Aamir Khan
Aamir Khan

At 50 on March 14, 2015, Aamir Khan’s reign as one of our top three superstars has been undiluted, unthreatened, unambiguous – for 27 years.

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Aamir’s early career is not known to many: son of filmmaker Tahir Hussain and nephew of box-office whiz Nasir Hussain, he was first seen as a kid in the latter’s Yaadon Ki Baraat (1973) and the former’s Madhosh (1974). In the ‘80s, at 16, he made a silent film, Paranoia, with Aditya Bhattacharya, worked in theater, assisted Nasir and played a small role in Holi (1984), before signing on as hero and slaloming into superstardom with Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988).

Aamir’s only forthcoming film now is Chillar Party fame Nitesh Tiwari’s Dangal, an emotional saga of a wrestler and his daughters, for which he has beefed up now to 90 kilos. But then, that’s been Aamir’s credo all along, especially after he switched to one film at a time with his debut production Lagaan (2001).

“I was going mad shooting more than one, sometimes four, films at a time,” recalls the actor. “I risked my career with this change, and also introduced Sync Sound to films with Lagaan, because I never saw the point of vocally recreating the same emotions when shooting a scene and again several months later by myself in a studio room!”

Today, Aamir is perceived as the thinking actor who dares to go where other superstars don’t – be a part of films that are social movements (Rang De Basanti, Taare Zameen Par, 3 Idiots, PK) change his appearance from building six – packs (Ghajini) to looking a college student (3 Idiots), learning anything from circus skills and stunts (Dhoom:3) to Bhojpuri (PK) and even hosting the crusading television show Satyamev Jayate.

As a producer, he dares take up subjects like Taare Zameen Par, Peepli [Live] and Delhi Belly. “I am attracted to stories that appeal to me and not by their commercial angle at all. But once in, I gauge the lifetime business and plan the optimum budgets. I go in for a film only because my heart tells me to do so. I am only gambling on having a good time. So far, I have been lucky that the returns exceeded expectations, even when I made something outrageous for my image, like Delhi Belly.”

Khan has no flop for a decade now, and is a part of Ghajini, Indian cinema’s first 100 crore making film, 3 Idiots, the first 200 crore grosser, Dhoom: 3, the first 250 crore film and PK, the highest grosser of all time with 340 crore – without even thinking of such figures. Like his 3 Idiots credo: pursue excellence, success must follow!

Aamir has also sung in several films (his “Aati kya Khandala” with Alka Yagnik in Ghulam is a cult hit) and collaborated on the screenplays of QSQT and Hum Hain Rahi Pyaar Ke. Add diverse hits like Dil, Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin, Andaz Apna Apna, Rangeela, Raja Hindustani, Ishq, Ghulam, Sarfarosh, Dil Chahta Hai, Rang De Basanti and Fanaa and we think Aamir will do no wrong in the future.

But we would like to caution Aamir: having nothing really left to prove, we would like him to take care of his health now, rather than playing with his body structure for roles. He has admitted that after 50, such things become tougher. So why do it so drastically when he can remain a healthy, fit benefactor for the kind of cinema that is a perfect mix of the commercial and committed?

– Rajiv Vijayakar, a Senior Journalist, Film & Music Critic and Historian for Hindi cinema and Film Music. An Author and Jury Member (58th National Film Awards). 

Rajiv Vijayakar tweets @rajivvijayakar

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