Mr Perfectionist on PK

In conversation with Aamir Khan…

Posted: 17.12.14

In anticipation of his latest release PK, we quizzed Aamir Khan, who did not want to give too much away about the rather elusive story, making it all the more intriguing. Despite the mystery surrounding the essence of the movie, the talented Aamir revealed interesting details about his quirky looking character and himself, as well as sharing his thoughts regarding important issues in Indian cinema today.

My ears stick out in reality but PK’s ears stick out even more!

There is very little I can tell you without spoiling it for you all, but I can confirm that my character is not autistic, he just has an innocent approach to life. I am always apprehensive about every character I play and the process continues until I give my first shot, yet PK (which stands for his initials), has been one of the toughest roles I’ve played in my career so far for a number of reasons. The biggest challenge for me was getting into the head of the character. Since the character speaks Bhojpuri, I had to memorise each line phonetically with the help of an expert, which took me four months to make the lines my own. I did a lot of improvising on camera, which happened naturally. We were very pleased with the results. In terms of the physical side of things, PK doesn’t blink which was very difficult since I wore lenses and when he runs, his arms are by his sides. They made my ears stick out even more than in reality! The clothes I wore were not made for me, but picked from people on the streets by the costume designers. The entire process of developing the character took six months.

An emotional experience

This character and film is so special to me as the story really touched me, moved me, made me cry and laugh all at the same time. It also made me ask myself questions. Director Rajoo Hirani is the force behind the story – the film could have been made without me, but not without him. There is a very significant and dramatic message he wants to convey which he has chosen to do through humour. It’s an emotional experience and I hope all of this reaches the audiences through the movie.

The transistor and semi naked scene…

All stills featured in the poster promotion are scenes from the film. The transistor image is an important part of the movie and and captures the essence of the plot. The mixed reaction to that visual where people either loved it or were scandalised, was understandable but it was necessary for us to go ahead with it in order to stay true to the script.

Behind the scenes

It was an amazing experience working with Rajoo and Boman Irani once again. Anushka Sharma is very focused on her work, has a wonderful energy and I enjoyed working with her. Sanjay Dutt brings warmth to set and through his character in the film. He is a mix between strong and vulnerability and I grew very fond of him.

I have sleepless nights before the release of my film

After all these years, I still get nervous. I don’t know how to cope with the pressure and I still have sleepless nights before the release of my film. I Worry about whether people will react to the film the way I did when I heard the script for the first time. I don’t let that bother me when selecting the film or when I’m working, as I react instinctively to it – if I love the script, I will do it no matter what. I just hope the film has shaped up the way we wanted it to and achieve the vision Rajoo had.

There are scenes I regret doing in the past

As recently discussed on my talk show Satyamev Jayate, when I did the movie Dil years ago, there were a number of scenes I would hesitate doing now. In particular the song, Khambe jaisi kari hai, in which the heroine is being compared to an object – quite literally! When I look back, I do regret having done that. A lot of us don’t intend to convey what we end up doing. There is a lack of sensitivity that we have towards these issues. It is important for us to sensitise ourselves not only towards women’s issues but also in how we portray children perhaps in our films, amongst other things. Another example is when I produced Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na and there is a light hearted scene where a girl pretends to have aids to get out of an awkward situation and receives a negative reaction. Although it was supposed to be humorous, it offended people affected by aids and it made me realise I shouldn’t have done this. It’s time the creative people in Indian cinema pause and reflect on these issues. It has been a gradual process for me as I have matured as a person.

Hollywood or Bollywood?

I’m not thinking outside of Indian cinema, I feel we have a healthy large audience of our own, with whom I share a deep and emotional connection. There are innumerable possibilities of stories we can tell within India – it is infinite for me.

PK releases in cinemas on 19th December 2014

Fariha Sabir

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