We often tend to overuse the word ‘versatile’. In describing peoples’ stand out qualities, this is a hallmark word that paints a special picture about a soul. Versatile this, versatile that, our modes of expression may be different, but the word enables a confluence of colored expression and remarkable qualities associated with an individual. In the world of movies, the word often is anointed to matchless characters who essay dramatic narratives with efficacy and class.
The love for Versatile
Now imagine, if this word was to be a living person. Better still, if ‘versatile’ was to be walking on two legs and breathing and, embracing life like all of us, who would that be? Who could be that person in the context of cinema? Some may occasionally paint the word genius to actors who thrive on mediocrity and some may revert to doing ‘fashionable’ cinema, to please the masses in their bid to be versatile.
But, truth be told, if versatility was in Indian Cinema, it would be no one else but a certain Aamir Khan.
At 51, holding a legion of films that bear a characteristic verve of complexity, having churned nearly twice the number of box office “smash hits” than the total number of movies stars like Ritesh Deshmukh, Siddharth Malhotra, Arshad Warsi and Rahul Bose have done, Aamir Khan stands alone and unconquered in a space that’s away from the glitzy lights of Bollywood.
Khan,renowned for movies like Fanna, Sarfarosh, Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin, Gajni and Lagaan, has given us our most prominent Oscar entry thus far in a cinemascope that’s as old and checkered as India’s love for movies itself.
And, like every successful actor, our most versatile star has earned his critics too. Some of them often going to lengths spending sleepless nights debating where Aamir’s Twitter rant on intolerance and other social stigmas have been ‘just’ or ‘fair’.
But, in an age where communication through arts like poetry, writing or painting has become ‘boring’ and ‘overdone’ and social media ranting is the ‘in thing’, one cannot sideline Aamir Khan’s broad outlook and palatable wisdom for all things India.
Like Clarke Gable, Khan possesses an outright honesty. He’s got the flair to explore uncanny details associated with movie making, a bit like Eastwood. Bridging the large gap between acting and movie making, Aamir goes beyond the call of duty to make his fellow stars and co-workers comfortable. Often called India’s own Tom Hanks for the choice of films and that splendid acting persona he presents you for a lifetime, Mr. Versatile has given us movies that have grown on us and become part of our cultural DNA, truth be told.
A Romanticist who aspires to perfect his craft
Lets rewind the clocks back a bit and revisit the romantic and happy-go-lucky early 90s. Who would have thought that the charming and suave youngster of massive hits such as people’s favorite QSQT and Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin, would walk such a long way?
Not that his acting left anything to chance or that effervescent smile and the dimples took instant success for granted. But, Aamir’s longevity in the world of movies where moody brilliance isn’t every man’s cup of tea (picture Irfan Khan and Manoj Bajpai) owes itself to the man’s quest for self-exploration.
You would rather call Aamir an inquisitive self-explorer.
Mr. Perfect isn’t what Aamir Khan is
Wondering why? Perfect is a term loosely tied to individuals who thrive on illusion. That’s because, the only thing which isn’t perfect, truth be told is the word perfect itself.
It is like a tomorrow that announces its coming post the completion of today and yet never comes while it still hits you. And such is the cult of Aamir’s versatile choice of movies. You wait for an Aamir Khan film to release rather than awaiting the original print on DVD.
It’s akin to the expectation from the grooviest rainfall during monsoon. And, when the rain arrives, it hits you like a slow poison, lifting you up and your senses. Isn’t it?
A man in his own league
From the cushioned comfort of your favorite couch, as you maniacally traverse myriad entertainment channels, there’s often a need to ‘seek’ whilst giving into the carefree, spirited and uplifting world of entertainment.
Aamir’s talent that took shape in the melodious charm of Dil, the fashionably light imprint of a Dil Chahta Hai, the ignominy of Baazi, the grandeur of Fanaa and the vibe of astonishing depth and emotion like one experienced in Lagaan, Talaash and 1947 Earth, leaves behind a body of irreplaceable versatile work.
Here’s a man who stands on the folly of choosing his own subjects and decoding his own mysteries whilst opting to take audiences on a ride to self-introspection. Away from the glib of flashy mobs that salivate for red carpet entries and sugar-coated Bollywood romances, Aamir Khan’s world has many takers but few decoders.
A scion of doing the difficult
There are very few actors around whose work beautifully complements itself. His passionately dispassionate craft in Sarfarosh where he subtly conveyed the spirit of ‘nationalism’ found a newfound voice of reason and lack of it in Rang De Basanti. He continued the extol upon his veiny arms and grittiness the pursuit to depict the life of another national icon of India, icon being a word Aamir’s work made it out to be for such was its ‘uncelebration’. In 2003’s Mangal Pandey, Aamir unleashed ‘mustached’ courage in torrid times of the bitterness of 1857. Dil Chahta Hai’s Akash Malhotra was full of life, wry wit and grandeur in his zest for life.
So while there’s no perfect answer to how Aamir Khan, the manufacturer of a certain refinement in cinema that’s rare to find do it, none know. But, for now, let’s contend with the fact that Mr. Versatile is in a league of extraordinary gentlemen where he’s the master, commander and the ominous torch bearer of great acting.
Aamir Khan, take a bow.