Love him for his movies and his eight-packs or hate him for his shrewd marketing moves. While he has always been accused of sidelining his co-stars and directors, his films bear his trademark stamp. So, here’s Aamir Khan on his mark of quality, in a sawaal jawab mode with Hiren Kotwani.
Hello, getting the multiplex staffers to sport your Ghajini hairstyle indicated that you’re taking your rivalry with Shah Rukh Khan a few steps ahead.
We’re coming on December 25.. we had planned the date two weeks ahead. The release of Rab ne Bana di Jodi is irrelevant to our planning. We couldn’t prepone or postpone the campaign even by a week. It was a novel idea to publicise our film. In no way does it reflect on the movie that is running now.
Reportedly, Shah Rukh Khan said that you need his film to promote yours. So he’s a bigger star and a bigger brand. Comment.
Shah Rukh has been saying a lot of things about himself for the last 20 years. I take whatever he says with a pinch of salt. Let me put it this way — he’s the guy who needed half the industry to make Om Shanti Om a success.
But when you meet, you two act like long-lost buddies.
We share a good rapport. He pulls my leg.. I pull his. It’s nothing serious.
So why take Salman Khan’s side in his rivalry with Shah Rukh Khan?
I’ve not taken sides. I’ve worked with different directors.. followed my choice of films. I have a relationship with Salman, Shah Rukh, Anil Kapoor, Jackie Shroff and I value each of them.
Okay, why a remake of Memento?
Ghajini is not a remake of Memento, but of the Tamil film, Ghajini. And that wasn’t a remake of Memento either. I’ve seen both films. Nothing is similar, except the concept of short-term memory loss.
So, how come the Hindi remake is longer than the original?
Is it? I’ve no clue. It’s the same film.. (Smiles) maybe the language translation takes time.
You are completely involved in your movies.. from conceptualising to post-release publicity.
(Cutting in) No, I’m not. Most of my films have been conceived by the directors.. Rang de Basanti by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Rensil D’Silva and Kamlesh Pandey, Lagaan by Ashutosh Gowariker, Taare Zameen Par was conceptualised by Amol Gupte. Once I like the script, I become a part of it.
But they all bear the Aamir Khan stamp.
Do they? Ghajini belongs to Murugadoss. It’s his film, just like Rang de Basanti was Mehra’s, Dil Chahta Hai was Farhan’s (Akhtar) and Sarfarosh was John’s (Matthew Matthan) film. I follow the director’s vision. Over a period of time, my films have earned a certain amount of success. With each film, the expectations have gone up. I feel there’s a certain responsibility and I shouldn’t let people down.
But none of these directors could achieve the level of success they did with you.
If you say that their films haven’t worked minus me.. I guess that’s how the creative medium is. At times films work, at times they don’t.. what can I say?
So how come you never teamed up with them again?
I’d love to. In most cases, opportunities didn’t come. Ashu approached me with Swades, but I didn’t like it. Unless I’m totally in love with a script, I don’t want to do it. I don’t want to be unfair to the director or myself.
The unveiling of Ghajini was a one-man show. Only you were present from the team.
It’s very important to be honest with the film. Ghajini is the story of a guy and what he’s living with. It’s an emotional story revolving around the state he is in.
Apparently, Asin wasn’t too happy being sidelined in the promotion.
She never mentioned it to me. She knew the marketing strategies and had been part of the discussions. When the film releases, the audience will be like.. ‘Wow! Who’s this girl?’
Jiah Khan was also apprehensive about her role being edited and requested you not to cut her role.
She’s never brought this up with me. Her role hasn’t been edited. A little trimming here and there might have happened but no one’s role has been cut. In fact, Jiah’s role propels the film forward. There are three leads in the movie.. she’s one of them.
A part of the climax was re-shot in Panchgani because you weren’t too happy with it.
It was not the climax.. it was the post-script, if I may call it so. We had to wait till my hair grew to the required length.
You worked hard to build your physique for Ghajini. At 43, how difficult is it to maintain it?
(Smiles) Now, I’m actively working towards not maintaining it. I’ll start shooting for 3 Idiots in January. So I’ve been trying to lose my muscles. I’m an actor, not a body builder. My job is to look good in the role I’ve been assigned.
Reportedly, Vidhu Vinod Chopra added a clause in the 3 Idiots contract that once the script was finalised there will be no changes.
I trust Raju (Rajkumar Hirani) and Vinod. I don’t need a contract.. a verbal understanding is enough.
How far have you reached in your preparations for Taare Zameen Par’s Oscar nomination?
The preparations are through. I had gone to Los Angeles last month to finalise the publicist and give the necessary guidelines.
You’ve also been involved in your wife Kiran’s directorial debut, Dhobi Ghat.
I’ve never been at her film’s shoot. She’s doing well.. it’s about 80 per cent complete.
How has your relationship with the media been.. you stayed away for a long time?
Yes, two-and-a-half years, during Rang de.. and Fanaa. I’ve learnt to interact with the media. I’m a simple and straightforward person. I was perhaps being too hard. I realised that just like there are different people in the industry, there are different people in the media. Besides, the media was going through a phase.. there was a scramble for eyeballs, readership, TRPs.. and that’s still on.
For someone known to be a perfectionist, your personal equations with your father and brother Faisal aren’t too smooth.
I don’t speak about my personal life. So I’m afraid I won’t be able to answer that question.