My love for Aamir Khan is rivaled only by my love for his nephew Imran Khan (no acting chops, but oh so easy on the eye) and while I might not be his biggest fan, I am a solid supporter.
I forayed into Hindi films in 2007 or thereabout. I started as most people did with Khabie Khushi Khabie Gham (an Indian rite of passage) and fell into Shah Rukh Khan’s (SRK) goofy but lovable hamming. I did the whole “confusing heroines” and faces until I could confidently distinguish between Kareena Kapoor and Rani Mukherji.
And then, one nice afternoon, I purchased my first 16-in-1 Indian DVD to watch with my siblings. Not knowing where to start, we started from the beginning. It was Fanaa. My first encounter with Aamir Khan and my first tears for an Indian movie (the second was with My Name Is Khan which involved a lot of snort).
Aamir Khan is a short man and while, this would have impaired my fickle attraction, it bolstered it. Seeing this man (who was not SRK) woo Kajol made me smile, and since then, I looked out for his movies. I saw some old ones, some cute ones, some not so good ones and then, I saw 3 idiots.
Saying 3 idiots is one of the most watched, most loved, most globally liked Indian movie is like saying Mathew Gray Gubler is my soul mate (it’s arguable, but true). 3 idiots was that movie that sealed the deal; it was the wow Aamir moment that made me realize, this man right here, is my favorite Indian actor. Possibly my favorite actor, simple. What made me happier was seeing that this movie was not only great, people thought it was great too. It smashed records, and had people who would not touch an Indian movie with a ten feet pole (all of that singing and dancing) actually admitting to loving it.
I felt like a proud parent whose son came first in a spelling bee. I googled all the reviews, checked all the box office stats and felt more and more pride seeing this movie create records not just in Indian, but in the world. Seeing my love had been cemented, I went back and saw other movies that made me respect Aamir more. I saw Tamre Zamreen Par, a movie about a misunderstood dyslexic child who with the help of a teacher finds his voice. I saw Dil Chahta Hai, a coming of age story about three friends finding themselves, and love. And then I saw Ghajini.
Ghajini is not a great movie but it is the first movie in which Aamir Khan shows off a buff physique. And there was a lot of intense fighting and Aamir Khan and an okay story and Aamir Khan. Ghajini is the movie that started 100 crore club and pushed Hindi movies into the dark times of big budget but extremely terrible movies.
After Ghajini came the Salman Khan year, where Salman smashed and created, smashed and created box office records like Hulk on potent weed. That period saw stars like Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgan and Shah Rukh Khan act in movies that could be interchanged for one another (big bad hero, simpering lead lady, blanket villains and unbelievable action sequences) and make huge moolah off of it (this is a post for another time). It was this period I took a cooling off from Hindi movies.
I felt disappointment that actors would sacrifice being in good movies for making big bucks. It was the season where my blind love for Shah Rukh Khan ended. I couldn’t believe a man who gave me My name is Khan would act in Jab Tak Hai Jaan ( The only good thing in it was Anuksha Sharma).
It was the period of good movies from new and “art” actors; Abhay Deol in Dev D, Kai Po Che, Shor in the City, Delhi Belly; the period of Vidya Balan and other female superpowers (yet another post for another day). It was the period of Ranbir Kapoor. It was a period where low budget movies had better storyline and acting than the big ones. It was the period of Irfan Khan (who prefers to be known as Irfan) and Nawazuddin Siddiqui.
But in all these, was Aamir Khan. Aamir Khan who many have accused of being pseudo-intellectual because of his stance on film-making and shunning of some popular Hindi awards. Aamir who while his contemporaries were acting in Dabangg look-alikes (yes Ajay Devgan, you) gave me Talaash; a thriller involving an ethereal prostitute, a police officer and his grieving wife.
Movies came and went, and finally a movie broke 3 idiots’ records. It was a good movie and it had a Khan in it. It had the beautiful Deepika Padukone but it wasn’t an Aamir movie. I took this personally; Aamir Khan deserves to always hold the record for the highest grossing movie (argue in your toilet) because he gave me 3 idiots. 3 idiots will make up for any bad movie he has (or will) do.
I watched with pride when Dhoom 3 came in all its glitz and grounded Chennai Express to pulp. When Salman came with Kick and Shah Rukh with Happy New Year, I held my breath; I wanted an unbeaten Aamir. I need not have worried too much; PK came (I haven’t seen it but from my obsessive refreshing of google, I hear it’s a great movie) and smashed all the records like Hulk and Iron man on even more potent weed.
Right now, PK is the highest grossing movie in India, and has created the 300 crore club in India, and the 600 crore club in the world. But it’s not about box office figures (it so is) but the fact that this movie seems genuinely well liked by the audience and critics. A critic said about the movie: “a biting, whip-smart satire on the thorny subject of organized religion, the Bollywood musical “PK” enlightens and provokes through outrageous slapstick” which is critic-speak for it’s a hilarious but intelligent movie. This, I can say is the tagline for a lot of Aamir Khan movies. Kudos to Rajkumar Hirani (Munna Bhai, 3 Idiots and PK) for directing this one.
I hope with these few points of mine that I have been able to convince you beyond reasonable doubt that you should go see PK, fall in love with Aamir Khan and have a good good life.
P.S The only person that can match Aamir is Rani Mukherjee! But that’s the third post for another day!