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‘All my characters leave a mark on me’

DC | NATASHA COUTINHO
Published Dec 14, 2014, 6:30 am IST
Updated Mar 30, 2019, 7:12 am IST
Inspector shekhawat of talaash was the most draining character for him
Bollywood star Aamir Khan
 Bollywood star Aamir Khan

We all know he’s the on-screen perfectionist but off-screen too Aamir strives to be no less. Busy playing the perfect father, Aamir loves spending time with his Azad. He says, “It’s delightful to spend time with him. He has seen Dhoom 3 and is about to see PK. He doesn’t understand what I do for a living but he likes to dance to my songs. When Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani was coming out, he would dance to that film’s songs daily. He would also imitate my tap dance in Dhoom 3.”

The doting father continues, “I always feel I give less time to my children, you can never give them more or enough time. Some time ago Kiran had gone to Himachal Pradesh for two weeks to write a script. She was hesitant at first because she didn’t want to leave Azad. She’s a very hands-on mom. I told her I’ll look after Azad. So she went off and I looked after him for two weeks. From waking him up to dropping him at school and picking up, having lunch together, putting him to sleep, I did it all. My work would start in the afternoon after he went to sleep. I would work a bit and get back to playing with him when he woke up. So my meetings would start at 9.30 at night. My work timings were based according to his schedule.”

 

Aamir didn’t get to interact much with his elder son Junaid, even though he was a junior assistant on PK. “I was happy to have him on the sets. But since he was the junior most assistant, he was far-away doing crowd control or something. We used to discuss his experience; he was living with the unit, not with me. It was a learning experience for him, to understand the mechanics of how a unit works. I don’t ask him if he wants to be an actor. When he is ready, he will tell me,” the actor says.  

Aamir recalls how in his childhood, he would love listening to stories. “Whenever a director came to narrate a script to my father or uncle, I would sit in and listen. Not because I had any plans of joining films in the future. I would just enjoy listening to them,” he says.

 

To this day it is the story that makes him pick a film. “For me, it’s all about how I react to the script as an audience. It’s instinctive. By the end of it, I should say, ‘Wow!’ It’s as simple as that. I would like to play a challenging role, but that is secondary to me. If I love a script, it is unlikely I won’t like a character. The film doesn’t have to be centred around me. If I am worried about how much money a film will make, I’m killing my creativity. It’s unfortunate a lot of people in the industry think that way. It shows in the kind of films we are making. It’s exactly the message 3 Idiots had — don’t chase success, chase excellence and success will follow. The pressure on me is, ‘Have we achieved the vision of the director? Will the audience like our vision?’ Box office numbers are a loose representation of how much people have liked the film.”

 

He’s one of the few actors who have been able to transform themselves physically for their roles. Think of his eight-pack-abs during Ghajini and his gymnast physique for Dhoom 3. “I believe an actor should use his body as a tool, I should not shy away from looking the character. It’s a good thing men are being judged by their bodies now. Let’s objectify the men also a bit. There’s too much of objectifying the women already,” he jokes.

There is a lot of curiosity about PK, especially since the unconventional posters were launched. He says, “All the posters are moments from the film. While filming, I told Raju that we should have a good poster campaign, as we have strong visuals. That’s why we decided to open the campaign with a poster, rather than a trailer. The only reason we are keeping things under wraps is because it will be a spoiler. I want you to experience the film, the way I did, when I didn’t know anything about it. In my opinion Raju is the number one director in the industry.”

 

It is also after a while that Aamir had to shoot for two films together, Dhoom 3 and PK. It was not an ideal scenario for the actor who likes to give his undivided attention to only one film at a time. “It was difficult. I hadn’t done that in many years. I hate the idea of playing two characters simultaneously. And in this case it was three as I had a double role in Dhoom 3. So after a long schedule of PK, I went straight to Switzerland to shoot the climax of Dhoom 3. On the bridge Sahir, my character, had a dialogue that said, ‘Waqt nahi hai hamare paas’ The first time I said it in Bhojpuri. I said, ‘Waqat nahi hamre paas,’” Aamir recalls with a smile.

 

He admits that it takes him a while to switch off from his roles. “All my characters leave a mark on me. The most emotionally draining character would be Shekhawat of Talaash. He lives with the guilt of losing his son. So in every scene I had to carry that burden. To get into that headspace, every morning I would have to wake up imagining I have lost someone close.” He adds, “I’ve been noticing it for a while now that I start looking and behaving like a character in real life also. For example after Ghajini my short-term memory went for a toss.”

 

Aamir reveals that he has no project in hand for next year. He says, “I have no idea what I’m doing in 2015. I’m reading scripts but haven’t decided on any which is rather alarming. So I won’t have a release next year.” The topic of his equation with the other Khans remains inevitable. He fields the question sportingly. “I keep meeting SRK and Salman on and off. It’s always nice to be with them, there’s no awkwardness,” he says with a smile.

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