Their first honeymoon was at a super luxury resort in Panchgani. Their second, at a super congested chawl on Mumbai’s Muhammad Ali road. Aamir Khan and Kiran Rao never cease to surprise. To go unnoticed while shooting for their upcoming film Dhobi Ghat, in which Khan plays the lead and Rao is the director, the couple rented a Rs. 500 squitty room in the chawl and sneaked in one morning at 3.30am.
They did not step out for three-and-a-half weeks. “Someone used to sneak in food for us. I used to have my business meetings on the bathroom floor while Kiran shot in the other room,” says Khan, on a visit to Delhi. “To avoid getting recognised by the neighbours, we used to draw the curtains and switch off all lights by 7pm. Just the two of us and two burning candles,” adds Rao, now married to one of India’s most talented actors for the last five years.
When asked if Aamir is easier to live with than to work with, Rao shakes her head. “Aamir is the most difficult man to live with. He’s messy and chaotic. And he has hundreds of people coming to meet him everyday. My house is like a hotel. On the other hand, he’s a dream to work with — very methodical.”
Almost as identical in their answers as their cinematic philosophy, the couple replies in chorus when asked to rate each other on a scale of 1-10. “9.5. Both as a director and as a wife. That too only because it doesn’t look nice to say 10,” says Khan, playfully dangling her silver earring.
Recollecting how he never dreamt that the 3rd assistant on his 2001 film Lagaan would one day be his life partner, Khan says, “Kiran’s duty was in the make-up room. She and I were alone for long periods, but I never thought someday I would develop romantic feelings for her. She just had a huge calming effect on me.”
The Khans recently hosted a big bash for nephew and actor Imran Khan’s wedding. “We had a lot of fun at the wedding. It was amazing to spend time with the entire clan,” says Rao, adding how she shares a wonderful rapport with Aamir’s children from his first marriage, Junaid (17) and Ira (12). “Ira is very creative. She loves photography,” says Rao. Is Junaid, with his good looks, already getting film offers? “Sadly, Junaid is not interested in films at all,” replies Aamir. He adds, “I would have loved him to join the industry, just for the satisfaction of being able to discuss the craft with him. But then, it’s totally the kids’ decision on whether they do.”
We end by asking Rao who her favourite Khan is. “If not Aamir, then Salman,” she says. “Really? Not Imran?,” asks Aamir. “Nope. Always Salman,” she is firm.
(Ear)ring of love
The silver earrings that Aamir is seen sporting belong to wife, Kiran. He first borrowed them from her on the sets of Lagaan in 2001 for his character, Bhuwan. At that time, the two barely knew each other, and Kiran would keep asking Aamir to return or replace them.
On Chetan Bhagat turning up at his party (after the 3 idiots fallout) and director Anusha Rizvi’s diatribe. I was frankly very surprised to know that Chetan Bhagat came for Imran’s sangeet. Don’t know who invited him. I didn’t meet him or speak to him — Aamir
Anusha has a right to her opinion. But I will not let one unpleasant experience deter me from doing what’s right for my film (Peepli Live) — Aamir.