Aamir Khan, the superstar of Bollywood never fails to impress us. Now with his upcoming Diwali release, Thugs of Hindostan, the star is ready to blow our minds away, like always! In this interview he admits that he feels no competition with SRK, wishes the best for Fatima Shaikh, shares more about Firangi and Paani Foundation. Popularly hailed as Mr. Perfectionist, Aamir Khan is known to do one project at a time and to get it right and also for experimenting with his look in each film and nailing it every time!
Q. You look different than your character in Thugs.
AAMIR: In thugs I was in very good shape but after my shooting gets over I tend to relax a bit. I’ve put on a little weight because people came up to me and told me that they can’t see me. After Diwali I will again start my workout. After shaving the beard and cutting off long hair also adds up to the difference.
Q. Do you miss your Thugs look?
AAMIR: Yes, I really miss it. I liked that look and for the character it was a bang on look. Aavan picked the right hairstyle for me and strangely, when they were planning the look, I had very short hair, I was doing Dangal. So, Aavan showed me some references and the ones which I liked had curly hair, so he told me to let my hair grow and afterwards he will make it curly and I was okay with it. It grew out curly only, for the first time in my life. I don’t know what mystery is it! Everyone was shocked, so those are my natural hair.
Q. How does it feel coming back during Diwali after so many years?
AAMIR: Well, since its after Raja Hindustani I’m feeling quite good. I am excited, let’s see how people like the film.
Q. So, how are you feeling? More nervous or excited?
AAMIR: Both actually. Two years have gone into making this films so I hope people like this film. I am happy, I think its an ideal release for Diwali. It doesn’t have any social message, its just a film that you will enjoy and have a good time. Its got great action, big scale and canvas. Amit ji and I coming for the first time.
Q. How would you define the word ‘Thugs’ as?
AAMIR: Well, a thug is a person who is out to loot you. Though our film is not a historical movie related to thugs but people have written that it’s based on some book. It’s entirely fiction. It’s a fictional story set in that period. It’s an action adventure film so it’s not a serious or jolly kind of film. It’s not about patriotism, it’s about freedom of that particular region where they all live, which is a fictional place like Lagaan. That time East India Company was taking over one by one kingdom, they had still not got all of India. They were in the process of doing that so one of these kingdom which they take over, those people when they talk about freedom, it’s for their own kingdom and not about India.
Q. How tough is it to make a Manmohan Desai movie in today’s time? Because it had a different madness to it.
AAMIR: Yeah you’re right actually. I’m describing it as a Manmohan Desai movie, when Victor wrote it, he didn’t think of it like that. It’s a pretty universal film and actually a very child friendly film. Though there’s action but there’s no blood. It’s not serious action. So yeah it’s a family film
Q. Any particular reason to working with this director twice, besides Raju Hirani.
AAMIR: They’re good directors and it just happened, I hadn’t planned it that way. But both of them came up with stories that I liked. And in this film, the character was so attractive for me that I just had to play it. It’s a very well written part and Victor’s written some beautiful lines.
Q. If this part wasn’t well written and Mr. Bachchan was a part of this, would you still have taken the part?
AAMIR: No, I won’t have. Because for me, I have to get excited for the material first.
Q. You usually give a lot of time for a preparation of a particular film. Do you ever feel to change this method?
AAMIR: No, because those two years are the journey that I’m on and I’m enjoying. So it doesn’t occur to me that I should be doing something else. Actually, nothing else comes to my vision while I’m doing some particular thing. Even when I was doing Dangal, it took me two years but it was a wonderful journey and I really believe that at the end of the day, each film roughly takes two years of my life and you don’t know what the end result is going to be. Whether it’ll successful or not. But what we do know is that we’ve control over the journey so if you work on films that excite you and work with people who you get along well with and are fun to work with and which can challenge you and excite you, then the journey becomes a wonderful journey and then the film also does well. So for me the journey is of a lot of value.
Q. To which movie are you headed towards next?
AAMIR: I’ve no idea what I’m gonna do next. There are a lot of talks to everything but I’ve not committed to anything right now. My full focus right now is on thugs.
Q. Is there any pressure on you or are you excited to come with a film after two years?
AAMIR: There’s pressure and excitement both. This is actually the toughest role of my career. Because there was a very thin line that I had to work on. Firangi is a character who is very unreliable and when he is talking to you, he’s winning your trust. And you end up trusting him. But at some point of time, he will stab you in the back. But when he’s winning your trust, I’ve to be very sincere, I have to make you believe. At the same time, the character is also playing to the galleries. If I turn too much to the galleries then the character is the scene will not trust me. They will see through me. If I’m too real, they wouldn’t enjoy. So I’ve to balance it out. I’ve to be real to the character and also let audience enjoy it. I’ve never seen a character in Hindi cinema who is so unlike a hero so there will be times I’m hoping in the film when you’ll feel how can someone do this?
