Date: 2nd December Location: London, UK/ Mumbai, India Event: 3 Idiots Press Conference
Actor Aamir Khan, Director Raj Kumar Hirani and Producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra met with the press in London in a ‘first of its kind’ press conference via video link organised by Reliance BIG Pictures and Sterling Communications Ltd. Fresh from the question and answer session with the press in Dubai the three talked very candidly about their experiences working with each other for the 23rd December release 3 Idiots though not before answering the question about holding a conference via video link. Was the reasoning behind it to be more environmentally friendly? Aamir laughed and said that he hadn’t thought of it that way: “We do a lot of interviews with the radios but I prefer to be able to see the person I am talking to so this is a good experience… it is a good way of communicating as it becomes difficult to travel at times…”
Loosely inspired by Chetan Bhagat’s Five Point Someone, producer Chopra came clean that the only one who had read the book was director Raj Kumar Hirani, this lead to another confession by Aamir where he admitted to meeting author Chetan Bhagat and telling him that though he was working on the project he hadn’t yet had the opportunity to read the book, the response he got from Bhagat was not expected. “He laughed and told me not to bother as the screenplay for the film was nothing like the book.”
Hirani elaborated: “The starting point for the film was the book but the script has moved away from the original book by Bhagat.”
When asked if Bhagat had been involved in the project in any other way, producer Chopra responded in the negative saying that though he hadn’t been involved with the project he was happy with the final product.
And how did Aamir feel about being just an actor having made a very successful directorial debut with Taare Zaamen Par and completed the role of a producer with film Ghajini? One word summed up his feelings – Brilliant. There were two aspects that had been the deciding factor when agreeing to the project. Though initially apprehensive about working with Vinod due to the rumours floating around about Chopra being arrogant, full of himself etc etc Aamir fell in love with the script and wanted to work with Hirani as he admired his previous work. “Both his previous films (Munna Bhai and Lage Raho Munna Bhai) are enriching.” On his experience of working both with the director and the producer he commented, “I have gained two very important friends… Raju is very clear about what he wants to communicate and how he wants to communicate it…. He is a natural leader.”
Hirani spent 30 days shooting at IIM Bangalore – why did he pick Bangalore?
“I believe in realistic sets, and IIM Bangalore has this imposing building which was fantastic for the film.”
How had Aamir prepared for the film, after all he was a 44 year old playing a college student?
“Aamir stayed on campus for the duration of the shoot at IIM Bangalore, every evening there would be chess games with the students,” began Hirani
“It was like being at college”, continued Aamir, “We all miss it.”
How else had he prepared?
“I had to loose all the muscle and size I had gained for Ghajini, I needed to look lean so I done lots of cardio. I played badminton for 2-3 hours on the days I wasn’t shooting and on the days I was shooting I played for 1 hour to 1 and a half hours.”
Sounds like hard work right? I guess that would be secret to his youthful looks, Vidhu disagrees though. Laughing he said, “The secret to Aamir’s youthful looks is that he sleeps a lot.” Aamir continued, “It doesn’t matter how old you are, it matters how you feel, I may be 44 but I don’t feel more than 18 – 20.”
On Kareena Kapoor’s role in the film the three refused to give any information – “you will find out on the 23rd when you see the film,” said Chopra, though Hirani did comment that she was given the role because she was right for the film. Chopra recounted a moment when Kapoor walked into his office before she was signed saying she was doing the film and for two reasons. 1. Because she had wanted to work with Aamir for a while but had been unable to do so for some reason or the other 2. Because her mother Babita said a Sindhi director is very good to work with.
3 Idiots is going to be another Christmas release for Aamir, was this planned? Smiling Aamir shook his head and said no – it was just coincidence. And what could the audience expect from one of the most anticipated releases of the year?
“A highly entertaining feel good film that will make you laugh,” began Vinod, “The tagline of the film is: ‘Don’t be stupid be an idiot’, and according to us an idiot is someone who is non – conforming, follows a path he believes – someone who is unusual….It is a film for the youth about the youth, however parents and kids would enjoy it too – it deals with issues parents and kids face today. It is going to be a good gift to end the year with.”
And will the three be coming together in the near future for any other projects?
“There is nothing on the horizon yet – we are three very finicky people, we will not work on any project if there is anything about a project we don’t like….”
So it looks like it could be a while before we see the three working together again… but this is one Christmas present I am looking forward too even if it is 2 days before Christmas. In the words of producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra, “I hope ‘aal izz well’ with the release of this film…”