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Aamir Khan: The Man of Many Faces

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Ruhi Sinha
December 19, 2013

Of all the invincible giants of Bombay’s cinema, Aamir Khan has perhaps walked the tightrope of success with the most poise and variety.

Carefully dodging the ‘typecasting’ bullet for nearly three decades, he hasn’t been afraid of re-inventing himself with every role. Unlike any other industry star, he chooses to do only one or two films a year and shuns popular Indian film awards for having no credibility. He didn’t even mind playing Oprah when it came to throwing light on crimes against women and other sensitive social issues through the talk show ‘Satyamev Jayate’. Time magazine listed him as one of the 100 most influential people in the world this year. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or an eternal skeptic, there is no denying that the man’s quiet diligence and integrity have earned him the Midas touch.

So Yashraj films hit gold the minute they announced Aamir as their surprise new entrant of the Dhoom franchise. The 48 year old actor had to take lessons in ballet, aerobatics and the French technique of parkour to embody his bold new avatar.

And before his stunts set screens ablaze this Friday, here’s a flashback of some of the actor’s most memorable roles.

It was his rise to overnight stardom at the tail end of the starved 80s, playing the valiant lover in this desi Romeo and Juliet.

Who can forget the charming reporter, Raghu Jaitley. The film was blatantly plagiarised, but we think Clark Gable from the Hollywood original ‘It Happened one Night’ would have approved of his counterpart.

From the wayward, irresponsible teen to a focused sportsman determined to defeat his brother’s wrong-doers, his role in JJWS is one of the most re-watchable and popular ones to date.

There is no analyzing or questioning of comedy cult classics. Andaz Apna Apna became one. And so it shall stay.



Playing the socially inept lover and donning colors that would put birds from the Amazon to shame, Munna is perhaps one of the most endearing and rooted-for characters of all time.

Aside from the fact that it gave every taxi driver in India a riot of a time at the cinemas and that the censor board loosened up for an unprecedented length of a kissing scene, this film also earned Aamir his first, long-due Filmfare award.



Sure, the street gangster persona was a win, but it was Aamir’s playback singing and performance for ‘Aati Kya Khandala’ that the film is most remembered for.



As the honest and dedicated police officer, he glamorized the civil services and stirred the patriotic consciousness.



The role of the courageous and enterprising villager ‘Bhuvan’ took him to the Academy Awards for a ‘Best Foreign Film’ nomination. It was only the third Indian film to be nominated since the category was introduced in 1957 (preceded by Mehboob Khan’s ‘Mother India’ and Mira Nair’s ‘Salaam Bombay’)

In stark contrast to Lagaan’s Bhuvan, Aakash was a metrosexual man full of wisecracks and pranks – a friend for keeps and a cynical romantic. The movie’s popularity did much good for Goa’s tourism and men’s hair salons.

This film about India’s first uprising against the British failed at the box office. But it began to establish Aamir’s image as the unconventional star who was now approaching his career with a higher committment to meaningful cinema.

‘DJ’ sparked many kindred spirits among the country’s youth and literally ‘awakened’ them into social and political activism. It has since become more common in India for people to take to the streets protesting on issues of public interest.

Aamir’s directorial debut was no less smashing than his acting career. With an unconventional subject that would almost never make the cut with Bollywood factory producers, the film truly captured a child’s imagination.



This psychological thriller inspired by (but not credited to) Christopher Nolan’s ‘Memento’, saw Aamir transform into his impossibly macho physique. The tattooed image became a national sensation – including the close cropped hair with the bald streaks.

3 Idiots


With some digital intervention, it wasn’t too hard to watch him play a college freshman at 44 (remember he played a college grad in 1988!) in this loose adaptation of Chetan Bhagat’s ‘Five Point Someone’. With an unparalleled run at the box office, it became the highest grossing Bollywood film of all time (recently surpassed by Chennai Express).

Now that’s an impressive career to look back on. And it’s still moving upwards.

So who’s ready for Friday?

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