Aamir Khan chose not to do media interviews for UTV's recent hit, 'Rang De Basanti' but his enthusiastic fans the world over were ecstatic when Film CafÉ on the BBC Asian Network announced that it would get Aamir to chat live with his "worshippers". Predictably, the response was overwhelming, the e-mails are coming in to date and nearly 500 callers had the phone lines jammed. Excerpts of what Aamir said:
Balvinder (From UK): When you shot at the Golden Temple was it the first time that you had gone there or had you been there before?
How did you feel when you were told that you would have to bathe there? Aamir: Well, I visited the Golden Temple for the first time when we shot for RDB and it was amazing. It's we one of the most peaceful places I've been to. As you enter the place there's a certain serenity that surrounds you. I really enjoyed being there. As for the bathing (laughs), well, it was really cold when we were bathing because we were shooting in the month of February. We actually began the shooting of our film at the Golden Temple. The first shot we took was of our feet entering the water just as you pass the doorway of the temple. The water was cold but it was great!
Mario (from Saudi Arabia): I'm an Indian working in Saudi Arabia. I would like to know how you feel being one of the greatest actors and stars of our time both in India and the world over!
Aamir: I am deeply touched by what you have said! Thanks very much.
Amish Patel (from India) - What kind of Aamir are we going to see in 'Rang De Basanti' and what's special about the film for you?
Aamir: Well, I hope it's an Aamir you haven't seen before! I like to do different characters each time I do a film and I've picked something different this time as well.
When I heard the script of RDB I was really moved and knew that I had to do it. I don't want to give away too much about the film but all I can say is that you'll definitely see another side to Aamir. It's a film about the youth for the youth.
Jay (from UK) - Aamir ji, you have drastically cut down on the number of films you've done and your last three films including RDB have great production values comparable to Hollywood films and scripts that emphasise good stories and characters and the screen play all of this while it remains wholly commercial. So are you single- handled tying to make Indian audiences expect films to have the same quality as we have come to expect from places like Korea, France and America?
Aamir (laughs) Well, it's very kind of you to say that. It's my attempt to do the work I believe in and enjoy and in the process hope to make better films. My reason for doing few films is that I can't do more than one film at a time if I'm to maintain the quality that my fans expect. There has been an unusually large gap between DCH and The Rising but that was because of personal reasons. I didn't work for about two years. But other than that I normally have one release in a year; sometimes two, so I'm paying attention to that. You will probably see a film or two a year from me from now on!
Salil (from USA) - Which is the one role that is the most challenging and most satisfying for you? Aamir: That's a tough one! I guess the most challenging role was the one in 'Mangal Pandey' because for the first time I was playing a real-life character about whom there is little recorded material or reading literature. We had to literally imagine what kind of a person he was and create somebody while fulfilling the responsibility of portraying a famous real-life character. So for me that was a sticky path to tread on.
Sabina (from Germany) - If a Hollywood and Bollywood director offered you your dream roles which one would you choose?
Aamir: I've been offered a whole lot of different films from different countries and for me the criteria for selecting a film remains the same - the script has to move me, I have to feel moved by the director's vision and I have to like the producer. If all this satisfies me I will do a film no matter which part of the world it's being made in. To answer your question, if both the films fulfil the above conditions, I'd ask one of them to hang on till I completed the other film!
Nitin Jain (from India) - Aamir, how much impact will RDB have on the youth of today?
Aamir - Well, that really depends on how the film is received. If a film is well received it has a strong impact and I think it could motivate viewers. The film is essentially trying to encourage people into getting involved in society. As we go along in life we tend to get relaxed and complacent about things often becoming selfish. The film is trying to say that each one of us has a responsibility to society and only when all of us shoulder it, will life get better. That is the core message of 'Rang De Basanti'.
(Amrita from India) - What, in your opinion, is the biggest responsibility of the Indian youth today?
Aamir - The biggest responsibility of the Indian youth today is to get involved in mainstream politics and the administration. Many of us sit back and complain about how things are not right. Instead of pointing a finger at others, it is important to get up and start correcting what is wrong. The only way to do this is to get involved and if someone feels that there is an area that needs to be improved, he should roll up his sleeves and do it.
(Umesh from Canada) - I can't believe my ears I'm talking to Aamir Khan! I sat up all night so that I could call you in the UK!
Aamir - (Laughs) Thanks!
Umesh - When are we going to see the magic of Mansoor Khan ('Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar', 'Josh') and Aamir Khan on the big screen?
Aamir - I'd like to ask that question myself because I'm a huge fan of Mansoor's and he's taken a bit of a sabbatical from filmmaking. We are all waiting for him to get back and make a film! I've enjoyed working with him and I think he's of the most talented directors I've worked with! So I hope it happens soon.
(Asib from Scotland) - Are you planning to produce or direct any movies in the future?
Aamir - I haven't directed a film yet and at some point I would like to. I'm not sure when. I have produced Lagaan and would like to go ahead. In fact, I have found a nice story, which I'm going to be working on with the writer. Sometime later this year, we should make the film.
(Mahesh from UK) - What is the biggest misconception about Aamir Khan?
Aamir - (laughs) I'm not sure about that, you tell me!
Mahesh - I'm dying to watch RDB and see Aamir say 'behen di takki'!
Aamir (laughs) - For the first time I'm playing a North Indian Punjabi character. It took some time to work on the dialect and diction.
(Asif from UK) - Why don't you act with other superstars like Shah Rukh Khan?
Aamir - I would love to. I think SRK is a huge star and I would love to do a film together but nothing suitable has come along. RDB is a multi- starrer so it's not that I'm averse to doing multi-starrers!
AAMIR's PARTING MESSAGE TO FANS:
Time is up and I must admit that I really enjoyed chatting with all my fans today. I'd like to do this again because it is the best way to interact with my audience and understand them. Thank you for giving me this opportunity. Be good, have fun and take care!