Fenil and Bollywood

Posts Tagged ‘dyslexia

WHO AM I? Shah Rukh Khan as Rizwan Khan


Shah Rukh Khan speaks exclusively to BT about his role in the biggest film of his career

MARK MANUEL Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; December 29, 2009)

Shah Rukh Khan, the pains and failures of 2009 behind him if not entirely forgotten, is looking forward to the New Year because it brings with it the imminent release and promise of the biggest film of his career (his words, not mine) – Karan Johar’s My Name Is Khan. He’s had a bad year starting with the shoulder injury and surgery, then the uninspiring box-office returns for Billu – his only release in 2009, and finally the humiliating decimation of his IPL team in South Africa. But, as the poet T. S. Eliot famously wrote, “For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice”… and SRK, suspect, is secretly hoping that the next voice cinema audiences will listen to is going to be his in 2010. Or rather Rizwan Khan’s, the autistic character he plays in My Name Is Khan, which is slated for a grand bi-lingual worldwide release in February. Actually, the character in this ambitious film suffers from asperger’s syndrome, an autistic disorder whose main symptom is a difficulty in social interaction. It is a role that Shah Rukh, who is notoriously among Bollywood’s least social people, must have slipped into with consummate ease. Over a glass of tea in his vanity van one night late at Mehboob Studios, I asked him whether audiences were ready for another challenged hero after Bachchan with progeria in Paa and, before that, Aamir with dyslexia in Taare Zameen Par. Shah Rukh replied, “Audiences understand what you tell them. People like a good story. And this is a joyous film with a new romantic thought, the journey of an ordinary man. It is a love story with an epic feel. All love stories have obstacles, but the obstacle in My Name Is Khan is real, it happens in everyday life. For me, the film was an opportunity to play a challenged character… bahut maaza aaya!” What he was saying was contrary to public belief that the film is based on terrorism. Shah Rukh scowled. “I don’t know where you got that idea,” he said in exasperation, “yes, it is set in the aftermath of 9/11, and it is heroic without the fighting and screaming, but My Name Is Khan is a heartening and even funny film… even though we didn’t try to make a funny film! I am excited about it as I am about all my films. But this one I’m very proud of. Mainly because I’ve co-produced it with Karan. Also because Kajol and I are acting together after eight years.” He’s not seen a trial of the film as yet to voice an opinion on how well it will do at the box-office. That Shah Rukh never does. Not for his own films nor anybody else’s. In fact, he said he’s hardly seen any of his films completely. “Trials mean analysis,” he explained, “but trial reactions are different from theatre reactions. I don’t make a film for myself, I make it for the story. Besides, I’m shy of myself on screen, I’m not vain, it’s just that I’m not fond of my face or physique. Maybe that’s why I’m an actor – so that I can play someone else.”
Perhaps, he was still in character for the film. Or, maybe, interacting with people is as much a problem for Shah Rukh Khan in real life as it is for Rizwan Khan in reel. “I’m not antisocial,” he protested, “I’m a quiet person, strangely reclusive, I’m not as confident as you think I am. I have issues. I’m thankful to Allah… to be not so gifted and have all this. It may sound pompous, but I’m great enough to be humble, I’m very happy when people say ‘SRK’s the best’… there is a sense of achievement, I’m happy by what I’ve done, but humble enough to know it’s not because of me. Yet put me on stage, say, at Salt Lake Stadium before a million people and I will comfortably entertain you for an hour. As long as I’m an entertainer, I have no problems. It’s when I’m Shah Rukh Khan that the problems arise. I’m a fun guy… yet my kids enjoy their mother’s company more.”

Aamir Khan may be the most powerful man in Bollywood today giving successive hits as actor, producer and director but his eyes still gleam with unexpected animation as he sits down to do an interview. Here he is, candid and uncut

By Indu Mirani (MUMBAI MIRROR; November 20, 2009)


• In 3 Idiots you play a guy from 20 to 24 years, while you are actually 44. How old are you in your head?

