By Hindustan Times
A year after 3 Idiots, Aamir Khan is back in the theatres today, as a painter, in wife Kiran Rao’s directorial debut, Dhobi Ghat. Arun, his character, is complex and introverted, the complete opposite of Aamir, or so Kiran believed. Till her husband confessed that growing up, he was a shy, studious boy whose leadership qualities only came out on the sports field.
“I played practical pranks on my cousins but in a room full of 20 strangers, I was like a wallflower, chup chaap (quiet) and Allah miyan ki gai (meek). That’s why when I first admitted to my cousin, Nuzhat, (nephew Imran Khan’s mother) that I wanted to become an actor, she retorted, ‘Are you mad!’ That was the general reaction of family and friends,” Aamir reminisces with a laugh.
Aamir KhanHe agrees that after becoming an actor he has opened up a lot. And having Kiran in his life has made him even more outgoing. Still, it took a while to convince her he was right for the part of Arun. “I screen tested a lot of actors for three months, looking for someone with a high level of skill, whose underplayed performance would catch the eye. Also, someone really good-looking because all the women in my film are attracted to Arun,” smiles Kiran.
“Aamir finally convinced me to audition him for the part so it could be used as a reference point. And once I saw his test, I knew I couldn’t settle for anyone less.” Not surprisingly, perfectionist Aamir decided to take art lessons before he metamorphosed into Arun. And it was his buddy Salman Khan who played muse.
“Salman is a fantastic painter. He’s presented me with four beautiful paintings that are up on our walls. I tried to copy one of them. It was just a face but it made me realise that I was a really bad artist but a good imitator,” Aamir chuckles. “I gifted the canvas to Salman. It holds pride of place in his living room. I guess, he didn’t want to break my heart.”
Interestingly, Salman’s own pictures are up on the walls of the kholi (shack) where Munna (Prateik Babbar) lives. Munna also wears a turquoise bracelet like the star. “He’s influenced by the film industry and aspires to be an actor too. So it’s natural for him to idolise a superstar like Salman,” reasons Kiran, admitting she had a crush on him too after seeing Maine Pyar Kiya.
“He was a young man and I was just a kid but it didn’t matter. I also enjoyed Andaz Apna Apna. The dance sequences in Partner were fun and No Entry was another very good performance. More recently, I loved Dabangg. Chulbul Pandey was a riot. Salman has great comic timing and is a fab muse.”