Aamir Khan: first an actor, then a star

Feb 9, 2006 Arpana

New Delhi, Feb 9 (IANS) Aamir Khan, known as one of the most versatile and intelligent actors from the current lot in Bollywood, is basking in the success of his latest film "Rang De Basanti".

The 40-year-old etched out with élan the role of a fun-loving college student who is making a conscious effort not to get into the real world in the Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra film.

"I think this is his best performance till date. It was very gutsy of Aamir to do the role. And he allowed it to be so graceful. Most importantly, at the end of the film we remember all the actors' names," director Sudhir Mishra told IANS about "Rang De Basanti".

The year started on a positive note for the prolific actor. First, he tied the knot with his long time girlfriend Kiran Rao. He is planning to launch his second wife as a full-fledged director soon.

It was followed by the release of "Rang De Basanti", which has struck gold at the box office.

"It got a phenomenal opening and so far it has sustained the success. Till now the total collection from the film is approximately Rs.35 million and the occupancy rate is 75 percent in most of the PVR outlets," said Saurabh Varma, marketing head of PVR Cinemas.

"Going by its current performance, we are expecting it to become a top grosser like 'Bunty Aur Bubbly'." Varma says they are planning to continue running the Aamir film next week to cash in on the festive mood of Valentine's Day.

After "Mangal Pandey's" debacle, people lost confidence in Aamir. They were beginning to get apprehensive about his playing a young college guy in "Rang De Basanti", but now his performance is being raved about.

"You know that he is 40 years old. But what is important is whether or not he is playing the role of a college student convincingly on screen. And I think he did a great job," said director John Mathew Matthan.

"In fact, I also cast him as a college student in my film 'Sarfarosh'. He was in his mid 30s, but he carried it off so well."

Aamir doesn't allow his star status to eclipse his characters and his films. So far, in most of his movies he has allowed his character to take charge. No wonder, we still remember Munna of "Rangeela", Ajay Rathod of "Sarfarosh", Bhuvan of "Lagaan" and Akash Malhotra of "Dil Chahta Hai".

And there is no clash between his star status and his characters. He balances them with ease.

He stays away from the media glare because he believes people wont come to see his film for his interviews and photo sessions and "Rang De Basanti" proves this point.

He irked mediapersons by barring them from his wedding celebrations. But this bad publicity couldn't stop his film from becoming a huge success.

In the last five years he has appeared in four films - "Lagaan", "Dil Chahta Hai", "Mangal Pandey" and "Rang De Basanti". Except "Mangal Pandey", the other three were huge hits.

When "Mangal Pandey" faltered, the actor was subjected to heavy criticism for distorting the image of the freedom fighter. But the success of "Rang De Basanti" has almost wiped out the grey patches from his career.

Years ago, he decided to boycott award functions and do one film at a time. But 2006 has two films by him - "Rang De Basanti" which is already out and is a hit and another is Kunal Kohli's "Fanaah" with Kajol.

Remember, in 2001 he had two release - "Lagaan" and "Dil Chahta Hai" and both had created history? May be in 2006, history will repeat itself.

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Rang De Basanti


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