I have no political ambitions, Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan tells The New Indian Express Editorial Director Prabhu Chawla during Teekhi Baat on IBN7. Excerpts:
You went before a Parliamentary Committee in a T-shirt, jeans, and sneakers. Wasn’t it too casual?
I was called as they wanted to listen to my thoughts, not to look at my clothes.
I read Kiran Rao’s statement that Satyameva Jayate has made my life hell.
All the planning of Satyamev Jayate was happening from home for the past two years. The whole house was upside down.
From the time Kiran has come into your life, good work is happening, it seems...
Well, professional success was there before too. But seeing her nature, I feel lucky that she has come into my life.
What is the motivation behind Satyameva Jayate? And what will you call this, entertainment or reality show?
This is a personal journey for me. I am trying to learn, get closer to people of my country, their feelings. And I want more people to join this journey. Hence this is a attempt to understand the issue first, then highlight it so we get a road to move ahead.
There must be a conflict. Is Aamir Khan’s personality of actor, entertainer, social activist?
There is no conflict because I am not naming what I am doing. All issues are important, the ones that touch every Indian.
What was the mission? These issues are not a new thing in India, but your way is new.
I feel that when we understand an issue completely, the action we take on it also completely changes. And many times I feel we don’t understand the issue completely. Hence, our attempt was to understand those issues first, from every angle and when we put those issues in front of people and I feel that people many change the way they look at things.
Your critics will say that this is for publicity or that you feel at this stage you must put yourself to this work.
I have got so much in this life due to God’s greatness, so much love, name and fame that I should be able to make good use of it and return something to society.
Like in films?
We did it via films too. Like in 3 Idiots, we highlighted education; in Taare Zameen Par, we concentrated on primary education.
Don’t you want to buy a cricket team?
I do not have this interest. My bent of mind is that I feel happy if I can get happiness into any person’s life, or if somebody can tell me that after watching your show my life changed.
Do you ever think that the effect of your show will last only for a few months?
I think that the people will remember. I feel that when something touches your heart then you do not forget it soon. It has been more than five years since Taare Zameen Par, but people have not forgotten.
After you took up the issue of dyslexia, many schools changed, facilities were improved...
There have been changes, in the teaching profession, in parents’ behaviour towards children. In many states, nobody even knew what dyslexia is.
Why does Aamir Khan need to cry when the medium and message is so strong?
There is no need to cry, I am not crying because there is a need. Tears roll out because the person besides whom I am sitting and when he is telling his story sitting next to me, like when a mother tells me how his son died, or when a sister tells me how his brother died, or when a woman tells me how her husband assaulted her.
As you are growing younger every year, you are moving from big screen to the small screen. What is behind this, commercial interest?
I am actually losing money in Satyameva Jayate.
You have left other work. You are charging nothing from the channel.
We are charging; the cost of our show is so much.
Aamir Khan is not charging anything...
Mentally I have kept nothing for me in this. In fact I am at a loss via this show. Normally, I do not say this but am saying this because you are asking.
But there are so many big sponsors, the way you travel, money is being spent.
There is a lot of money being spent on this show.
Hence you are doing no-profit no-loss like NGOs?
I am in loss, I tell you. I am not sad because the aim with which I am doing the show is very clear.
What is your mission?
If you have seen my first show, I have answered these questions. I believe that every Indian loves his country, and everybody feels that some things in our country can be made better. That I why I am doing what I am doing.
You raised many social issues like Narmada Bachao Andolan, and you were with Team Anna for a short while too. .
I do not step back. As far as Narmada or Annaji is concerned, if I feel that some things are correct and I should support them, then as an Indian I support them. It does not mean that I have become an activist. Like Annaji is saying that a strong anti-corruption law should be passed. I am not supporting Annaji, but the cause.
Does that mean that Aamir Khan has no plans of becoming a social activist? That you will support a cause but not join full-time?
Yes, because I do not consider myself a social activist. I consider myself a responsible citizen of India.
Some of your films are ready and waiting.
Films give me strength; my popularity is due to films. I want to move ahead in the movement that we started: Satyameva Jayate.
You are using your popularity to forward social mission.
I am trying.
While doing Satyameva Jayate, you would have got 20-25 ideas for films.
When I did the show, I did not see it from that angle.
Are you a social person?
Like when you went to Delhi, you saw a film with Advaniji.