There was a time when Aamir Khan was termed as a recluse of the Indian Film Industry. Today, television audiences are used to seeing Aamir resplendently suited booted, gliding over a red carpet at glittering Bollywood soirees. Audiences, critics and the jury of many prestigious award functions alike are awed by Aamir Khan's conviction, dedication and emotional power as an actor, producer and a director, and with his thrid production, Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na, releasing tomorrow world wide, the mutli-talented Khan yet again sets out to prove that he is the master of all in this very short but an exclusive chat with Bollywood Hungama's Devansh Patel just hours before the star studded premiere of his film in Mumbai.
Looks like your Taare's are shining bright ever since you touched Lagaan. I wish you could pass on some of that touch to me. What do your astrologers say?
(laughs) I don't know. We've tried to make a good film. I think that I'm quite happy with the way it's turned out and waiting to see how the audience reacts to it.
This is your first production with you not a part of the cast. Did Ghajini take a lot of your time or Taare?
Taare. I was directing Taare Zameen Par when Jaane Tu was being shot. So when I took over as the director of Taare, I realised that I'd not be able to fully shoulder my responsibilities as a producer on Jaane Tu nor did I think of acting in it because it was entirely up to the casting director and the director whom they think is the right choice. So I requested Mansoor to take care of the production and he was there looking after the cast and the crew during the shoot stages. Ofcourse, I was there if there were any problems. But as soon as Taare finished, I was there to look after the post production and the marketing plan for Jaane Tu.
You seem to be like Imran's shadow. Everywhere Imran goes, you follow. Then what was the reason for your absence in London?
(laughs). I would not like to be described as Imran's shadow. Being the producer of the film, I have been a part of promoting Jaane Tu and that's what I am doing. So if I accompany Imran, Abbas or Genelia, I can't be tagged as their shadow. Infact, I'm the shadow of Jaane Tu. But yes, If I was free, I'd have definitely come to London but unfortunately, I was shooting for Ghajini at that time.
Not convinced with Amol Gupte's direction, you took over as a director for Taare. That was past. But we also know that you gave 5 scenes to Abbas to shoot for Jaane Tu before you could say Yes to him. Have you now started screen testing directors?
Infact, after my experience on Taare, I told Abbas to shoot five scenes to see how he fares as a director. Jaane Tu at that time had not begun their filming. So I requested Abbas because he had never directed a film before. I am pretty sure that I would like to see any new director taking up my project to shoot four or five scenes, whether it's Abbas or anybody else. But if there was an established director, I would not have done that.
What if you did not like all the five scenes or liked two or three of them? Was the back up ready? Or were you prepared to jump into the directors seat?
If any of the five scenes was not directed well by Abbas, I would not have gone ahead with the project even though I loved the script. And that is true. But Abbas proved me wrong.
I remember you and Raj Zutshi used to stick the posters of Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak on the auto-rickshaws outside Mithibai college in Mumbai by stopping them. That was marketing in 1988. How much do you think marketing has evolved or will do in the near future?
I think it has changed dramatically from then to now. In 1988, there was only one channel, Doordarshan, and the main line newspapers and magazines did not do much reporting on entertainment nor was there any news on the front pages about films. The media had not completely evolved then. But entertainment in particular has now become a huge part of reporting and news. So while the times have changed, the level of challenges remain the same. In the late 1980's we didn't have enough means to promote the film so we tried to do it the best we could. Today you have a lot of means but you could do completely wrong. So even if you have the tools in todays time, if you don't use them well, it can go against you. You can market the film really badly or people can sense from your marketing that they don't want to see your film.
All your films from Lagaan days to Rang De Basanti to Taare Zameen Par and now Jaane Tu have seen fresh young faces. Is that something you'd like to see with all your films or you being a part of it?
No, it's not a conscious effort. I think it really depends on what kind of script you're doing and it's requirement. You're forgetting that Rani was there in Mangal Pandey. She was an established star. So was Amisha Patel. And I did Fanaa with Kajol. So it's not as if I'm not working with established actors. It really depends from project to project.
While the film was being made and after it's completion, did it take you back to your QSQT days?
(laughs). Not really. I think Jaane Tu is quite a different film in it's own way even though it's a romantic film and it stars new actors, Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak was a film which was much more dramatic in its flavour and its content. Yes, seeing Mansoor behind the camera after a sabbatical did make us interact the QSQT days.
There are many successful music directors like Pritam and Vishal Shekhar too who are on the top of their game, then why go with A.R.Rahman just because he has been a part of your earlier films?
You don't think A.R.Rahman is on top of his game? (laughs out loud). I am very happy with the kind of music he has given to Jaane Tu and I'm so glad that he is a part of the film. But I have worked with other people as well. Taare Zameen Par had Shankar Ehsaan Loy and you know, the music was so different and soothing to your ears. It was a new experience for them too. But as I said earlier, it depends on project to project and there might be times when I would like to work with A.R.Rahman and he is busy with other projects. I've not worked with Pritam but his work is nice and has given extremely successful music off late. So if any oppurtunity arises, I'd definitely like to work with Pritam.
On the posters and media pack, we have seen Imran wearing the same yellow striped tie you wore in your film Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar. What else has he nicked from your wardrobe?
(laughs) Well, he keeps grabbing my jackets, t-shirts and other stuff. But yes, you pointed out right. That was the same tie I wore in my film Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar.
With the monsoon hitting out quite bad in Mumbai, what's the premiere looking like?
I think Bombayites are quite used to the rain but I hope it doesn't continue like what it is at the moment. I don't think rain will hinder our plans and we will be hitting out all along for the premiere tomorrow night. I hope it goes well.
What are we going to see you wear at the premiere?
Well, I don't know as of now but I will probably wear something formal.
Any message you'd like to convey to your audience who are not your fans now. They are fans of Aditi.
(laughs). As I said, we've made a film that we believed in and have really put in our best. I hope the audience too enjoy seeing it as much as we enjoyed making it.