His looks defy the age his birth certificate reflects. Yet 44-years-old Aamir Khan felt "acutely conscious and uncomfortable" playing a 22-year-old college student in his upcoming movie 3 Idiots, set to hit screens on December 24. Sporting a casual tee with cargo pants and sipping chai on the couch at his hotel room in Delhi, Aamir shared his thoughts with HT City.
We start by asking if there’s a question he feels absolutely sick of answering by now and he instantly answers, “Yes. ‘Do you ghost direct your films?’ is a question I’m so sick of. And the answer is still a big NO.”
Going on to talk about the movie at hand, he says, “3 idiots is a film I strongly relate to, no matter how clichéd it may sound. Raju (film’s director Rajkumar Hirani) and Vinod (producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra) tell me that in real life, I’m closest to the lead protagonist.”
To what extent have they been able to stick to the storyline of Chetan Bhagat’s bestseller Five Point Someone, on which the movie is ostensibly based? “I haven’t read the book. But Raju says it’s very different,” he replies honestly.
Flipping pages of William Darlymple’s Nine Lives, he goes on, “I found it tough to play half my age. So I observed young people without telling them. I even made fake profiles on Facebook and Orkut to interact with youngsters and understand their lingo and thought process.” We ask him if having a team where both he, as well as the producer and the director were successful filmmakers in their own right, created ego problems. “Not at all, in fact, whenever Raju wanted some creative feedback, he had a bouncing board in me and Vinod.”
Singing praises of Vidhu Vinod Chopra, he says, “Rarely have I ever come across a producer such as Vinod. He not only gave us absolute creative freedom, but was also excellent in selling the film to the distributors.”Moving on to some other reasons he’s been making news for, we ask him how much truth there is to reports that he reprimanded Prateik Babbar for not reporting on the sets of Dhobhi Ghaat (being directed by Aamir’s wife Kiran) and he looks genuinely shocked. "What? That’s totally made up. Someone clearly has an agenda to harm Prateik. Please make it very clear that no such thing happened. In fact, Prateik is so professional that I hope every actor takes inspiration from him," he says.
Aamir seems to have matured from days when he would easily take pot shots at fellow actors (read Shah Rukh Khan). We ask him if he would like to comment on filmmaker Farah Khan ditching close friend Shah Rukh and signing up Akshay Kumar instead, for her first home production. There’s a mischievous twinkle that lights up his eyes for a split second and then he answers in a very diplomatic tone, “I don’t know what to say to that. Since I’ve never been a part of any camp unlike some people, I can’t understand how it feels.”
Coming back to 3 idiots , is there a Ghajini like innovative promotional strategy up his sleeve? “Well, now people expect something different from me for every movie’s publicity. There is surely a strategy...very much in-sync with the character. But wait and watch.”