Updated: May 21, 2015 4:47:44 pm
Aamir Khan, who recently returned to Mumbai after a grand ‘PK’ premiere in China, is bustling with excitement about his trip – the people, the love he received and the dedication he saw in Chinese fans when it comes to Bollywood.
Aamir, who is currently almost twice his size in preparation for ‘Dangal’, where he will be seen portraying former wrestler Mahavir Phogat, shared updates from the much-anticipated project in an interview with Indian Express and stated why he is unable to work with Jackie Chan.
Speaking about his meeting with Jackie Chan, Aamir Khan said he was thrilled to meet the ‘Rush Hour’ actor.
“He’s a lovely guy. I met him at an event where the films were being launched. And then later that night, he invited me for dinner, so I spent the evening with him. He’s a very warm, loving guy. I have been a very big fan of his since I watched ‘Police Story 2’. I had watched it in New Talkies, which is now a shopping mall. So, when I watched the film I did not even know who the actor was. And I liked the film so much, that when I came out after it, I bought another ticket and watched the next show as well. And ever since, I really like Jackie because he’s not just an action hero, but also his comic timing as a performer is amazing. So lets see, if we get an opportunity to work together after this Indo-Chinese treaty.”
Contrary to recent reports, Aamir Khan clarified that he will not be working with Jackie Chan in ‘Kung Fu Yoga’.
“It is a film that Jackie is planning with director Stanley Tong who has made a number of Jackie’s films including ‘Rumble in the Bronx’. However, it’s not possible for me to do this film because they are shooting it this year. I would have liked to do it, but right now I’m doing ‘Dangal’. And around the same time that they are shooting – October to December I am also shooting. After that I will reduce my weight for five months – January to May. Then in June I will complete shooting for my younger version in ‘Dangal’,” said Aamir Khan.
Aamir Khan, however, did promise that he would be going back to his ‘Dhoom 3’ six-pack abs, which will be put on full display in the Nitesh Tiwari-directed film.
While Aamir Khan might only be able to take up a new film mid-next year, the actor says he has been receiving quite a few offers from mainstream Hollywood and foreign cinema as well. “I’m happy to do a foreign film as long as it meets my requirements. I have been approached but none of the scripts excited me. I have mainly been offered mainstream Hollywood but I haven’t liked any. But, if the material excites me, I am ready to do any film, even a Chinese film.”
On his upcoming plans, Aamir revealed, “I don’t plan for the future too much. I do one film at a time. ‘Satyamev Jayate’ will be on hold till I finish ‘Dangal’. The film will only release at Christmas next year – 2016 December.”
Coming back to his recent China visit, Aamir Khan said he was surrounded by screaming fans during his visit to the neighbouring nation. Aamir Khan says he was most surprised that he had such an up-to-date audience in China. “China was very exciting. Right from my arrival at the airport to my departure, I was surrounded by fans. That was the level of their enthusiasm.”
The actor blushingly spoke about the much talked about kiss he received from a fan during his trip. “The fans were too excited and were at the airport as well. That’s where all this kiss-wiss happened. They would wait at the hotel, whenever I would leave and return, there would be around 20-25 people around,” he said.
Aamir Khan also joked about wife Kiran’s reaction to these kisses, “Luckily, Kiran was not there,” he said with a laugh. “She is actually in Bangalore along with Azad for her mother’s birthday. And this trip was too short, full of interviews and events, so Kiran said we’ll go for a holiday another time.”
“We had two ‘PK’ screenings – Shanghai and Beijing and they had travelled from different parts. They were quite crazy also like screaming, shouting and being how fans usually are. But, even the regular audience who I met outside these events had already seen the film on pirated sites. Now, when you watch a film on a pirated site, it means that you are actively searching out for those films. It’s not landing in your lap and so requires a bit of effort. All of them (fans in China) have seen at least six films of mine – Lagaan, Ghajini, Rang De Basanti, Taare Zameen Par, 3 Idiots and Talaash to name a few. So, I was quite amazed because it shows they are really interested, said Aamir Khan, who was casually dressed in blue T shirt, track pants and baseball cap.