So he’s an enjoyable guy but not a good guy. He’s not a guy you want around you as a friend, you want to watch him from far. And it’ll challenging for the audience also that at times they won’t like me. I’m just hoping that people enjoy the character and take it for what he is. But it’s definitely a very unusual hero. I’ve never seen a hero like that before.
Q. Did you find any similarities between Jack Sparrow and Firangi?
AAMIR: I think intrinsically they’re both similar characters. Both are wity. I’m hoping that when you see Firangi, you forget Jack Sparrow. But Victor didn’t write it based on Jack Sparrow.
Q. Why was the name Firangi given to your character?
AAMIR: I’m not sure about it but what I think is that he’s probably an illegitimate child if a half Firang guy. He likes to feel that he’s better than other Indians. He doesn’t know who is father if, that kind of a guy.
Q. People from China and other countries are coming to India to see movies. How do you feel about that?
AAMIR: I just hope they get to see a movie with English subtitles. Thugs is China will probably release in January. It still has to go through their whole process and hopefully our film will be selected in China. Now the film is ready, it’ll go for censorship in India, which will take two months.
Q. You recently met PM Modi. The picture went viral on social media. How was it meeting him?
AAMIR: It was a good meeting and it was specifically about
Some issues that industry faced.
Q. How was it working with Katrina?
AAMIR: Katrina is a dream to work with. She’s very wonderful to work with and she dances so well. Luckily, I haven’t danced in any song. When I saw the rehearsals, I thought now this is difficult for her. Now I think she’s an alien.
Q. How much progress have you seen in Fatima’s work from Dangal to this?
AAMIR: She has done really well. She has really tough action scenes in this film. She’s very hardworking. I am so happy for her and Saniya, although I haven’t yet seen her movies but I want to watch Badhai Ho and Pataka. I feel very happy when I see these girls and Zaira doing well in thier life. Although I wished they treated me like a daddy, they treat me with utmost disrespect.
Q. Have you shown this movie to Azad? What was his reaction?
AAMIR: He has seen half the film. He’s not into films yet. He likes to watch cartoons. He enjoyed a lot. Then he asked me Papa why is he called Azad? So I told him that he is trying to copy.
Q. Did you recommend Shah Rukh’s name for Rakesh Sharma’s biopic after you left the film?
AAMIR: I don’t talk about projects which I’m not in. I haven’t announced that I’m in this movie. Its a great script and story of Mr. Sharma is fascinating. And it is also true that I called Shah Rukh and told him that he should hear the script and it could be right for him if he likes it. I am glad he liked it and is now doing it.
Q. What do you have to say about comparisons with Shah Rukh?
AAMIR: I am not a competitive person. I don’t see myself as a star but I do see Shah Rukh very much as a star. Everything about him. He is so handsome, so charming, so well dressed, so organised. He took me to his house when it was new. “Uska jitna bada wardrobe hai, utna bada mera poora ghar hai.” This is how a star’s wardrobe and their house should look like. I don’t see myself as a star but I see Shah as a star, everything about him, so handsome, charming and well-dressed.
Q. You have always tried different looks, hasn’t there been an apprehension about how will people receive my look?
AAMIR: No, when you latch out to something that is right for your character then I don’t have any doubts about anything. I’m still not sure whether people will receive it well or not. For me, everything about the character is very important for me. When I’m getting ready for the shot that’s when I start becoming the character, even mentally.
Q. Any plans of getting Satyamev Jayate back?
AAMIR: Entire team of SMJ is working with Paani foundation so we don’t have the bandwidth for the show. That’s the show is not on air. This year has been a very bad year for it, its very heartbreaking due to drought. The reason is climate change which has happened because we have removed the entire forest patch. Our plan is to empower villagers with knowledge, which when applied can solve things. Last year we trained over 20,000 villagers. Now we are also starting to train them in soil and health besides water. The movement is doing well but climate change is difficult to fight, can’t be solved in one year. To make things better, we have to invest out time and efforts to bring nature back.
Q. Has Shakun Batra discussed Osho with you?
AAMIR: He has discussed the project with me. I am waiting to hear the script. It all depends on how the script turns out.
Q. The tickets of Thugs will cost the audience at least 25% more than what they paid for watching Sanju. Don’t you think such a hike is unfair?
AAMIR: Personally, I am always for having tickets cheaper. I believe that we should have more economy theatres so that everyone has the opportunity to access a film. But I understand why YRF wants to price it differently. Thugs was a very expensive film. Also, Indian audiences have not watched a spectacle like this before. So the experience will be worth their money. But I am the happiest when more people get to watch my film and appreciate it.
Q. Are you planning a Diwali party this year?
AAMIR: No, because it is Kiran’s birthday that time. So it is going to ba a small family get-together.
Written by: RUJUTA THETE