Aamir Khan on apologizing for Thugs of Hindostan: ‘I was very sorry, hurt and upset that we went wrong’
Actor Aamir Khan doesn’t come with the ego that comes with being one of the biggest names in showbiz. He humbly accepts success, and candidly takes credit for his films’ failures, too. Last year, Thugs of Hindostan (TOH) tanked at the box office, and he feels like apologising to viewers “for not living up to the expectations”.
In a chat, he discusses success, films and if he wants to do more than one film a year. Well, for the last question, he says, “The pace has reduced considerably. It’s more like one [film] in two years. TOH was on last Diwali, and Laal Singh Chaddha will be out on Christmas next year, so, it’ll be a little over two years.” Excerpts:
Do you ever feel insecure when you see other actors doing multiple films in a year?
Never! When I see my colleagues doing good work, it makes me happy. Ayushmann (Khurrana, actor) is doing such amazing work that I want to see his films as an audience. Each one of us is unique, so no need to be threatened by anyone for anything.
When TOH didn’t work, you were kind enough to openly take the responsibility, something actors wouldn’t do a decade ago. What drives your actions?
Actually, it’s not being kind enough. I’ve always felt responsible for my work, but for the last 18-19 years, I didn’t have a film that didn’t do well, so that’s why people might have felt I was doing this for the first time. And especially because it was a much-awaited film; people had high expectations, so I was very sorry, hurt and upset that we went wrong. I felt emotionally that I should address it and apologise to people for not living up to the expectations.
Any lessons from that failure?
The maximum you learn is from your unsuccessful films. Failure teaches you the most. I’ve learnt many lessons but I’m not sure if I should share those publicly; that’s something I should discuss with my team.
Do you agree that big-budget films starring big names no longer guarantee success? In fact, more of a content-driven cinema is working these days…
We all try our best, but sometimes things don’t work. It’s a learning process. I feel a film doing well or not has nothing to do with the budget. No audience comes to watch a film saying ‘achha iska budget kitna hai?’ Whether you’ve made a film in ₹5 crore or 100 core, audience ko farak nahi padta, they don’t check your balance sheet, they watch your film. If they like it, the film does well. So, it can be a small-budget or a big-budget film or any kind of cinema.
Do you evaluate a film’s commercial viability, before signing it?
Actors should follow their instincts. If they like some material, they should do it. When I did Taare Zameen Par (2007), everyone told me it won’t do well. They said, ‘dyslexia kya hota hai, kisi ko nahi pata, yeh bachhe ki kahani hai, aap interval mein aate ho, yeh nahi chalegi, logon ko achhi nahi lagegi’. But I loved it, so I did it. Actually, for most of my films, I was told they won’t work.
If I calculated and thought like that, I wouldn’t have made Lagaan (2001) or Rang De Basanti (2006). So, if you love something, don’t think of the consequences — of success or failure.
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