“What he (Salman Khan) said was rather unfortunate and insensitive,” said Aamir Khan, when asked about the recent controversy over actor Salman Khan using “rape” as an analogy. Bollywood is facing a lot of criticism for not taking a stand on the issue. Aamir was addressing the media on Monday afternoon at the launch of the poster of his next movie, Dangal. Though both the Khans are known to be close friends, when asked if Aamir would like to give a piece of advice to Salman, the former retorted: “Who am I to advise him?”
When asked to comment on the statement made by Irrfan Khan that the idea of qurbaani needs to be introspected, Aamir said: “Religion is a very personal issue and we have our own feelings about it. I don’t want to comment on other people’s feelings.” This was followed by a question on another current issue — that of the triple talaq. Aamir excused himself from commenting on it saying that he has to read the Uniform Civil Code, at least the main parts, before he could comment on it.
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Though Dangal will release on December 23, the launch of its poster, two days before the release of Salman Khan’s Sultan, was a well-planned move. Aamir made no bones about the fact that they were unveiling the poster just before Sultan hits the theatres because of the visibility that Dangal would get. “I love the look of Sultan and I hope it breaks all records. Since it would probably be a bumper hit, it would be a good opportunity for us to put up our posters at theatres and make the announcement that we would be there in six months,” said the actor.
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The launch event showcased two Aamir Khans. In the massive poster put up on the dais, the actor featured as an ageing wrestler, surrounded by his four daughters in close-cropped hair and track suits. Sitting next to it was the actor, who has famously got his washboard abdomen back after shooting the portions that shows him as a 55-year-old heavyweight, flanked by Dangal director Nitish Tiwary and Disney India-UTV head Siddharth Roy Kapoor.
Shooting is complete and, for 80 per cent of the film, Aamir will be seen as an ageing wrestler. The remaining part will feature the younger look of the actor. At the moment, however, it is the look of a man with salt-and-pepper hair that Aamir seems to prefer. When informed that women seem to favour such “an elderly appearance” these days, the actor shot back: “Had I known this, I would not have been trying to look young for the last 25 years.”
The actor-producer confessed to having his share of doubts before taking up the role based on Mahavir Singh Phogat in Dangal. “I had finished doing Dhoom 3 and PK. My body fat at that time was 9 per cent. Though playing the role of a 55-year-old was closer to age, I was doing young roles. I was hesitant to take up a role in the 50-60-year age group. I thought it would not be practical. However, I let go of that logic in a couple of months and decided to follow my heart,” he said.
The star, however, had one request for Tiwary. He wanted to shoot the fat portions first. “Since I was very fit then, we could have shot the younger portion first.
However, I didn’t want to end up with 100 kg weight when we finished shooting. I would have had no motivation to shed those kilos. That’s why I chose to reverse the order,” he said.
As the media interaction progressed, Aamir spoke, among others, on the prevailing patriarchal mindset in India, the need for positive thinking and projecting good work in media.
His “oops moment” came when he was asked if he considered Salman to be a bigger star than himself. Aamir had no problem saying that he had always considered Salman as well as Shah Rukh to bigger stars than he was. “When Salman Khan walks into a room, it looks as if a star has entered. Whereas, I look like a waiter,” he said.
The next instance, however, he corrected himself and said, “Sorry, I should not say that. Waiters are great people. When I enter a room, it seems as if a nobody has come in and I lack the star quality of Salman and Shah Rukh.” Maybe not star power, but it certainly takes presence of mind to correct a faux pas.