Although the domestic box office has witnessed more misses than hits in the last few years, Aamir Khan has managed to draw in the crowds to theatres with every film.
His last three releases — Dangal (2016), PK (2014) and Dhoom 3 (2013) — crossed the `300 crore marks, giving credence to his image of a bankable superstar. But, Khan tells Mid-Day that he isn’t convinced of his fame. “I don’t feel like a superstar,” he says during an interview. Khan refers to himself as a “regular person” who simply enjoys executing his art. “I don’t take superstardom seriously. In fact, at times, I have had to work harder to move away from it, so that I can concentrate on doing my job.”
Khan remembers an incident from when he was shooting for wife Kiran Rao’s 2010 film, Dhobi Ghat. “Kiran was reluctant to cast me, because she feared that my presence would create disorder when we would shoot at public locations across Mumbai. I find it difficult to work while having to carry the image of a star.” That the Internet has made celebrities easily accessible to fans and viewers has also changed the way stardom is perceived.
Khan agrees. “In the ’60s,” he says, “when there was no television, the only way for fans to see a star was at a film’s premiere, or by standing outside his home. Else, they could read the actor’s interview in magazines. It was much later that people began following stars on television, by catching their interviews.
Today, multiple platforms have made actors available to everyone. In fact, the mobile phone has put the star into people’s pockets.” Khan’s upcoming film, Secret Superstar, will see him mentor a teenage girl, who aspires to become a singer. While his previous outing, Dangal, a biopic on wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat, also hinged on women empowerment, Khan says this film deals with women finding their identity at a deeper level. “In Dangal, the lead character was a man. Secret Superstar’s protagonist is a small-town girl, who chases her dreams.”