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When Aamir Khan calls a press conference,even if it is only to introduce an already well-known actor,he gets a full house.

Written by Pooja Pillai |
December 25, 2010 4:21:18 am

Aamir Khan endorses Prateik,his co-star from Dhobi Ghat,and explains why the film will now have two versions

When Aamir Khan calls a press conference,even if it is only to introduce an already well-known actor,he gets a full house. It was no different on Friday as Khan introduced Prateik,one of the leads in Kiran Rao’s directorial debut Dhobi Ghat,at a Mumbai hotel and declared that he was there only as a producer — the focus of the conference was to be the young actor. Needless to say,it was Khan who ended up holding forth on everything,from the film’s music to its budget and the language used. Prateik,on the other hand,lived up to his reputation for reticence by answering questions in a few,carefully considered words.

“I’m very grateful that I got to work on this film,” said Prateik,who had made an impact with his very first big screen appearance,when he played a bit role on Khan’s production, Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na. He admitted that playing the role of a dhobi was an unconventional move,given that most newcomers expect to play romantic college boy. “I was surprised to be offered the role of a dhobi,but the script was so good that I couldn’t resist it. After all,it’s the story that really counts.” On his few scenes with Khan in the movie,he said,“We have about three or four scenes together. The thing about Aamir is that he’s so intense when he’s acting; he left me hungry for more. I wanted badly to do more scenes with him.” Khan,on his part,too, was full of praise for his young colleague. “It was a pleasure working with Prateik,” he said,“Not only is he talented,he’s also very dedicated. He spent about two to three months preparing for this role; he went to the Dhobi Ghat in Mahalaxmi every day and spent time with people there. He’s the ideal newcomer.”

Dhobi Ghat,made on a budget of a mere Rs 5 crore,will be released in an all-Hindi version,as well as the original version,which features a few key scenes in English. Khan explained,“I met a lady who said that she doesn’t understand English,but she would like to see the film. So we decided that it would be best to dub those few scenes in Hindi,so that the film could reach out to as many people as possible.”

When asked if he fears offending dhobis with the film’s title,just like Billu Barber offended barbers,Khan revealed that such a complaint had in fact been lodged against the project. “We didn’t even go to court about it,because we didn’t find out till much later. The judge had realised it was a waste of the court’s time and he threw the case out and imposed a Rs 25,000 fine on the plaintiff.”

Regarding the mild controversy he’d generated when he had said earlier that Dhobi Ghat is art house cinema and might not be to everyone’s liking,Khan clarified,“I believe a film should be publicised honestly. I’ve made this film with a lot of love and I’m very proud of it. So obviously I want people to come and watch it. But I’m telling them straight away that it’s an art film and people shouldn’t expect anything typical from it.”

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