Thespian With Social Conscience
Aamir Khan started his career as a child artist in Nasir Hussain’s Yaadon Ki Baarat (1973). An entertainer, a social crusader, a perfectionist and a star who does not have the air of stardom, his work has won him accolades all across the globe. The recluse star who is famous for not attending award ceremonies is also known for his discerning taste in world cinema and literature and his interest in socio-economic and political issues.
Aamir Khan’s tryst with celluloid restarted with an experimental film-Ketan Mehta’s Holi in 1984. However, his full-fledged commercial debut came with Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988) when he was just 23. Aamir’s pairing with former miss India and also a debutant Juhi Chawla won many young hearts. The movie went on to become a runaway success and Aamir turned out to be an overnight superstar. One year later, Aamir won the national award special jury prize for his performance in Raakh (1989). By the early 1990s, he had already established himself as a leading actor of the industry and had appeared in several commercially successful movies. His first Filmfare Award came in 1996 for Raja Hindustani. Later in 1998, Aamir’s ‘ice-candy man’ act in the critically acclaimed Deepa Mehta’s Earth received rave reviews from the international media.
In 2002, Aamir and his wife Reena Dutta went to separate their ways. While their separation was covered by every single national media, Aamir’s Lagaan was nominated for the overseas Academy Award in the best foreign-language film category. Set in colonial India, it brought Aamir up to a different league. Lagaan was produced under Aamir’s own banner and went on to win the national award in the most popular film category in 2001. This success was followed by Farhan Akhtar’s Dil Chahta Hai. The movie became a trend-setter and introduced Bollywood to a new, fresh genre of filmmakers. Subsequent to 2001, Aamir took a 4 years break. The media was rife with speculation as to explain Aamir’s absence from the big screen. Some said he had retired from acting. But away from public glare, Aamir decided to tie the knot for the second time in his life. On December 28 in 2005, Aamir married Kiran Rao. She was an aspiring filmmaker and the two had met at the shooting of Laagan where Rao was assistant to the director.
Aamir returned to the big screen in Ketan Mehta’s period film Mangal Pandey in 2005. The martyr sepoy was being played by Aamir himself. But the real blockbuster came with Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s Rang De Basanti in 2006. The movie was a smashing hit, the highest grosser of the year and once again a trend-setter. In 2007, Aamir marked his directorial debut with the critically acclaimed Taare Zameen Par. The film was the second offering from the Aamir Khan Productions stable. This was yet another success and Aamir played the role of a teacher to a dyslexic child. The film was lapped up by the critics and the audience alike. By now, Aamir was handling one project at a time. His commitment to his role gained him the title of ‘Mr Perfectionist’. He refused to star in more than one movie in a year. And every single one he did became a runaway hit.
From Ghajini to 3 Idiots , Aamir provided a new direction to Indian cinema. 3 Idiots proved to be a landmark, not just altering the ‘tried and tested’ formula of Bollywood but also by bringing a conscious change in the society. To carry forward this message of change, Aamir hit the small screen with his talk show Satyamev Jayate in 2012. The show was largely anticipated to be a celebrity chat show before it was finally aired on television. Contrary to all speculations, Aamir brought forward people from various walks of life and shared the stage with them. Highlighting the sensitive and neglected issues of female foeticide, dowry, disability, medical malpractice, etc. the show received overwhelming response from people across the nation.
Aamir Khan will always be known for his distinguished contribution to Indian cinema and society.