AAMIR KHAN tells Jyothi Venkatesh that every film that he does is different from the other and if he were to incorporate his own inputs in every film in which he is acting, each film of his would look like a clone
How did the spark for your TV show ‘Satyameva Jayate’ ignite?
‘Satyameva Jayate’ has been my most ambitious project. This began as a dream some six years ago. When Uday Shankar of Star TV asked me why I was not doing TV, it got me thinking. I realized that TV is a strong medium and it should be used to make people think. Uday coaxed me with the idea that I should think of dominating television now. That is how the spark ignited. After that meeting I actually started thinking about it passionately and produced and anchored the show.
Your next film slated for release is ‘P.K.’ Didn’t you feel that a subject like ‘P.K.’ would be risky for you?
My choice as an actor has always been very different from that of other actors. There was no message at all in ‘Delhi Belly’. Basically, I have been part of entertaining films like ‘Ghajini’, ‘Fanaa’, ‘Peepli Live’, ‘Dhobi Ghat’ and ‘Rang de Basanti’, besides socially relevant films like ‘Lagaan’, ‘Taare Zameen Par’, ‘3 Idiots’ and ‘Talaash’.
You have not acted in a suspense film after ‘Talaash’. Does it scare you that a suspense film does not have repeat value?
I know that a suspense thriller does not have repeat value, but I am confident that the audiences will like to go to watch my film the second time to know how the suspense has been resolved. Why do you think films like ‘Teesri Manzil’, ‘Gupt’, ‘Kahaani’ etc clicked in a big way?
Do you choose the script or does the script choose you as an actor?
The script demands the actor. To some extent it is the script that chooses the actor. I liked the script of ‘Lagaan’ when Ashutosh came to me to narrate it but said no to it because it had an unusual subject and I wasn’t frankly sure of its acceptance twelve years back and it went round and round and came to me at last, though I had agreed to be part of John Mathan Mathew’s ‘Sarfarosh’ immediately.
You did not agree to be a part of ‘Lagaan’ when Ashutosh came to you first and didn’t agree to be part of TALAASH when Reema and Zoya came to you first. Is it because you are lazy as an actor?
Whether it is Ashutosh Gowarikar or Farhan Akhtar or Raju Irani or John Mathew Maththan, all work hard like I do. I take time but it doesn’t mean that I am lazy as an actor. I have been working with new directors or unsuccessful directors, like Ashutosh whose first film PEHLA NASHA wasn’t a hit. Reema Kagti’s first film HONEY MOON TRAVELS wasn’t a big hit but it brought in profits for the producers.
How tough was it for you to get into the skin of your character in any film?
The physical part of generally building a part as an actor is usually very easy though I feel that the toughest part is to get into the head of the character, with the help of the director.
Why do you think rumors float around that you interfere with your directors every time you are working in a film?
It is absolutely wrong to say that I direct directors. Why should I direct for someone and give him or her credit? Please try to understand the logic. I always choose a film carefully only if I am confident that the director can deliver the goods. Every film that I do is different from the other. If I were to incorporate my own inputs in every film in which I am acting, each film of mine would look like a clone. When I worked in DHOBI GHAAT, I followed Kiran’s vision. When I worked in LAGAAN, I followed Ashutosh’s vision. My job as an actor is to help the director in realizing his or her vision without interfering with what he or she is doing. It is unfortunate that films of directors have flopped after they did a successful film with me but it does not mean that I have directed the films in which they had directed me.
Do you use the final cut?
Fortunately as an actor, I am extremely clear that the director is the captain of the ship and it is his or her vision that I have to follow as an actor. The decision has to be his or hers though as an actor I may be allowed to suggest. I also know that if I give my suggestion, the responsibility also becomes mine. When I do a film with a new director, I give my inputs to use the final cut, because I have invested in the industry and the audiences have expectations from me. However, I do request the director but do not demand. I do not force and I use my creative inputs if and only if the director is comfortable. I have never misused my position as an actor and all my directors get to cut my film.
Why do you not like attending awards functions?
I do not attend awards functions whether in India or abroad, because to me the reward at the box office is more important than the awards.
Is it true that you do not enter your film even for the prestigious National Awards?
In the past, all films produced by my banner like LAGAAN, TAARE ZAMEEN PAR and JAANE TU YA NA JAANE NA have been bestowed with the National awards but as a matter of policy, we at Aamir Khan Productions decided not to enter our film PEEPLI LIVE for the National awards at all. This decision of mine had nothing to do with Anusha Rizvi who had directed the film, though she went on record expressing her displeasure that we did not send her film for awards.
We stopped applying for the National Awards, after TAARE ZAMEEN PAR. I did not send even Kiran Rao’s film DHOBI GHAAT for consideration for the National awards. Let’s face facts. I am a creative person and I do not want to lobby for awards. I did not even lobby for the Oscar though LAGAAN was nominated for the Oscars and was in the top 5 contenders.
You have this tag of being Mr Perfectionist!
I am not at all a perfectionist. It is the media which has given me this label. Ooparwala alone is the perfectionist, I just take my work seriously and also enjoy it.