Superstar Aamir Khan entertained the fans as a young, curious engineer in “3 Idiots” but this wouldn’t have been possible, had he listened to his parents, who wanted him to pursue engineering.
Aamir, son of director Tahir Hussain and nephew of filmmaker Nasir Husain, has revealed that despite being a film family, his folks were against the idea of him joining Bollywood as they found it volatile.
“At that time almost everyone felt, film industry was not a good place to be. My own family, Nasir sahab (Nasir Hussain) and papa jaan were telling me, ‘No. Don’t go in films’. Both filmmakers were telling me not to go in films.
“Chacha jaan (Nasir), abba and ammi felt it was such a volatile profession,” the 51-year-old said during a panel discussion at the 18th Jio MAMI Mumbai International Film Festival.
Aamir said his family wanted him to do something, which was more “stable”.
“One minute you are up there, one minute you are not. There is no certainty or security. They wanted us to be more stable in life, to go into a profession which is more stable. Engineer, doctor, charted accountant.
“I wouldn’t have managed to do any of the these things. But they wanted me to get into a good professional course. They didn’t want me to go through the uncertainties and the traumas, in the volatile business that we are in,” he said.
Aamir said nevertheless he undertook a course at Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), though secretly.
“I was very conscious of one thing. I never wanted Nasir sahab aur abba jaan to ever feel that ‘Now it is our responsibility to launch Aamir’. I didn’t want them to ever feel that, or be a burden on them.
“So, I knew by the time I wanted to act. I was doing my own thing, I used to go to FTII, do diploma films over there. But I never ever even by mistake used to mention to chacha jaan or to abba jaan about me wanting to act. I didn’t want to come close to it.”
Aamir recalled he shot for a 40-minute short film called “Paranoia” directed by Aditya Bhattacharya, after he passed out of 10th.
It was a silent film made by his classmate, who asked him to feature in it as an actor, assistant director, spot boy, and the experience of doing that film made him interested in filmmaking.
Aamir said veteran actress Shabana Azmi watched the movie and heaped praise on him.
“Nobody in my house knew I had gone to shoot the film. I used to pretend that I was going for hockey match, but used to go for shooting.
“Shabana ji saw the film and asked about me. At that time, she was working with my father in a film titled ‘Khoon Ki Pukaar’. She said, ‘Oh you’re Tahir sahab’s son! I must tell him you’re a fantastic actor!’ I said, ‘No! You can’t tell him that!’ She said, ‘You are a fantastic actor, you should be acting’. I felt so good,” Aamir recalled.
Aamir revealed that it was scriptwriter Javed Akhtar, who told Nasir that he should be a star.
“I joined chacha jaan as an assistant director. It was towards the end of the shooting of ‘Zabardast’ in Lonavla where Javed sahab had come to work on ‘Mr India’ script…
“I was sitting in Nasir sahab’s room and Javed sahab walked in to say hi. When he asked about me, chacha jaan said, ‘He is Tahir’s son, he is assisting me’.
“Javed sahab said, ‘Why is he an assistant? He should be a star!’ It’s quite ironical that both Shabana and Javed, who are together today, individually noticed me at separate places and said the same thing.”
Aamir, however, still didn’t have the courage to say that he wanted to make movies but luckily for him, his uncle realised his future was on showbiz.
“After that also I never had the courage to tell my uncle or father. I didn’t bring it up. I was so frightened.
“One day I was with chacha jaan. He met someone and introduced me, saying, ‘Meet my nephew Aamir. He is the star of my next film’. I was like ‘whoa’. That’s how I got to know I would be acting in his next film. Then he called me a few days later and said he wants to make a love story with me,” he said.
In 1988, Aamir made his full-fledged acting debut with tragic romance “Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak” and true to Javed’s words, has been a star for more than 20 years now.
The panel discussion was held on the occasion of launch of Akshay Manwani’s book launch “Music, Masti, Modernity- The Cinema of Nasir Hussain”.