I still imagine myself to be 18 or 22. The other day I was at the birthday of someone who I had always thought of as older than me in my head, an uncle type person. I asked him, how old he was that day and he said 30 and I got a shock because suddenly I realised that I was 14 years older than him. I am, of course, 44, which is middle-aged, but somewhere in my head I am lost in the 18-20 age group.

 

• Did that help you play this character?

No. But given that it is necessary to get into the head of a character when you are jumping age lines, it gets more challenging. Jumping age lines, jumping accents, or jumping sexes like my playing a woman is always tough. I had actually told Raju to take someone younger but he insisted he could see me in the role. He said, “In real life, you are so close to Rancho, (the character that I am playing) I feel if you are saying what Rancho is saying people will believe it. What Rancho says is the philosophy of the film and I need someone who people will believe in.”

• You exude a lot of confidence on screen. Are you really a very confident person inside?

I think I am average, in the sense that most people are confident to a certain degree, people go through self doubt. I too go through self doubt. I am given to thinking, “Am I doing the right thing?” I only do things that I enjoy, that’s my first rule. I must be happy in what I am doing. If I am not happy doing an ad, I won’t do it. I don’t do it for commercial reasons. Yes of course I am earning money while I am doing it, but that’s not the core reason for doing it. This ultimately shows in my work, otherwise I am as confident or diffident as the next man. I also need reassurance like everyone else. I also need people to say “I liked your film”.

• When you were directing yourself in Taare Zameen Par was there anything about you as an actor that disturbed you as a director?

I have to say no. The actor and director in me saw eye to eye. Yes, when I see the film today, there are moments where I feel the scene could have been pitched differently. But that is in retrospect. That’s the corrective process in me when I am watching any of my work.

• In hindsight which of your successful films needed the most correction?






One of them would be Fanaa, the other would be Ishq, both highly successful films. In the first half of Fanaa, the character was pitched too filmy. I would have pitched him slightly different. In fact, Kunal (Kohli) and I had a long discussion about it. I would have made the character more real and more layered because as human beings we don’t have a singular emotion. When I am playing a character my attempt is that it should not be single dimensional, it should be layered. Ishq again had a lot of broad strokes and it’s also a very successful film.

• As a director do you have an actor wish list?

I am not sure whether I am thinking as a director right now. I think at heart I am still an actor. Of course now that I have taken the first step and directed one film, I am more open to listening to stories. Actually I have a very strange answer. While I am not in the mood of a director just now the opposite is also true. I think like a filmmaker. Coming back to your question, my wish list would really depend upon what the script is. So my casting would really be based on who can best play a certain part and who will suit the role. Each and every person connected to the film should feel that he is in love with it.

• Does success isolate you?

Success can be extremely isolating. And often, for multiple reasons. When you are successful, a celebrity, especially an actor, your stardom is like a magnet. It’s like the sun. (In fact, I wonder who coined this term ‘star’. Because every star is actually a sun). Because you are a star, every one is attracted to you for different reasons, some valid, some invalid. Some honourable, some not so honourable. But, as a human being our bandwidth is limited. So often what happens is that we need to shut off. It is humanly impossible to deal with so many things.

Have you noticed that stars, never make eye-contact when they are out in public. The moment you make eye-contact, you have to engage. And it’s not that we don’t like engaging. I love engaging with people. But I get tired. How many people can I engage with? That’s the nature of the beast. That’s the nature of my profession.

You have been reportedly meeting people you met on social networking sites. Does engaging with them help you perform in some way?

Now people know that it’s me on the blog, but there was a time when they didn’t. The idea behind it was to interact with strangers. Because the minute a person knows who I am, he reacts to me in a particular way. He may or may not share certain ideas with me. Or the attitude of sharing will change. The fiber of the communication will change. But if the person doesn’t know who I am, which the Internet allows, then he’s freer. That was the kind of interaction I valued a lot. There were a few people who I found to be particularly engaging. Or unusual. And those were the few people to whom I revealed who I am.

