Many of you might be wondering why Aamir Khan has been quite frank about calling his latest home production, Dhobi Ghat, a niche film, even though it has been scripted and directed by his wife, Kiran Rao. Why is Aamir not going all out to promote the film, just like he did for his last production, Peepli Live? Well, here’s why:
1. Niche genre: Aamir Khan knows that ‘Dhobi Ghat’, which is a slice-of-life film about four different people living in Mumbai, is suited only for a niche audience, and that it might not necessarily appeal to the masses. So, the actor, honest as ever, is frankly saying so at all the promotional events for the film.
2. No Songs: ‘Dhobi Ghat’, unlike Aamir’s previous small budget venture, ‘Peepli Live’, has no songs. Although the film’s background score has been executed by the Argentine musician and two-time Academy Award Winner, Gustavo Santaolalla, the dearth of songs in the film definitely makes it less appealing to the common man.
3. English dialogues: The film, scripted by Kiran Rao, has many characters who speak in English throughout the film. Aamir is aware – and as the recent failure of Indian English-Hindi films has amply demonstrated – that since the English language is not understood or appreciated by the Indian masses, it is best not to promote the film like a commercial potboiler.
4. Wife’s first film: ‘Dhobi Ghat’ is Aamir Khan’s wife, Kiran Rao’s brainchild. It is also her first film. Aamir was one of the first ones who heard Kiran’s narration of the script and only when he really liked it, did he decide to produce it. But Aamir is also aware that the film is very different from the fare that the Indian audience is used to seeing on-screen, and hence, he wants to keep the expectations low. Which brings us to our fifth point…
5. Expectations galore: No matter how hard Aamir might try to keep the audience’s expectations low, his presence in the cast of the film makes a lot of difference. Aamir knows his fans will queue up at the theatres, expecting another entertainment masala film from their favourite star. But, he acknowledges that it is high expectations that are the reason behind the failure of many films. In Aamir’s own words: “Many films fail because they cannot meet the unduly high expectations that are built during the films’ publicity.” This is exactly what Aamir has refrained from doing, by going slow on the promotions of ‘Dhobi Ghat’. He obviously doesn’t expect the film to take a flying start at the box-office.
Trust Aamir Khan to call a spade a spade!