How was the experience?
Emotionally, it was very difficult for me as I'm sure it was for Amol because we have been friends for more than 25 years. Amol is an extremely talented person and I'm certain that he will direct a film soon and direct it well. Amol's contribution to the film is immense. He was with me every day on the shoot, guiding me and, at times, even correcting me. I'm grateful that he stayed on and helped me make the film.
But did you enjoy direction?
I must confess that it was one rough journey because I had to jump in without any preparation. I'd always wanted to direct a film but this was not an ideal situation. I'd have liked to spend time on the script and visualise it. Working with kids can be tough but we had a great bunch of kids, especially Darsheel, Sachet and Tanay Chheda. It was extremely challenging and a great learning experience. Despite all that, it was fun. (Taare Zameen Par will release on December 21.)
Is it true that you've rejected your wife Kiran's script thrice?
Not true. Kiran will direct soon. I must confess that I was bowled over by the script she has written. I'm definitely going to produce it. Unfortunately, there is no role for me in it and I'm extremely sad about that. But I've requested her to tweak one of the characters to fit me in. I hope she does.
What is the philosophy of Aamir Khan Productions?
To do films we believe in and enjoy making them.
What will it take for an Indian film to win an Oscar?
The film just needs to be able to impress the committee that is judging the foreign language films. When people ask me what made Lagaan reach the top five, I say it was because the people who saw Lagaan loved it. And when I'm asked if I was disappointed that Lagaan didn't win the Oscar, I say reaching the top five is an achievement itself.
Is winning an Oscar important?
It's of minor importance. I'd be happy to win one. But I give more importance to the audience's reaction to my work and what I feel about it.
What is the status of Lajjo?
Trade reports suggest that the film has been shelved. The last that I know of it is that Mani (Ratnam) is working on the songs and the script. If there is any change, I'll check and get back to you.
This one is a personal request. Can't you drag director Mansoor Khan (Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar) back to direction?
(Laughs) I've tried my level best. In fact, I requested him to be the creative producer of a film I'm producing, Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na, wherein I'm launching my nephew Imraan. He was kind enough to agree. That was my way of getting him back ki thoda sa chaska lagega. Mansoor tells me that he's working on something; so let's wait and watch.
Shah Rukh, Salman and you have dominated films for over 17 years now. What makes The Khans so special?
I've no idea. You need to check with the audience.
Who, in your opinion, can take over after The Khans?
I don't think we're planning to move out soon. But Hrithik (Roshan) is a good actor and a popular star. Even Abhishek (Bachchan) is doing well.
What was the last film you saw that you wished you had acted in?
(Thinks hard) I can't think of any.
Karan Johar has said you don't respect him as a filmmaker.
I've seen all three films by Karan. I loved Kuch Kuch Hota Hai but I was extremely disappointed with Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham and Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna. I think Karan is capable but his last two films have disappointed me as an audience.
What has been your most satisfying performance as an actor?
(Thinks hard) It's a very tough question. It's very difficult to be objective. I'm happier with my last four-five films like Rang De Basanti, Fanaa, Mangal Pandey, Dil Chahta Hai, Lagaan and Sarfarosh. As I grow as an actor, I find I don't like my previous work. I feel there were too many mistakes. It's a process, I guess.
Has there been a performance that makes you cringe?
Oh, there have been quite a few. I'd rather not name the films.