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Aamir Khan on RDB at the Oscars

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By: Screen Weekly, IndiaFM
Monday, October 09, 2006
As Rang De Basanti dashes ahead of Lage Raho Munnabhai to be India's official entry at the Oscars, Aamir Khan declares that he would put his previous experience of promoting home--production Lagaan in the foreign film category at the Oscars to best use. The big 'O' night is a good six months away, yet Aamir&co. are already gunning for the coveted statuette...

What's the first image that comes to mind when someone says Rang De Basanti?
The collective response of the Indian audience towards the film. I know that the film inspired a lot of people who now want to come forward and be a part of the mainstream socially.

What was your reaction when you heard that the film was selected?
I was very proud that Rang De Basanti will represent India on an international forum.

How important is an Oscar nomination for you, since you are so disdainful towards the film awards given within the country?
As an actor, my primary responsibility is to get the response from the audience in India, since the film is made primarily for them. Then, I'd like to focus on getting an international audience. Next comes representing the film on international platforms and festivals.

When Lagaan went to the Oscars, you were totally involved in the publicity and lobbying strategies. What will be your involvement this time?
Well, I think director Rakeysh Mehra, producer Ronnie Screwvala and the entire UTV team are extremely capable of getting Rang De Basanti noticed internationally. But of course, I'll be guiding and advising them with my experiences. This is not limited to just my films but to other films also, just as long as I believe in them. Ashutosh Gowariker and I did that when we shared our experiences with the Shwaas team two years ago.

The buzz is that there was a battle royal between Rang De Basanti and Lage Raho Munnabhai for this particular honour...
There are two ways of looking at it. Either you can be disappointed that this time we had two brilliant films and only one could be sent or we can be happy that Indian cinema is at that stage where we actually have to scratch our heads to think of which film to send. I don't know whether it was a close call since I don't have any information about the committee discussions.

Do you feel vindicated that RDB is going for the Oscar even though the National Awards jury ignored it?
Has the National Awards list come out officially? No, na? I feel that when we constitute a jury, we should not interfere with their decisions. But once the jury announces its choices, we must disclose who appointed the panel. This is the best way to ensure transparency.

What's your reaction to the mass movements Rang De Basanti has inspired, like the support rallies for Jessica Lall and anti-reservation protests by medical students?
I think the film has definitely touched a chord in people. It has reminded us about the sacrifices our forefathers made so that we could enjoy this freedom. It tells us that the least we can do is to take charge so that we can be a part of the solution and not the problem.

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