Perfectionist, risk-taker, gutsy, sharp, box-office king, actor par excellence – these are just some of the adjectives used to describe the phenomenon that is Aamir Khan. But what made Aamir the man, the actor, the filmmaker, and the superstar that he’s today. We take a look back at his iconic career so far, and see how Aamir catered to our every mood to become a jack of all trades and master of everything.
A Risk-Taker from the Beginning
It’s a common misconception that Aamir began experimenting and taking risks with his roles post 2000, in films like Lagaan, Dil Chahta Hai, Rang De Basanti, Taare Zameen Par, and more. In fact, not many know that his debut film was an art-house project called Holi under Ketan Mehta’s direction. Even after QSQT, Aamir could have easily cashed in on his romantic image, but chose to do films like Raakh, Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikanadar, Andaz Apna Apna, and Rangeela. Unfortunately, besides JJWS and Rangeela, no other experimental role of Aamir clicked at the box-office those days, which is perhaps why he became associated with ushering in a new wave in Bollywood only in the new millennium.
Once a Lover-Boy, Always a Lover-Boy
It’s credit to the huge reserves of Aamir’s talent that he could convincingly balance the aforementioned roles with his chocolate-boy, romantic image in films like Dil, Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin, Raja Hindustani, Hum Hain Rahin Pyar Ke, and Ishq. The audience wholeheartedly lapped up these films of his, which gave Aamir the leeway to keep experimenting through the 90s till he finally gained the audience’s trust to wholeheartedly accept him in any and everything he does. Not to mention that film like Ishq, Dil, Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin, and Hum Hain Rahin Pyar Ke made Aamir a hit with the ladies, the heartthrob of millions, a style icon to the youth, and, above all, carry tremendous recall value to this day.
The Action Hero Strikes
They said he was too thin and cute to fight baddies on screen. They said he was too short to look intimidating. They said he’s meant to offer flowers to gorgeous heroines and not point guns at villains. That all ended the moment Aamir decided to do films like Baazi, Ghulam, and Sarfarosh, which not only gave his image a 360° makeover, but also gave Bollywood viewers a new breed of action hero – one who combats his opponents with both brain and brawn.
The Bollywood Revolutionary
As mentioned earlier, Aamir ushered in a new wave for Indian cinema post 2000, and what a change it was. Lagaan, Dil Chahta Hai, Rang De Basanti, Taare Zameen Par, 3 Idiots, PK – the propensity with which Aamir keeps experimenting and reinventing himself, and the frequency with which he keeps choosing great scripts is mind-boggling to say the least. What it has done is not only gain Aamir hordes of fans, but also moviegoers who have implicit trust in his choices. The eventual winner in all this has been Indian cinema for getting so many great fil.
The Box-Office Emperor
Aamir has never been one to chase box-office records. Though he has delivered big hits since the 90s, his closest competitors, Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan, were always a step ahead in terms of pure numbers. However, as trust for an Aamir Khan film grew among moviegoers, so did his box-office numbers, and today, he’s hailed as the inventor of the 100-crore, 200-crore, and 300-crore club, and holds almost every box-office record worth mentioning. The manner in which Aamir gradually took over the box-office reminds us of a famous line from one of his greatest films: “Kabil bano, kabil. Kamyabi toh saali jhak maarke peeche bhagegi.”
And now, we await Aamir Khan’s next release, Dangal – a film that personifies every risk-taking, revolutionary, ballsy trait associated with the man for all moods over the years.