Aamir Khan does everything with his signature style...be it acting or marketing his film. While he travelled incognito across cities for promoting 3 IDIOTS, after the release of the film he is out with his team on a 'Thanks Giving' tour. The 'intelligent' Rancho in conversation with Our Correspondent.
You are known for doing intelligent cinema. But how real are your characters?
Good question to start with! (Smiles) I think my characters in all my films are more real than most roles other actors pursue.
Let's take - RANG DE BASANTI (RDB), GHAJINI and 3 IDIOTS. Your characters are more like 'what it should have been' than 'this is what real characters are'...
I am not denying that. The characters are based in reality; coated with fiction. But at least, I try to convey some message through my films; the latest being 3 IDIOTS, where we have taken up education system.
It seems you love playing a college student-be it RDB or 3 IDIOTS. How comfortable you are playing a college goer in your 40s?
People say I still look 18...no, sweet 16! (Laughs)
Okay. So, what goes behind this teenager look?
I had followed a strict diet for 3 IDIOTS and when you lose weight automatically you look younger. And also I drink a lot of water...4 litres of water a day at least. That keeps the skin fresh and I play a lot of games like badminton and all. That's all.
'I don't consider myself as a brand.'
Coming back to 3 IDIOTS, where did you get the idea to promote the film incognito?
The idea is mine...I was thinking what will happen if Aamir Khan suddenly disappears like Rancho in the film, and his fans and friends start looking for him. I told the idea to Vidhu Vinod Chopra (producer) sitting in front of his house and he laughed at me...he thought I am mad. But was adamant and decided to give it a shot.
How was the experience?
It was a wonderful experience...travelling to those parts of country I have never been before, meeting people; connecting to the roots of my country...I will always cherish and remember those days.
CHECK OUT: 3 IDIOTS Movie Review
Which place did you enjoy the most?
All. I think each state is so unique in its own culture. You see the terrains, language, food changing as you move on. That's how I became so fat!
But there are places where you didn't go in disguise...
Yes...places where I wanted to bring attention of people onto some issue, I didn't go in disguise. For example, when I went to the weavers to highlight their problems and issues, I didn't play a game. I went as who I am; they didn't know I was coming, so they were surprised. Similarly, I went as myself to a school in a small village in Gujarat to promote education, especially importance of education of girl child.
Now what made you stay away from partying on the 31st December night and come to Kolkata?
The reactions we are getting from Kolkata are really wonderful. So we came here to thank West Bengal for the kind of reception they have given to the film. We interacted with the audience at Fame Cinemas, and had a charity screening for army wives. Not only Kolkata, the 3 IDIOTS team decided to tour across 7 cities in 7 days and thank people for liking the film so much. We started with Bangalore.
What's your New Year resolution?
You know when I was doing 'Bharat darshan' for two weeks, wherever I went, I got lovely food. So I ate a lot; especially in Kolkata at Sourav dada's (Sourav Ganguly) house, the food ...the sweet dishes were too good! So now I have become a 'rasgulla' myself. So my New Year resolution is to lose weight and get back to shape.
Why do most of your films stir up controversies-be it LAGAAN, RDB, MANGAL PANDEY and the latest 3 IDIOTS?
It's for the media to tell. Don't believe in everything that you write. (Winks and smiles)
But the Chetan Bhagat controversy is not media-made. What do you have to say on that?
We have exactly followed the agreement that Vinodji (Vidhu Vinod Chopra) and the production house had with Chetan Bhagat. His name shows in the last rolling credits along with others.
Still Bhagat is very upset....
Yes...I know that he is very upset. Even I am upset with him. As an uninterested
party, this is my opinion that it is unfortunate that Chetan is behaving in this manner. Credit should be given where it is due. Do you know who Abhijat Joshi is? He is the one who wrote LAAGE RAHO MUNNABHAI and worked on the script of 3 IDIOTS for three years. The due credit has been given to him by the producer and director. He is not as well-known as Chetan Bhagat, who is a big star in the world of writing. Chetan is trying to get the credit away from Abhijat, which I am very upset about.
'I wanted to do characters of Mahabharata.'
Did you ever talk to Chetan Bhagat on the credit issue?
One day Chetan came to the sets of 3 IDIOTS. I told him-'Chetan, I have not read your book. But I will read it sometime.' In reply, he said, 'You don't need to read it at all because the story that Abhijat and Raju (Rajkumar Hirani) has written, is very different from my book.' These are his words...I am a witness. Now that the film has become successful, I think he is trying to get some publicity. Starting point...idea was 'Five Point Someone'...but the script was changed entirely. If you have seen the film, pick out all the 15-20 highlight scenes of the film, and show me if any one of them is similar to the book. No one should be confused that Abhijit is the writer of our film. He also wrote LAAGE RAHO MUNNABHAI...was that also copied from Chetan Bhagat! Don't get confused by a person trying to get publicity.
CHECK OUT: 3 IDIOTS grosses over Rs 100 crores in 4 days
Okay. Let's come back to lighter topics...
Thanks a lot...it's no point wasting time on a person like Chetan Bhagat.
Going by the film, what do you think an ideal education system should be?
I think there is a lot we can improve in the kind of education we give your children. The present minister for education, Mr Kapil Sibal, is doing a lot of progressive work in the field of education. I would like to see children encouraged to question, to use their minds; not just taught to memorize things. It's important to encourage them discover for themselves where their heart lies.
If you were a teacher, what subject would you have taught?
I don't know yaar. I like physics, humanities... (pauses)... and also cinema. So may be cinema.
- Sreya Basu, IBNS, Bollywood Trade News Network