He doesn’t like loud music, loves his sleep and is attracted to unusual things. In his maiden trip to sunny Singapore, Superstar Aamir Khan promoted his highly anticipated movie ‘Secret Superstar’ and met his fans at the Mastercard Theatres Box Office at Marina Bay Sands. The movie, which features Zaira Wasim as the 14-year-old protagonist, is set to relate to youth and their struggles to fight for their dreams. Those of us seated in the theatre heard Aamir Khan arrive before actually seeing him (thanks to his screaming fans who patiently waited along the red carpet). Sporting a crisp black suit, a regal moustache, ear cuffs and a nose piercing; he looked both badass and sophisticated. Oxymoron, I know. But have you met Aamir Khan? I had half the mind to run over and exclaim, “Look! We’re piercing buddies!” as Joey did to Chandler, but I controlled my emotions and decided to behave. “I’m attracted to unusual things,” he says referring to his choice of movies which do not follow the templates of Hindi cinema. This attraction began with the epic Lagaan. Most observers thought that the movie was heading for disaster at the box office. But, he listened to his creative passion instead of doubt and persevered.
“My fear does not make me shift from the path that I have chosen.”
And in rolled the critical acclaim and awards at international film festivals, being listed in Time and Empire magazine as a movie not to be missed and even an Academy Award nomination. Aamir Khan has not looked back since. Striking gold at the box office with one hit after another, he continues to not just entertain but most importantly to inspire positive change. As he answered the questions directed by the moderator, his body language and responses reflected a genuine honesty that is sometimes absent in stars. This honesty seeps into in his work as he gives every character as much as he can, in order to make it real in reel life. Playing Shakti Kumaarr in ‘Secret Superstar,’ he mentioned how this role gave him the liberty to be brash and rude openly. In a video screened at the event, he explains in Hindi how his focus is on getting into the mind and nature of the character – everything else simply flows from there. No wonder he has millions of fans from all around the world.
But who is Aamir Khan’s secret superstar?
“My mother,” he says. “She has been a huge influence on me, what I am as a human being is shaped because of her.” Describing her as a very suljhi hui insaan, he spoke of her intelligence, empathy and her ability to care for others. When he was about 12 years old, he’d come home after winning a tennis tournament and his mother was obviously happy and hugged him in celebration of his win. “A few minutes later, she came and sat next to me and said, “The boy who lost to you today, he must’ve just reached home like you, and his mother would have asked him the same question. And he would have told his mother that he lost. So his mother must be feeling sad right now.” And she was saying it more introspectively… she was thinking about that boy who she’s never seen, she’s thinking about his mother. So she has that ability. I don’t think she was trying to teach me a lesson. She was just being herself.” Perhaps empathy is instilled into Aamir, why is possibly why he opened up the floor to his fans to ask him questions. Needless to say, they jumped at the opportunity … literally. Naturally, someone asked him the perennial question about his absence from award functions. For those unaware, Aamir Khan has a reputation for not attending any award shows and does not accept awards. I believe the only one he ever did accept was the Gollapudi award for Taare Zameen Par, which moved him to tears.
Then why oh why, does a skilled actor like himself refuse to attend other award shows?
“I’m not disrespecting those who attend such shows, but for me, my priority is my audience,” he says. “I understand people want me to attend award shows because they feel that I deserve those awards. But for me, the biggest award that I can get for my work is the audience loving my film. I’m not saying this just to make the audience happy. That’s why awards are just meaningless to me. And you know, a lot of the awards are also … ” *does the so-so hand gesture and audience laughs and roots* It seems Aamir breaks the typical stereotype of actors not just by his absence at such functions, but also at parties. “I walk around like a dazed person. Like a zombie,” he says, “I can’t deal with loud music.” “And it amazes me how people are attempting to converse in that loud music. What are you thinking?!” he says before the audience bursts into laughter.
So what does he do when he’s avoiding parties with deafening music?
“I’m usually sleeping a lot. I love sleeping, it’s a big passion.” *cue applause from the sleep-deprived folks in the audience*
Coming to the trailer of ‘Secret Superstar,’ Zaira’s character in the movie appears to be on the path to stardom. But how can everyday people become superstars?
According to Aamir, we all may not be the best at our professions or achieve the kind of success we desire, but we can be superstars if we are good human beings. “Every day if you do one thing in your life, where that one thing is not for yourself, it’s for somebody else, then that makes you a superstar in my eyes.” As he rounded up the conversation for the evening, Aamir took a wefie with his audience. I stood up and did the peace sign as high as I could. If you spot it, let me know because I can’t. Like many others, I left the evening inspired and moved by the honesty of a man, who is greatly passionate about his work. Many may call him a superstar, megastar and undoubtedly so. But that evening, he felt more like an intelligent, thought-provoking, modern day philosopher. One with a badass moustache. Secret Superstar releases globally on October 19.
Watch the full “In Conversation With Aamir Khan” on facebook
Image Credit: Zee TV and Nin9 Studios