Aamir Khan

- Vikram Chandiramani 

Aamir Khan has, in a way, chosen Dilip Kumar style of functioning. Like Kumar, he is choosy and for quite some time, has been doing one film a year (or even in two-three years), and he also betrays his calculative attitude when he talks to media. He deigns to give interviews when he has a film to promote and his pauses while answering the queries are as long.

As interesting, though slightly different, is his love life. If Dilip Kumar was caught with a second marriage (with Asma, a divorcee he married and divorced under the pressure of wife Saira and women's magazines who carried Saira's interviews and wrote editorials against him) Aamir has divorced his wife before marrying his ladylove. Professionally, Khan has risen by the proverbial leaps and bounds especially after Lagaan . Lagaan was nominated for Oscars and he went all out to get media attention putting Bollywood on the world map. He didn't get the Oscars but he got all the mileage he required.

Films like Mangal Panday: The Rising (not exactly a major hit) and Rakeysh Mehra directed Rang De Basanti have further added to his height (pun intended) and increased his stature. But what has really been a major achievement for Khan is his role in the Narmada Bachao movement. Like the protagonist of Rang De Basanti , Khan became socially responsible and was even perceived as a threat by Arundhati Roy, a bookers prize winner author who was already on the bandwagon of Narmada Bachao aandolan. Gujarat government was in jitters and the ruling party of the state, Bharatiya Janata Party, went all out to condemn him, to burn his effigies and also stopped the release of his release Fanaa.

Refusing to cow down, Aamir refused to apologize and his stature has further increased. The latest on the star is that Rajkumar Santoshi, who directed him in Andaaz Apna Apna a film he did with Salman Khan, has announced a film inspired by Aamir's adventure.

In 1988, the super success of his debut film Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak , where he played the lead role opposite Juhi Chawla, made Aamir Khan, the boy-next-door with the enigmatic smile, the hot favourite of the country's youth. However, when his carefully-hidden wife, Reena, came tumbling out of the closet, his films like Love Love Love in 1989 and several others like Daulat Ki Jung and Aatank Hi Aatank bombed. But Aamir, a survivor that he was, held on and never gave up. His patience paid off and with the success of Dil, Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar, Dil Hai Ke Maanta Nahin , Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke , Andaz Apna Apna , Rangeela, Ghulam and Raja Hindustani, Aamir has proved that a handsome star could be ephemeral but a looker who could put histrionics to the optimum use was the ultimate selling proposition.

Son of film producer, Tahir Hussain, Aamir played tennis at the State level, but chose films as a career. He completed a three year stint as an assistant to his uncle Nasir Hussain during the making of Manzil Manzil and Zabardast . Unlike most actors, Aamir Khan avoided link up publicity but film magazines didn't leave him alone. They questioned his (non-mandatory) chastity talk in hush-hush tones, also tom-tommed about his brief flings with Pooja Bhatt and Mamta Kulkarni. Pooja, in fact, endorsed the media opinion and talked honestly about her relationship with Aamir Khan (Dil Hai Ki Maanta Nahin). After his divorce from his first wife Reena and his second marriage to Kiran the truth about his private life has become known. But that has not done any harm to his image or career. Since then Aamir Khan's marriage to Kiran Rao also is rumoredly on the rocks, something Aamir has denied.

Aamir Khan also allegedly sired a child with Jessica Hines, UK based author. He has refused to acknowledge the child, named Jaan. Jessica has written a book on Bollywood which was released in early 2007.