Friday, January 1, 2010
Aamir the hostel boy
In 1984, Amir Hussain made his acting debut in Ketan Mehta's remarkable Holi (he had briefly appeared in two of his uncle Nasir Hussain's films as a child, but Holi was his first proper role). Hussain played a hostelite in a college whose repressive system pushes one student to suicide. Holi was a product of a workshop at the Film and Television Institute of India, and was released around the time Rajkumar Hirani joined the FTII editing course. Twenty-five years on, Hirani has made a film titled 3 Idiots, about hostel students in an institution whose repressive policies drive more than one student to suicide. Twenty-five years on, Amir Hussain, rechristened Aamir Khan when he went mainstream with Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, is still playing an undergraduate.
Aamir, you're a fine actor, and actually pulled off the student feel better than the younger Madhavan and Sharman, your room-mates in 3 Idiots. A combination of the body language you adopted, excellent make-up, digital touching-up (?), and the director's scrupulous avoidance of revealing close-ups allowed you to pass muster. But Aamir, you should have given up playing college boys after 1992's Hum Hain Rahi Pyaar Ke. You were far too old for the role in Dil Chahta Hai, as also in Rang De Basanti, even allowing for the excuse that your character had repeated a couple of years in the latter film. 3 Idiots takes the issue to ridiculous extremes. I suggest you make a resolution never to play a student again; I, for my part, have resolved not to buy tickets for any films in which forty-somethings are cast as teenagers.