It's Aamir Khan's 55th birthday and there cannot be a better day than today to relive some of his craziest characters and their physical and emotional transformations. So why wait!
Aamir Khan Picture Courtesy: YouTube
Aamir Khan has righty inherited the genes and the genius of his father and filmmaker Tahir Hussain. Being a stickler for perfection happened right from his debut in 1988, the blockbuster Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak. Given his charm and chocolate-boy looks and his flamboyance, obviously there was a star in the making. But he had an eye of a filmmaker too. He knew what it takes to create a piece of work and how to make it work. He was a thinking man, a cerebral charmer, to put it in an easier way.
Over these 32 years, he has seen massive highs and some extreme lows. He, in case you forgot, was the pioneer of the 100 crore, 200 crore, and 300 crore club in India. His cinema appeals to both the head and the heart, and he takes his own sweet and sometimes frustrating time to make a film but when he does, expect something different and special. But we are here to talk about his prep, what goes behind making his characters. How does he ace the physical and emotional transformations? Is this why he's addressed as Mr. Perfectionist?
Well, here are some instances:
1. Rangeela (1995)
Munna was a lovable slacker and someone who was the truest representation of Bombay. Ram Gopal Varma made this love triangle with as many as three gazes. From the eyes of Milli, played by the breathtaking Urmila Matondkar, Rangeela would be a film about dreams and hope, passion and perseverance. From the eyes of Kamal, an endearing Jackie Shroff, Rangeela is about success but also loneliness, it's about falling in love again. And then comes Munna, a free-spirited soul who gradually mellows as he begins to be charmed by his childhood friend's aura. To get the nuances right, Khan spent quality time with real-life 'taporis', he didn't want to falter with the dialect.
2. Lagaan (2001)
Ashutosh Gowariker's timeless saga about the triumph of the underdog saw Khan as Bhuvan, an upright villager who refuses to be oppressed by the ruthless British rule. Who would have thought a game of cricket would be the ultimate key to freedom? The story was based in the fictional village of Champaner that Gowariker and his team created in Gujarat. All the characters spoke in Awadhi since the filmmaker didn't want to dilute or dumb down the material to the extent of false cinematic liberty. Khan, who also made his debut as a producer with this film, gave it his all. Given his penchant, he had queries and questions about the plot, the characters, the conflict, and even the game of cricket. He ultimately agreed, and the rest is history. Lagaan also made history!
3. Mangal Pandey: The Rising (2005)
After the dual successes of Lagaan and Dil Chahta Hai, Khan went into oblivion with no trace of existence. Since there was no social media back then, nobody knew where the actor had disappeared. It was finally revealed he was prepping for Ketan Mehta's Mangal Pandey: The Rising. I read somewhere Khan didn't want to settle for a wig and decided to grow his hair and moustache, which ultimately took over three years of his career. But he was adamant. The wait became so long that Mangal Pandey ended up being called as his comeback film.
4. Ghajini (2008)
Ghajini could be described as Khan's most massy and mainstream film. It had a love story, a menacing villain for the conflict, and at the centre, a bulked-up leading man who transforms into a monster after he loses his girlfriend and memory. We often joke about how someone is a Ghajini when he forgets things way too often. Such is the cult of this first 100-crore blockbuster of Hindi Cinema. Khan had some crazy workout sessions and diet that helped him to become the character he ultimately did.
5. 3 idiots (2009)
If you see the making of this comedy, there's a bit dedicated solely to Khan and the making of his character, Rancho, who then turns out to be Phunsuk Wangdu. The title in the making read - From Ghajini to 3 Idiots. While talking about the transformation, the actor said he had to feel young and he had to feel like a 22-year old, the emotions were more crucial than the physicality of the part. He was inspired by two people, Mansoor Khan's son and AR Murugadoss, with whom he had just done Ghajini. The actor's boyish charm helped him achieve the look the makers were looking for. 3 idiots became the first 200-blockbuster of India.
6. Dhoom 3 (2013)
This is far from his best film, but surely a bonafide blockbuster! When you proceed to play the character that has been played by hunks like John Abraham and Hrithik Roshan, things can get awry and awkward. But Khan gave it his all. Talking about his transformation, the actor's trainer, Gerald Zarcilla said in an interview, "The training regimen I designed for Aamir included a mix of HIIT (high-intensity interval training) for cardio. The cardio intervals consisted of boxing and low and high impact aerobic exercise. I also added resistance training and gymnastics exercises such as rolling V-Sits for toning his body and building core strength."
He added, "Yes, a gymnast's body needs to be fit and flexible. In order to get that, I included basic stretching exercises but with rubbing the target muscle to create warmth and increase blood flow to the area. I trained Aamir for just four months but I found him very dedicated and hardworking and I was impressed by his focus and work ethic inside and outside the gym."
He continued, "Here's the diet Aamir followed to bulk up for Dhoom 3:
Breakfast: Fruits, egg whites, muesli and green tea
Midday: Fruit or veggie juice
Lunch: Dal, roti, vegetables, and curd
Evening snack: Tea/cheese cubes/rusk
Dinner: Boiled vegetables/grilled chicken or fish."
7. Dangal (2016)
Another crucial character of his career has been the role of Mahavir Singh Phogat in Nitesh Tiwari's Dangal. But it wasn't just about his physical appearance, it also had to do with his emotional nuances, without which Dangal would have been a hollow and empty experience.
Aamir Khan is now gearing up for Laal Singh Chaddha, another role driven and derived by both physical and emotional challenges. It's the remake of one of the most popular Hollywood classics, Forrest Gump. Will he succeed the way he has in all of the above films? We'll find out on Christmas 2020! Till then, happy birthday to the actor!