'Dhobi Ghat' made me fall in love with Kiran again: Aamir

By Gurmukh Singh

Toronto, Sep 13 (IANS) Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan admits he was not enthusiastic about wife Kiran Rao's "Dhobi Ghat" script. But after the story reading session, he says he was so impressed that he fell in love with this "really talented woman" again.

"I didn't want Kiran to finish 'Dhobi Ghat.' Which is not a nice thought, but she did finally complete the script. Then she said she wants me to listen to it. I said you have to read it out to me," Aamir told reporters Sunday here at conference for their film "Dhobi Ghat".

Aamir and Kiran were here for the screening of "Dhobi Ghat" at the ongoing Toronto International Film Festival.

"I said let's go to Kannur, where my filmmaker cousin Mansoor (Khan) lives, and Mansoor and I will get together (to listen to the script). Hoping that Mansoor doesn't like it as well, I thought I will at least have the numbers on my side. I was really terrified of the script," Aamir, 45, said.

"But when she began the narration with Mansoor, his wife and I listening to it, I was so fascinated by what she had written. It is one of the best scripts I have ever read. It is so delicate and beautiful. The characters are so well written. The lines are so well written. Her characters speak in such a different and unique voice," said Aamir.

After hearing the complete script, Aamir fell in love with Kiran all over again.

"All (about the script) hit me and I said I was married to a really talented woman. When I fell in love with her for the first time, I didn't know how talented she was. But after reading her script, I was really amazed," said Aamir who met Kiran on the sets of his home production "Lagaan". She was an assistant to director Ashutosh Gowariker.

Complimenting his wife, he said: "Kiran is hugely talented not only as an actor but also as a director. She is another important addition to creative talent in Indian cinema."

Aamir, who separated from his first wife Reena in 2002, married Kiran in 2005.

At the conference Aamir and Kiran treated the media to bouts of light-hearted banter.

In "Dhobi Ghat", Aamir plays painter Arun. Set in Mumbai, the film revolves around four people who are separated by class and language but are drawn into compelling relationships. Actor Pratiek Babbar plays a key role in the film.

Amid laughter, Aamir told reporters, "Kiran didn't even want me in the film."

Kiran responded, "Somehow diabolically and Machiavelli (like), he got the role."

When Kiran said she found it "a little harder" to pick someone for the role of Arun "because I didn't want someone who is famous as the shooting was done on location in Mumbai," Aamir's rejoinder came, "She didn't even want me in the film. I was most upset."

The Bollywood star said intially he was keen to play Munna the washer boy in the film.

"When I read the script first, I just fell in love with Munna because he is such a wonderful character. But I said there is no way I can play Munna because he is so young. Playing the role of Arun? I said I am excited about playing Arun, but I am excited about playing Munna. But Kiran said, 'Aamir what are you talking? You are not even in the film. You are not playing a role,'" Aamir said.

Kiran put even her star husband through the same casting tests as others. There were no favours.

(Gurmukh Singh can be contacted at gurmukh.s@ians.in)

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