If I felt that I had a certain rapport with someone, then I no longer felt comfortable hiding, or lying about who I am. If I have reached a level of engagement of this kind, I need to tell the person who I am. So then it happened that I took three-four people into confidence.

• Since you have just completed 3 Idiots with Raju Hirani, the director of the Munnabhai series, tell me an instant recall of a Munnabhai moment?

I would say jaadu ki jhappi. That’s my big recall moment from Munnabhai. Both, Munnabhai MBBS and Lage Raho Munnabhai are my favourite films in the last five-seven odd years. They are great wholesome entertainment, which connect with you on a human level. Really connect with you on a human level.

Going back to one of your earlier questions, one of the key reasons for me doing this film, despite the fact that I am double the age of the character is Raju. I was so keen to work with Raju and I could see that Raju was excited about casting me in the film. Iske saath mereko film karne hain yaar. Agar isko lagta hain main bees saal ka ho jaata hoon toh main ho jaata hoon. Kyunki ye itna kamaal ka director hai, iske saath mereko kaam karna hain yaar.

Over the years all my professional decisions have been absurd. Its absolutely right for someone to tell me – ke tu 42 ka hain aur tu 22 ka character play kar raha hain. It may be an idiotic decision but all my decisions are idiotic. 3 idiots ka idiotic decision.

When I told anyone that I was making a film on dyslexia, they said I was mad.

When I signed Rang De Basanti, usse pehle Bhagat Singh aur Azad Singh par char filmey aa chuki thi. It was a crazy decision. My sister called me up in the evening and asked, “What are you doing?” I told her I signed a film, it’s the fifth remake of Bhagat Singh.She started laughing. She said abhi flop hui hain chauthi, aur tum paanchvi karoge. It was a bizarre decision.

Lagaan is another example. Today it is known as successful film but at that time it was a disastrous decision. None of my decisions have been practical.

How easy or difficult it is to forgive past mistakes?

Earlier, I was much more unforgiving as a person; not only towards others but also towards myself. I was extremely unforgiving of my own mistakes. In the past four or five years, I have undergone a change as a human being. I have become more forgiving of myself and others. I see it as a very positive change in myself. One of the powerful things in the world is the power of forgiveness. Its what Jesus Christ and other great philosophers have said.

Also, forgiveness comes with the genuineness of the person’s intentions. If someone has done something to hurt me and then comes and says, “Sorry Aamir”, but does not feel it, then forgiveness does not come into the picture. But if a person genuinely feels ki usse galti hui hai, then you should forgive him. It’s the same for yourself, if you realise that you’ve done some wrong, you should forgive yourself. It’s one of the most healing things.

Today we have become very unforgiving people. It may be an ethnic problem, or a community’s problem or a country’s, or in your relationships, with your wife, children, parents, we get very very unforgiving and we hold that against them. We wear it as a badge which says ‘main tujhe kabhi maaf nahi karoonga’.

I used to be like this.

Like two peas in a pod

Sometime ago we had asked Imran Khan to rate himself and Aamir on a scale of 1 to 10, according to a few parameters…

Aamir rates Imran according to the same parameters…

 

Good looks

Aamir – I won’t rate myself as I don’t like it. Imran is exceedingly good looking. I’d give him a 9.
Imran – I would put us both at a 7 at this point just because of how young and great he is looking

Patience

Aamir on Imran-
8 or 9
Imran – Aamir is a 10 and I am 9.5. We are both tremendously patient people. Again because I’m younger, I’m that 0.5 percent less patient but I am the supremely patient being that you’ll meet

Quest for perfection

Aamir on Imran- He is extremely committed so 8
Imran – Aamir is a 10, I’m probably an 8

Spontaneity

Aamir on Imran- 8
Imran – Aamir is 6, I’m a 7

Acting talent

Aamir on Imran – 6. He is good but he has a long way to go.
Imran – I put myself at a 6, I put him at a 10. I so honestly think he is the best actor in the country today

Communication skills

Aamir on Imran – 4
Imran – Mine aren’t too good. I’m not good at all, so 5 for me and him I don’t know, maybe a 7. Yeah he is better than me.

