The results were pretty much expected. Aamir Khan, whose first film as producer, Lagaan, was the last Indian movie to get an Oscar nomination, has emerged as Bollywood’s No 1 actor-producer, in an HT Café survey across box-office pundits. This yardstick is significant, given all top movie heroes at present — Shah Rukh, Salman, Akshay, Saif… — are also producers.
Box-office collections, counted separately for works as filmmaker and leading man, reveal Khan as Bollywood’s only actor-producer to have made over Rs 1,000 crore in his past three outings.
Not a business
Khan has not signed on any films as actor after 3 Idiots. Instead, he’s turned full-time producer to release his three forthcoming productions, which he calls “small, unusual films”.
“Making films is not a business for me,” Khan explains. “I don’t go looking for scripts. And anyway, from the business point of view, I’d make much more as an actor, doing ads or movies, than as producer, in a given time-frame.”
Production, he says, happened to him accidentally: “I had seen my father go through hell as producer. The only reason I produced my first film, Lagaan, is because I wasn’t sure anyone could produce it the way it needed to be. The reasons were creative. I also feel that I have something important to contribute to Indian cinema as producer.”
Tapping world market
Khan, true to character, isn’t taking his new role lightly either. He reveals his plans to rope in UK’s leading arthouse distribution company, Artificial Eye, as international distributor for his next production, Peepli Live, which has already received glowing reviews at the Sundance and Berlin film festivals.
“I’ve been researching on how to tap the world movie market,” he says. At the same time, he points out, he’s not trying to “appeal to international markets by making crossover films.
“Apart from the NRI market, my films coming up have the potential to engage a world market. But I’m not interested in being a huge Hollywood star.
“I think we haven’t even tapped our healthy Indian markets,” he continues. “We have a population of 1.2 billion, and 3 Idiots, which is our biggest success till date, was watched by only five crore people in India. So there’s a huge audience that we still need to reach out to.”
Peepli Live: August 13, 2010
Dhobi Ghaat: End of 2010
Delhi Belly: January 2011
Aamir’s last three
3 Idiots (2009): Rs 289.93 crore
Ghajini (2008): Rs. 206.57
Fanaa (2006): Rs 135.04 crore
Jaane Tu… Ya Jaane Na (2008): Rs 99.70 crore
Taare Zameen Par (2007): Rs 117.28 crore
Lagaan (2001): Rs 165.07 crore