He further added, “I am against piracy, but I have friends who are hooked onto ‘Game of Thrones’. So, they download it because they have interest in the series and it’s not available here. Same way, the Chinese people are also practicing this for Indian films which is quite an amazing thing. But, we’re not doing the same thing. Maybe we lack the curiosity, but we should show some interest in their cinema. I think we only know Jackie Chan because of his action films, but we aren’t aware of the rest. So there, I received lot of love and respect. They really love us – Raju (Rajkumar Hirani), Vinod too (Vidhu Vinod Chopra). It was very touching and I was moved, but of course I didn’t cry like how I do on ‘Satyamev Jayate’,” said Aamir Khan with a laugh.
Talking about making Bollywood cinema more available to the Chinese folk, Aamir Khan says, “This agreement that has been signed will help that. Right now China has a policy where they take 40 films from outside of China. Out of these films, 36 are from USA and other parts. But, four films go from India every year. So, they have a restricted policy of a set number of films that they allow to import. Slowly, this number will hopefully increase. And of course, if we co-produce, the number will surely rise.”
After many rumours suggesting Kangana Ranaut, Shruti Haasan and a few others who were considered for the part of Aamir Khan’s onscreen daughters in ‘Dangal’, the actor finally confirmed the names of the girls – Fatima Shaikh and Sanya Malhotra.
“We tested them and they are very good. We auditioned a lot of girls, but these two are very talented and even those who didn’t get selected were very good, but these two girls suited the parts best. Right now, they are undergoing wrestling training along with me,” said Aamir.
He further added, “Right now we’re concentrating on the casting of the girls – when I say girls I mean we have got Fatima and Sana. But, we need Geeta and Babita’s younger versions – they have to be 12-14 years. These are the tough castings and we need to concentrate on that. The girls have to be good actors and athletic too. Then we can teach them wrestling. Once that is done, we will come to the rest of the casting – my wife, there’s also a lovely role of my nephew in the film and other parts.”
While Hollywood actors including Christian Bale and Jake Gyllenhaal have been known to undergo drastic weight changes for film roles, the practice is not too common in Bollywood. Talking about the ill effects that the fluctuating weight has on his health at 50, Aamir Khan says, “It is very bad for my health, especially in these quick spurts. Generally when you put on weight it’s not a good thing, but you do it gradually over 5-10 years. Here, I have gained 25 kilos in six months. Putting on weight at this age is very easy, but losing it is difficult.”
Apparently, Aamir Khan was constantly questioned about his weight in China. “They were all asking me ‘why have you become fat?’ Everybody had the same question so I had to tell them I am happy now so I have put on weight (laughs). But, I explained to everybody that I am shooting for a film where I am playing a wrestler so I had to get fat.”
On China’s reaction to ‘PK’, Aamir Khan said it was a relatively positive response though the film touched on the concept of religion.
“So far the reaction from the audience was positive. I think when a film is good; the language cannot be a barrier. It’s like the Italian film, ‘Life is Beautiful’ – such a wonderful film. We have never been through the holocaust, but yet as human beings we can relate to it. In fact the beauty of a film is when you watch it from another country. I wouldn’t want an Indianised version of an Italian film, I want a pure Italian film. So we don’t have to change our cinema, because it is the qualities of our cinema that appeals to people from outside.”
“Cinema is one medium which bridges the gap between people from different societies very rapidly because when you watch the film, you come to know the characters and where they come from. You see similarities and are able to relate to people from other countries. So, us watching Chinese films and them watching ours is a very big step because it brings our cultures closer. And when that happens, you can do business together. And what India and China are trying to achieve is very dynamic and the film industry has a big role to play in getting people closer to each other.”
Known to keep his audience in suspense and anticipation about his onscreen appearances, Aamir Khan refused to comment on reports about him playing a cameo in ‘Dil Dhadake Do’. “I don’t know ya. I haven’t watched the film,” he said laughingly.
However, we do hope to see him in the Zoya Akhtar film, because it will be his only onscreen treat to his fans this year.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.