Point out to him that he has, in the past, asserted respect and acknowledgement for the National Awards as the Government of India presents them, and he concedes, "I agree that it is the highest honour. But it’s a policy decision and henceforth, the only honour I’ll apply for, is the response of the audience to my movies."
Interestingly, this is not the first time Aamir has opted out of an award ceremony. In 1993, about five years after his big-ticket film Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988) released, the actor began shunning all popular award ceremonies. Reportedly, he was upset by the lack of transparency when Anil Kapoor was chosen as the winner for his performance in Beta (1992), over his in Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander (1992). It was back then that Aamir had expressed his belief in the National Film Awards.
Meanwhile, differences between him and Anusha are also being held responsible for his decision to not submit Peepli Live for the Awards. But he states otherwise, "It’s not just about Peepli Live. I’m not going to send Dhobi Ghat for the National Awards either. And it’s my wife Kiran’s film."
Ask him whether his fall-out with Amol Gupte had anything to do with his decision, and he explains matter-of-factly, "These are things you can’t predict. As a production house, we worked with different talent that was not established. Not only in terms of directors, but also actors and technicians. Once in a while such things happen, and you deal with it the best way you can."