Charm

Aamir on Imran – 8
Imran – I am more charming than he is definitely; he is not a charming person. He is 5. I’m an 8.

Tendency to lose temper

Aamir – We lose our temper, but we can handle it. We don’t react. So, I would give him a 2.
Imran – One and one

Fidelity to spouse or girlfriend

Aamir – He is scoring a 100 on that one right now. So 10.
Imran – That’s a 10 for both. We are both very staid, solid guys.

3 Idiots

Cancer & TB Passé, Bollywood’s Top Films Are Betting On Rare Diseases

Meenakshi Sinha | TNN (THE TIMES OF INDIA; October 18, 2009)


New Delhi: The destitute poet dying of cancer, the coughing mother suffering from tuberculosis — over the decades, Hindi films have often used diseases to create engrossing drama. Now, with changing times, a fresh bunch of ailments, disorders and conditions are afflicting the protagonists: dyslexia, dextrocardia, progeria, and short-term memory loss.

‘Pa’, a forthcoming Amitabh and Abhishek Bachchan-starrer, deals with progeria, a condition where a person ages five to six times faster than the average individual. Director R Balakrishnan was toying with the idea of casting the father-son duo in a role reversal. “The film’s story fructified when a doctor gave me the details of the condition,” he says.

The recent shift in the nature of diseases of protagonists partly stems from the fact that tuberculosis is no longer life threatening. Cancer remains a major killer but timely discovery offers a possibility of cure. The new ailments provide a certain topicality and give the story a modern feel.

Characters with special ailments gathered focus when Hrithik Roshan played a “developmentally disabled” youth in ‘Koi Mil Gaya’ (2003). A slew of films highlighting such conditions have followed since: Aamir Khan’s ‘Taare Zameen Par’ (2007) created huge awareness about dyslexia, a condition where a person has difficulty in reading and writing. Also, Amitabh Bachchan and Kajol brought Alzheimer’s disease in to the limelight in ‘Black’ (2005) and ‘U, Me Aur Hum’ (2008) respectively. Karan Johar’s forthcoming film, ‘My Name is Khan’, turns its attention to autism. Aamir Khan suffers from short-term memory loss in the action blockbuster, ‘Ghajini’. The disease plays an important part in the movie’s plot. More recently in ‘Luck’ (2009), Imran Khan had dextrocardia, a rare medical condition of a person born with his heart on the right.

Irregular ailments have always been an integral part of Hindi films. Mental sickness formed a vital part in movies such as ‘Raat Aur Din’ (1967, where the heroine had multiple personality disorder, and ‘Arth’ (1982), where the heroine was schizophrenic.


Film trade expert Taran Adarsh says earlier films seldom discussed diseases in detail. “But now, with growing awareness, scripts often explains the ailments or mental conditions in detail. The audience also accepts reality more easily today. Hence you have films like ‘Pa’ and ‘My Name is Khan’,” says Adarsh. But, as Amol Gupte, who wrote the story and screenplay of TZP, points out, barely 2% of Hindi cinema looks at special medical conditions.

Changing Script
->Aamir Khan’s ‘Taare Zameen Par’ created huge awareness about dyslexia, a condition in which a person has difficulty in reading and writing

->Amitabh-Abhishek starrer ‘Pa’ deals with progeria in which where a person ages 5-6 times faster than normal

->Karan Johar’s forthcoming film, ‘My Name is Khan’, starring Shah Rukh Khan, turns its attention to autism
->In ‘Luck’, Imran Khan had dextrocardia, a medical condition in which a person is born with the heart on the right
->The trend started with Hrithik Roshan’s ‘Koi Mil Gaya’