A big star in a little world

amir Khan talks about the magic of working with children and what he's trying to convey through his directorial debut Taare Zameen Par

Over the last few years, he has acquired the reputation of being one of the most discerning actors within the Indian film industry. Now that he makes his first foray into direction, Aamir Khan's Taare Zameen Pe is generating a lot of positive buzz that could easily translate into box office success. As he whizzes through his promotional responsibilities, he is careful not to let the attention be taken away from the subject of the film - children with dyslexia.

Heard your kids have seen the film.
They've seen the rough cut and they like it.
Are you an indulgent father or a disciplinarian?

Neither. I want my kids to grow up with character and integrity, be happy and well-behaved. I've been a good parent. Taare Zameen Par has made me more sensitised to their needs.
Wasn't your divorce from their mother Reena difficult for them?

That's not relevant here. I'm here to talk about the film.

Being celebrity kids how do they view the realities of the world around them?
Both Reena and I are particular about them having a normal childhood. They go by the school bus, like other children, but both of them are very good academically. Junaid (14) is good at football and squash and Aria (9) is already making a film with her friends where I also have a role - I play the villain.

How was the experience of directing kids?
It was exciting because kids bring a lot of energy and their own point of view during filmmaking. You can get something magical, and I did. 'Taare' looks at the issue of dyslexia, which is often confused with low IQ or lack of talent, while actually it is a disability with language. This movie is not about disabilities but about the endless abilities and possibilities of children.

What pointers would you give parents?
To connect with our children in a focused way. In the rush of today's life and adult responsibilities, even as we love our children to death and they are our main lifeline, we tend to soft focus and not really make an effort to understand them completely, their world and the way they see things, what they like, what they don't, what really gives them joy. I hope children see this film with their parents.

How much was Kiran involved in the making? It is being said that when you were facing the camera she would get behind it.
Kiran is a part of the film but what you are saying is untrue. She will make her own movie some day.

What has been her contribution then?
She's the executive producer of the movie and from the Lagaan days she has been the best assistant director I have ever worked with. She is amazing at scheduling, handling the children, and things like that.

Haven't you asked her to rework her script?
No. I loved her script and wanted Aamir Khan Productions to produce it. But she's very individualistic. It's for her to decide if she wants to involve me or not.

Apparently you make an appearance only minutes before the interval?
I don't want to reveal anything except that both Darsheel and I are playing the leads.

You have been trying to meet Amitabh Bachchan since you lashed out at him and Black?
I have heard rumours that he is upset and hurt with me. With that in mind I called his office for an appointment. Hopefully, we'll meet soon.

Why did you speak out so strongly now and not before?
I did say the same things soon after the release of the film two years ago.

There is buzz that all's not well with the Khans either?
You mean Salman and Shah Rukh? We get along very well, thank you.

Meanwhile 'Gajini' has been put on hold till after the release of 'Taare Zameen Par', right?
I hadn't expected to direct 'Taare Zameen Par'. Producing and acting are bad enough since I'm not good at multi-tasking. Though I started shooting for 'Gajini' after 'Taare' I was distracted by post-production. Fortunately, everyone involved with 'Gajini' has been supportive.

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