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‘I don’t consider my birthday important, but others do’

He doesn’t like being called an evergreen actor. He prefers being alluded to as a chameleon who canconvincingly carry off any role.. any campiagn. As Aamir Khan turns 44, Hiren Kotwani gets him to cut a cake.. and feed him a slice too.

entertainment Updated: Apr 18, 2009 13:48 IST
Hiren Kotwani
Hiren Kotwani
Hindustan Times

He doesn’t like being called an evergreen actor. He prefers being alluded to as a chameleon who canconvincingly carry off any role.. any campiagn. As Aamir Khan turns 44, Hiren Kotwani gets him to cut a cake.. and feed him a slice too.

You think your 44th year will be as fruitful as your 43rd year?
I’m doing two films as an actor, 3 Idiots and my wife Kiran’s Dhobi Ghat, that I’m also presenting. I’ve two films as a producer, Delhi Belly directed by Abhinay Deo featuring my nephew (Imran Khan) and another helmed by Anusha Rizvi. All four films are breaking new ground. (Smiles) Let’s see if I can hold on to my 100 per cent track record.

Any special plans for the day?
My close friend, Satyajit Bhatkal, who wrote a book and made the documentary on the making of Lagaan, is starting his first film in Panchgani. I’m planning to surprise him by flying down there early and returning to spend the day with my family. I don’t consider my birthday important but others do.

You make their birthdays special too?
I’m bad at remembering dates. I remember Kiran’s birthday is on November 7, my mom’s on June 6, my son Junaid’s on June 2. My daughter (Aira) was born on May 8. Of my siblings, my brother, Faisal, came into this world on August 3, my elder sister Nikhat’s on August 4, my younger sister Farath’s on November 27. Reena’s birthday is on October 8, Mansoor on May 29, Imran’s on January 13.

Hey, actually I’m pretty good. When I’m around, I spend time with them. When I’m outdoors, I call to wish them. Your rivalry with Shah Rukh Khan is scaling new peaks.

(Smiles) For the last 20 years, he has been talking about me. I’ve ignored the comments. But when he was promoting Billuand hit out against me without provocation, I decided I had to retaliate. I’m human too.

It all started when you named your dog after him. Wasn’t that hitting below the belt?
We both laughed over that. And then, Shah Rukh makes fun of every actor at every award function he hosts. He’s made fun of me so many times and I haven’t protested.

But if he publicly says things about me that aren’t true I have to set the record straight. I have to defend myself. If he’s unhappy, he has my number and he knows where I stay. Now can we move away from Shah Rukh Khan please?

In a moment. I just wanted to touch on the comparisons that were drawn between your Ghajini and Shah Rukh’s Rab ne Bana di Jodi.. the endless debate over which was the bigger hit. Ghajini is the biggest hit of Indian cinema. It’s broken all box office records. Irrespective of the price it sold for, it’s made huge profits for its producer, distributors and exhibitors. There’s no debate there.

You built an eight-pack for Ghajini then lost muscle just as quickly for 3 Idiots. Isn’t that unhealthy?
I haven’t had any problems so far. I follow a healthy diet. Yes, it was heartbreaking to lose the muscles I’d built but it was for 3 Idiots, a script I loved. So I’m not unhappy.

You’re playing an IIT student in 3 Idiots at 44. You’re truly an evergreen actor?
I’m not interested in being an evergreen actor. I want to be a chameleon who can pull any role with conviction, whether it’s that of an 18-year-old or an 80-year-old. I don’t want to be young all my life, that’s going against nature.

Buzz is that you will be taking a year long sabbatical after 3 Idiots?
A break yes, but not that long. (Laughs) My fans will kill me. As it is they keep cribbing that I’m doing too few films.

Since you’re presenting and acting in a film being directed by your wife, who has the final say on Dhobi Ghat?
Kiran. She wrote the script, I liked it and had no hesitation being a part of the movie. The way she was going about the preparations was proof that she knew what she wanted. I’m playing a part only as an actor. I’m not even on the sets when she shoots with other actors.

Apparently, you’re also acting in Delhi Belly?
No, I’m not. And I’m not acting in Anusha Rizvi’s movie either.

Is the Anusha Rizvi movie a personal statement given your support to farmers affected by the Sardar Sarovar Dam project?
All my movies are statements. Anusha’s film is not about the dam, it’s a satire set in rural India. It’s about the way the administration works. It’s about local politics and how that connects with national politics. It’s about the role of the media and how we all react. It’s about.. (smiles) can’t say more.

You’ve signed up for Yash Chopra’s next as a director in a film co-starring Preity Zinta.
That’s just a rumour. I haven’t been officially offered any film by Yashji yet.

Arun Dutt is planning a biopic with you in mind to play his father, Guru Dutt, to be directed by director
Shivendra Singh. So is Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, who wants to cast you. Tough choice? Both are still being written. If they make me an offer, I’d decide after reading the script. I’m a huge fan of Guru Dutt, so if I do a film on him, it has to be really special.

Delhi 6’s performance at the box office reiterates the fact that most directors you’ve worked with in the past cannot deliver hits without you.

That’s unfair. It’s easy to make such comments sitting in your drawing room but making a movie is a difficult job. I chose to work with Ashutosh (Gowariker), John (Matthew Mathan), Farhan (Akhtar) and Rakeysh (Mehra) because they are talented guys and I believe in their potential.

If their films don’t work for some reason, that doesn’t take away from their talent. I’m sure they will all make great films in future.. even without me.

First Published: Mar 14, 2009 14:44 IST