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Aamir Khan: Bollywood's most adventurous star

By Subhash K Jha, IANS

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Has Aamir Khan married again? He could have.

But I have no way of knowing. Two years ago he'd have probably confided in me, and added, "Please don't write about it." And I wouldn't have. There are values that go far beyond story, no matter how sensational.

I can't deny Aamir is the most adventurous performer in India. Unlike the other two members of the Khan triumvirate, Aamir has taken risks, gone against the flow and generally been more than just a mega-star.

What's more, I've always found him to be extremely true to his word. If he had ideological differences with Ram Gopal Varma and a fellow-journalist, no amount of reasoning would convince him to the contrary...if he thought popular awards were rigged, he didn't change his mind about boycotting them even when "Lagaan"
and Aamir won a truckload of trophies.

At one point of time I was actually close enough to Aamir to reason with him. Aamir was too polite to argue back. But I knew he was capable of fighting back when pushed against the wall. Here was a man who would stand by his convictions.

I got to know Aamir five years ago. It was the night of Diwali when the phone rang. An alien voice introduced itself. "Hi. I'm Aamir Khan...had to call because Asha aunty asked me to."

He was referring to my dear friend Asha Parekh, a close friend of the Khan family whom I had asked for an introduction.

I introduced Aamir to Lata Mangeshkar. She happened to mention to me that Aamir had sung the hit "Aati kya khandala" in tune. When I conveyed the compliment to Aamir he sounded genuinely zapped. I arranged for them to meet up. Lata presented him with an expensive watch. Aamir was overwhelmed.

"I've to find some way of repaying her kindness," he told me. Later while he was shooting for "Sarfarosh", he bought her a shawl. I never got to know if the gift reached Lata.

Aamir Khan WallpapersFor "Lagaan", he recorded a beautiful devotional song with her. "I get goosebumps every time I hear it," he told me. A few months later he re-recorded a portion of the song in another voice without Lata's consent and paid her a visit along with his director to inform her of the "technical necessity" for doing what he did.

Initially, Aamir and I hit it off instantaneously. I liked his straightforwardness, I loved the way he put every incident in his life in perspective, dissected every dimension of his career graphically and made every professional decision appear to be a matter of life and death.

I also liked the way he would defend even his indefensible films, for example Indra Kumar's "Dil" and "Ishq", which, Aamir argued, were targeted at a different audience from the one that watched "1947-Earth". Even the reprehensible "Mela" got Aamir's full respect.

I liked his conviction, his passion and his commitment to bettering the quality of Indian cinema. Aamir could always look at the bigger picture. Most important of all he was extremely candid.

During an interview he called Kajol and Salman Khan undisciplined actors whom he'd never work with. "Are you sure you want to say that?" I asked him anxiously. "Yes," replied the man with convictions...and moved on.

Aamir Khan WallpapersI met him for the first time at his family residence in Bandra where at the point of time, he stayed with his then wife Reena. His parents stayed in another apartment in the same building.

After the meeting I told him I was happy to have him as a friend. "How can you use the term 'friend' so loosely?" he asked me. "It takes a lot of time and effort for me to become friends with someone."

To our misfortune, our rapport never reached that stage of evolution. I still haven't figured out why he chose to move away completely.

Was it because of the unpleasant happenings in his personal life? Perhaps the break-up (with his wife Reena) and other uncomfortable occurrences lowered Aamir in his own esteem. He couldn't really face those in front of whom he created an image of an idealistic family man.


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