Aamir Khan reflects back as he celebrates 30 years in the film industry

Aamir Khan is known for his excellent choice of scripts and roles and has been one of the pioneers in introducing what is now considered as a replacement of yesteryears’ ‘jubilee weeks’ – the 100 crore club. The actor took a trip down the memory lane as he completed 30 years in the movie business.

At a group interview that was held by the Dangal actor this week on the occasion of his accomplishing 30 successful years in the film industry, the actor revealed how different elements at various stages of his life helped him make what he is today.

Having a long career stint is made up of plenty of memories right from your first film to the one that he worked on last that is Thugs of Hindostan. Talking about one such vivid memory from his first day shoot of Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, Aamir said, “It was my first day of shooting, we were in Ooty. The scene was where we are lost, and I was lying on the straws. All of a sudden there was so much fog there that we had to wait the whole day to shoot, and I felt that if my first day of shooting as an actor is a washout, then this isn’t a good omen. I hoped my career wouldn’t be like that (laughs).”

Aamir Khan and Juhi Chawla in Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak.

Aamir has upped his performance with every film and hence is still one of the reigning superstars of Bollywood. But ask the actor about his opinion regarding his acting chops, and he gives you a simple answer, “I’m not a born actor… like Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri, Dilip Kumar, Amitji (Amitabh Bachchan), Zaira (Wasim). They all are a powerhouse. When they give a shot, it comes out very naturally and effortlessly. I don’t think I have that gift.” He explains this referring to a case he observed while shooting for Dangal. “When we were rehearsing for Dangal, Zaira got the accent in about a week’s time while I took four months to get it right and still on the days we used to shoot I used to struggle with it. So I need to work my way to get it right, I’m not a natural.”

Aamir Khan in Dangal.

He further explained what works for him as an actor, “The first reading I feel is so bad…(smiling) During Lagaan’s reading, I felt Ashutosh (Gowariker) would drop me from the film with the likes of Raghubir Yadav around. So my first reading is pathetic according to me. Post that I start working on it and my biggest strength is that I’m not scared to fail. So even if my rehearsals are bad, I keep doing it, so I figure out what and how I eventually want to pitch. Also, I have a good sense of performance. So while some are gifted, I know for me I’ve to work and achieve that point.”

Aamir Khan in Lagaan.

He also feels that his interest in human behaviour and psychology helps him make his performance more nuanced. “If I am hurt and enact the same then it isn’t that effective, I feel. But if I’m hurt and don’t act so, but audiences get that feeling of me being hurt then my performance has got layers in it. The moment your performance is layered, it automatically gets richer, otherwise, it all looks superficial. As humans we are not one-dimensional, so acting also needs to be layered as at a time we have many feelings inside us and hence a layered performance is better,” said the actor.

Aamir Khan in Rajkumar Hirani’s PK.

Over a span of 30 years, surely there must have been one character that would have been difficult for even him to play on screen, and pat comes the reply, “It has to be PK. It is because I play an alien and I have no reference points. But Raju gave me a good cue. He said that I should think I’m from the earth and have been transported to a different planet. ‘Now think this way, and everything will be new to you,’ he had said. But no, this was also difficult because actually, I know everything that is there on earth but my actions cannot convey that. So the process of unlearning was challenging.”

Aamir Khan with Thugs of Hindostan co-stars Katrina Kaif and Fatima Sana Sheikh.

So now that he has completed 30 years, does he want to venture into the digital medium, which is touted as the future of entertainment market in India? The actor doesn’t deny the possibility. “I think it’s an exciting medium. Web series is a concept that gives you a lot of freedom as a creative person. Because you are not restricted to telling a story in two hours, you have a longer span to tell the story, you have an opportunity to dive deeper into characters. So I think it’s a great format. So far I’ve not delved into it yet. Let’s see if something interesting comes then, maybe.”

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