Aamir Khan: “At its heart Talaash is a story about coming to terms with loss”

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One of the films audiences have been eagerly awaiting is Talaash starring Aamir Khan, Rani Mukherjee and Kareena Kapoor. What is so intriguing, besides that fabulous cast, is that the Reema Kagti directed film is something new for Hindi film audiences because Talaash is a suspense drama. In the film, Aamir plays Inspector Shekhawat, who is investigating what could be called the perfect crime. Though we can’t reveal much, at heart Talaash is an intriguing mystery, which draws together the lives of three characters in unexpected ways. Besides starring in the film, Mr. Khan also put on the producer’s hat to bring this emotional riveting story to life. Aamir Khan recently sat down to talk about Talaash! Check out what the star had to say about the film, working with Kareena Kapoor and Rani Mukherjee, what is the heart of the story and more!

Talking about what goes into his decision about the films he chooses to do the actor said, “I do films that excite me. I do films that touch my heart and move me. I’m doing a story because it touches me.”

So what was it about Talaash that made Aamir want to be part of the film? “The reason why I chose Talaash and the reason that it attracted me was because not only is it a great suspense story where when I heard the script I couldn’t tell what was going to happen next, it’s also an exciting story and it held that suspense for me.”

Though he did not say much about the story the actor did bring to light some of the emotion that is part of the film, “At its heart it’s a story about coming to terms with loss. It’s a very emotional story at its core. And each one of us has either lost somebody close to us or we are afraid of losing someone close to us. So losing somebody close to you is a reality for all of us. That’s how life is. So here is a film which apart from being a suspense drama is a film which helps you, perhaps, to come to terms with loss.”

Khan said that it was great to work with both Kareena Kapoor and Rani Mukherjee. “Both are very fine actors and both are very good human beings. I get along really well with both of them. It’s great fun to work with both of them. When you work with a good artist there is a certain chemistry that you share which makes a scene come alive. You have a certain give and take and that helps your own performance. I think that happens with Rani and Kareena and they’re both fantastic actresses and people will really enjoy seeing the two of them together in the film.”

Talking about his string of successes as an actor and a producer, he answered, “Filmmaking is a tough job. I am fortunate that for the last so many years my films have been doing well and people have been liking the films. I’m very fortunate and grateful for that. I’m happy that the right projects have come my way. I got to work with some really talented writers and directors, as a result the films have turned out the way that they have. Filmmaking is a team effort and the director plays a very important part, the writer plays a very important part. But along with that there is the cameraman, the sound engineer, the music composer, lyric writer, other actors – so many people come together to make a film. So when a film does well, it’s a result of the team doing good work. So I’m fortunate to have worked with talented people.”

When we spoke with director Reema Kagti, she said that part of Aamir’s process is that he likes to prepare thoroughly for his roles and so he likes to know every thing and any little inconsequential detail that you would like to tell him. She says sometimes that is taken wrong, but to her it was that enthusiasm and sincerity that made it a tremendous experience to work with him. When asked if he was a perfectionist he replied, “I do enjoy my work and therefore I work with a lot of love and care and I don’t leave any stone unturned from my side. I don’t think anything can be perfect, especially in the creative field. There’s no such thing as perfect. In the creative field it’s all about what the vision of the director is and what happens organically in that moment. In another moment, that same thing will happen differently. That’s the reality of creative work. So there is no such thing as perfection in creative work.”

Lately the gauge of success of a film has all been based on the box-office and the 100 crore club. So what do the box office figures mean to him? “At the outset, I am not looking at figures. Figures I look at in retrospect, it helps me gauge how well a film of mine has been received. It’s one of the yardsticks that helps me. But that’s not the only yardstick and certainly it’s not something I keep in mind when I’m selecting a film. Had I kept the figure in mind, then I never would have made films like Lagaan. These films went on to become very successful, but at the outset there were not any logical reasons for them to do big business. So there’s Lagaan, Rang De Basanti, Sarfarosh, Taare Zameen Par – all of these films I would have never done if I thought “oh, I have to do 100 crore.” All of these films take up a fair amount of my time, even if I’m not acting in them. So I’m the last person to look at figures at the outset.”

Adding, “And numbers don’t tell everything. Even if a film does huge business, you can ask people how did you like the film and seven out of ten may say “hmmmm, time pass.” You can take another film, which has done one-fourth the business, and eight out of ten say “what a fantastic film!” So numbers can be deceptive. What success means to me is that when we as a creative team sit down before it releases, do we feel we succeeded in making what we set out to make? How close have we come? Ideally, success is when you are happy with what you have made.”

Talaash opens in theaters worldwide this Friday, November 30. Be sure to check out our interviews with Rani Mukherjee and Reema Kagti and stay tuned for our review!

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