Aamir Khan has always been distinctive. Even his harshest critics would have to agree on that for sure. He had always had a perfect Mr Clean image, till he ruffled some feathers in big bad Bollywood, and seemingly the affected or aggrieved lot included some Bid Daddies of the industry who found it extremely discomforting to be reminded of their mediocrity. The tabloids started pointing their guns at Aamir, only for their selfish interest of raking controversies, as we all know that the tabloids survive with their regular feed of filmy gossip, while Mr Aamir Khan did not oblige the gossip-mongers. It was in the latter half of the nineties that things took a major turn with the leading dailies and media-houses trying to outdo one another with a celebration of mediocrity in all fields, and with the turn of the century we also witnessed the Page3 culture and its widest ramifications in electronic and print media. Aamir Khan would more often than not be baited by the media on inconsequential matters. Like his endorsing of Coke, the cola that was accused of crossing toxicity limits; or the alleged affair with Jessica Hines, the British film journalist................ the list went on.
A man of Aamir's integrity did not play to the galleries. But he started courting controversies - as if! His personal life was shattered, his marriage to Reena, his childhood sweetheart, collapsed. Professionally, we did see him chart new history, reach new peaks. Post-Rang De Basanti, his stature was supposedly a threat to the tabloidwallahs whom he avoided like plague. He asked to be allowed to keep his private life private. Is it too much to ask for a celebrity? I wonder.
As if turning the spotlight on his second marriage (he married his one-time assistant, Kiran Rao) or on his kids was not enough. There was a political backlash from the ultra-reactionaries of Indian politics, who bayed for his blood! His crime: He spoke in favour of the distressed and the dispossessed, and made an exhibition of solidarity for the underprivileged, cutting across political doctrines or narrow selfish divides! Attempts were made with great gusto to make the Aamir Khan starrers like 'Fanaa' and 'Taare Zameen Par' bite the dust....... but such attempts were unsuccessful! Aamir's blog that helps him connect with his audience, minus any intemediaries, have also come under the scanner very often. Just because he is candid, and does not bend backwards to pressurising of any kind, and that he stands by his convictions and righteous beliefs.
Now the overblown spat between ShahRukh Khan and Aamir is has become the latest hot issue to be banked upon by the media. Aamir Khan may be best known as Bollywood's Mr Perfectionist but of late he has been given the tag of Mr Competitive. And it all started with a rather jovial quote: "Well what can I say Shah Rukh always likes to be in the second position," Aamir has been quoted saying. Thereafter, when asked if he had a chance to interview Shah Rukh Khan what will his first question be, Aamir reportedly threw back, "Thats a tricky question. I would ask Shah Rukh how does it feel to be second after Aamir?" Is it really a grave comment on his fellow actor's calibre? I won't say so. I am sure most will agree with me on that. He would never stoopp so low to downplay others' merits. He even did not do it to his detractors, why would he do it to ShahRukh, who has been 'a good friend'?
Maybe the wind would soon blow over. Egos are as large in Bollywood as the lavish multi-crore productions themselves. And the egos are bruised too often - sometimes the burns and the bruises are carried to the grave, but mostly they heal too soon with just a clarification or two........ and as a true admirer of Aamir, I hope for the latter. Earnestly.
I am praying for the triumph of the winsome hero! Aamiriaana will surely be the winner all the way!