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Salman plays Aamir’s muse

But for once Aamir falls short. Wife Kiran admits she had a childhood crush on Salman too, and he’s made his way into her movie as the screen idol of her aspiring hero.

bollywood Updated: Jan 21, 2011 18:46 IST
Roshmila Bhattacharya

A year after

3 Idiots

, Aamir Khan is back in the theatres today, as a painter, in wife Kiran Rao’s directorial debut,

Dhobi Ghat

. Arun, his character, is complex and introverted, the complete opposite of Aamir, or so Kiran believed. Till her husband confessed that growing up, he was a shy, studious boy whose leadership qualities only came out on the sports field.

“I played practical pranks on my cousins but in a room full of 20 strangers, I was like a wallflower,

chup chaap

(quiet) and

Allah miyan ki gai

(meek). That’s why when I first admitted to my cousin, Nuzhat, (nephew Imran Khan’s mother) that I wanted to become an actor, she retorted, ‘Are you mad!’ That was the general reaction of family and friends,” Aamir reminisces with a laugh.

Aamir Khan

He agrees that after becoming an actor he has opened up a lot. And having Kiran in his life has made him even more outgoing. Still, it took a while to convince her he was right for the part of Arun. “I screen tested a lot of actors for three months, looking for someone with a high level of skill, whose underplayed performance would catch the eye. Also, someone really good-looking because all the women in my film are attracted to Arun,” smiles Kiran.

“Aamir finally convinced me to audition him for the part so it could be used as a reference point. And once I saw his test, I knew I couldn’t settle for anyone less.” Not surprisingly, perfectionist Aamir decided to take art lessons before he metamorphosed into Arun. And it was his buddy Salman Khan who played muse.

“Salman is a fantastic painter. He’s presented me with four beautiful paintings that are up on our walls. I tried to copy one of them. It was just a face but it made me realise that I was a really bad artist but a good imitator,” Aamir chuckles. “I gifted the canvas to Salman. It holds pride of place in his living room. I guess, he didn’t want to break my heart.”

Interestingly, Salman’s own pictures are up on the walls of the


(shack) where Munna (Prateik Babbar) lives. Munna also wears a turquoise bracelet like the star. “He’s influenced by the film industry and aspires to be an actor too. So it’s natural for him to idolise a superstar like Salman,” reasons Kiran, admitting she had a crush on him too after seeing

Maine Pyar Kiya


“He was a young man and I was just a kid but it didn’t matter. I also enjoyed

Andaz Apna Apna

. The dance sequences in


were fun and

No Entry

was another very good performance. More recently, I loved


. Chulbul Pandey was a riot. Salman has great comic timing and is a fab muse.”