Just a few days away from the release of Taare Zameen Par, the first film he has directed, he's game for a shootout of the verbal kind. So here's Aamir Khan in a gossip-trashing session with Roshmila Bhattacharya.
Why this love-hate relationship with the media? You turn to us only when you have a new movie coming up.
I didn't give a single interview before or after the release of Fanaa and Rang de Basanti. That wasn't because the films weren't close to me or that I didn't want to promote them. It's just that I don't really know how to deal with the media.
Since two years ago, the scene has changed with the mushrooming of channels and tabloids. Quite often, I'm shell-shocked by the aggressive stance of the press towards personal issues and their lack of personal responsibility. Both Fanaa and Rang de Basanti were huge hits. <b1>
Since then my journalist friends have advised me that if I make a film I believe in and want to make a difference, I can't shut myself away. The media is an important link between a creative person and his audience. So five months ago, I started giving interviews again. The release of Taare Zameen Par was still far away.
It seems to be a relatively small-scale film.. yet it took over 100 days to wrap up.
I've made 35 films. None of them has taken less than 100 days.
Have your children, Junaid and Aira, seen the film?
They've seen the rough cut and liked it.
Were they an inspiration in any way?
I wasn't inspired by my children but by Amole's (Gupte) script.
After taking over as director did you make changes?
I did suggest a few changes but that was before we started shooting. I loved Amole's script which is why I agreed to produce and act in the film. Obviously it has turned out differently from the way Amole had visualised it. Obviously, but he was present every day on the sets.
Apparently the friendship has hit a rocky patch?
I won't comment on something that's between Amole and me.
Are you an indulgent father or a disciplinarian?
Neither. I want my kids to grow up with character and integrity.. be happy and well-behaved. I've been a good parent, Taare.. has made me more sensitised to their needs. <b2>
Wasn't your divorce from their mother (Reena) heart-wrenching?
That's not relevant here.
Has Reena seen the film?
She's been a part of the film.
It seems when you were facing the camera, she would be behind it giving directions.
Never. She'll direct her own movie some day.
The buzz is that you've asked her to rework her script.
No, I loved her script and want Aamir Khan Productions to produce it. But she's very individualistic.. it's for her to decide if she wants to involve me or not.
Haven't there been problems in your second marriage too?
No. Such speculations are absurd!
It's said that during the shoot of Taare... you were a tyrant with the children. You even forced them to shoot in Panchgani at 7 a m, and made them drink chilled colas to wake up?
Colas? That's absurd!
Apparently, some kids weren't paid.
That doesn't deserve an answer.
It seems Amitabh Bachchan is upset with you and Mansoor Khan for not returning the advance paid to you by ABCL for Happy New Year.. even though the film never happened.
Look, we've returned the money. I'm one of Amitji's biggest fans.
He hasn't given you an appointment after you lashed out at him and Black in print.
Yes, I've heard rumours that he's upset and hurt with me. With that in mind I called his office for an appointment. Hopefully, we'll meet soon.
If you felt so strongly against
Black, why didn't you talk about it earlier?
I did say the same things soon after the film's release two years ago.
All's not well between the Khans either.
You mean Salman and Shah Rukh? We get along very well, thank you.
After Fanaa, the trade believes you will not make another film with Kunal Kohli.
Why wouldn't I? Why do you believe every rumour you hear? After the ban on Fanaa in Gujarat, the Narmada problem hasn't made headlines.
Was the issue politicised?
I'd like to stay away from politics. I'm not a neta, not even a social activist, only an entertainer.
Whether it's John Matthew Mathan, Ashutosh Gowariker or Farhan Akhtar, their subsequent films have been very different, affirming the belief that you ghost-directed Sarfarosh, Lagaan and Dil Chahta Hai.
That's unfair. They're talented directors.. the films belong to them.
Did you see their
No, but just because a film doesn't succeed isn't reason to negate the effort and the conviction. They're filmmakers of integrity and honesty.. that's important.
As an actor don't you have a responsibility too. How could you propagate violence in films like Fanaa and Rang
RDB was about how violence doesn't pay. The boys realise this after killing the minister and come clean. The spirit of Bhagat Singh and his revolutionary allies comes to the fore and they meet death, laughing.
was a love story against the backdrop of terrorism. Athough the couple loves each other intensely, the situation demands that one has to kill the other. It didn't propagate violence. <b3>
You were paid Rs 7 crore for Mangal Pandey. Today, even flop actors are charging more but the projects are no longer viable.
I don't know about others but as a star, it's my responsibility to ensure that people earn from my films. And I'm happy and proud that they do, every time.
Even from Mangal
Apparently Anees Bazmee's Welcome will not be welcome at PVR theatres because it releases the same day as Taare...?
PVR has been in the business for over a decade. Ajjay and Sanjeev Bijli are men with high morals. They'd never stoop so low just because they have co-produced Taare... We're going in for a medium release like Chak De! India.
We know Taare... won't disappear after the opening weekend. It's not Superman or Spiderman, it's more in the pitch of Life is Beautiful.
Apparently, you make an appearance in the movie only minutes before the interval.
I don't want to reveal anything except that both (child actor) Darsheel and I are playing the leads.
Meanwhile, Gajini has been put on hold till after the release of Taare... right?
I hadn't expected to direct Taare... Producing and acting are bad enough since I'm not good at multi-tasking.
Though I started shooting for Gajini after Taare... I was distracted by post-production. Fortunately, everyone involved with Gajini has been supportive.
Do they have a choice?
There you go. Absurd again!