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Aamir Khan’s full statement post controversy

To all the people shouting obscenities at me for speaking my heart out, it saddens me to say you are only proving my point, Aamir Khan said.

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To all the people shouting obscenities at me for speaking my heart out, it saddens me to say you are only proving my point, Aamir Khan said.

First let me state categorically that neither I, nor my wife Kiran, have any intention of leaving the country. We never did, and nor would we like to in the future. Anyone implying the opposite has either not seen my interview or is deliberately trying to distort what I have said. India is my country, I love it, I feel fortunate for being born here, and this is where I am staying.

Secondly, I stand by everything that I have said in my interview.

Click here to read full text of Aamir’s statement in Hindi

To all those people who are calling me anti-national, I would like to say that I am proud to be Indian, and I do not need anyone’s permission nor endorsement for that.

WATCH VIDEO: Aamir Khan On Intolerance & Delinking Terrorism From Religion 

To all the people shouting obscenities at me for speaking my heart out, it saddens me to say you are only proving my point.

 

To all the people who have stood by me, thank you. We have to protect what this beautiful and unique country of ours really stands for.

We have to protect its integrity, diversity, inclusiveness, its many languages, its culture, its history, its tolerance, its concept of ekantavada, its love, sensitivity and its emotional strength.

I would like to end my statement with a poem by Rabindranath Tagore, it’s a prayer really :

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high,
Where knowledge is free,
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments,
by narrow domestic walls,
Where words come out from the depth of truth,
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection,
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way,
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit,
Where the mind is led forward by thee,
Into ever-widening thought and action,
Into that heaven of freedom, my father, let my country awake.

Jai Hind,

Aamir Khan

  • See more at: http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/aamir-khans-full-statement/#sthash.dnDrq0Vm.dpuf

 

 

Here is the full transcript of the conversation with actor Aamir Khan, moderated by Anant Goenka, Wholetime Director and Head — New Media at The Indian Express Group:

Anant Goenka: Aamir, thanks for doing this for us. It is wonderful to have you.

Aamir Khan: It’s a pleasure. A very good evening to everyone and congratulations to all the winners. Well done. These are the challenging times for good journalism… so congratulations.

Anant Goenka: We will get into why do you say that it’s a challenging time for journalism through the course of the conversation. Since we are in a room full of best journalists in India, we have to take full disclosure very seriously. So, in full disclosure I must admit that Aamir I have been a fan of yours for a very long time. I have been a fan for the last 15 years. The photograph we have dug out from our archives… that’s when you were thinner and I was bigger. But Aamir I was a fan of yours then … I think because of ‘Jo Jeeta Wahi Sikandar’, ‘Andaaz Apna Apna.’ But I think today the reason we are fans of yours is because you are unconventional. Your success has been very different from any of the formula. You have stayed away from certain formula. And you have never been afraid to take a stance… which others in your position normally don’t. So all these stances you take, is it impulsive? Is it thought through? Something about why you keep taking stance?

Aamir: Well, partly it’s impulsive, partly it’s an emotional reaction, and then I try and think it through also. Then finally sometimes you need the feel to speak and you do.

Anant: Out of all the stances that you have taken, some are political, some aren’t. Is there any one that you would regret?

Aamir: No I don’t think so. I mean I have faced many flak many times but no I don’t think that I regret any of the stances that I took.

 

Anant: Did you ever consider the commercial ramifications?

Aamir: No I didn’t. To be quite honest I didn’t but I have been doing quite okay commercially also.

Anant: Your career sounds a lot like the story Arun ji (Jaitley) was talking about with regards to Express… related to the 85 years of Express. I find a lot of similarities with that. If I can ask Arun ji to make a quick comment. Arun ji one piece of comment to Aamir… may be… the role of the celebrity in society. Are you happy with what celebrities normally do? How active they are in the public discourse or would you like them to play it as safe as they have been or would you rather have a celebrity like Aamir Khan who likes to have his voice heard?

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Arun Jaitley: I’m quite okay with prominent people and achievers taking positions on issues. There will be a large number of them who are completely focused on their work and therefore for them to develop a thought process outside the usual activity may not be possible. Everybody is not alike. But there are some people who are actively involved, and at least involved in the thinking process themselves. And therefore today, when the forums for an individual to react are too many, he doesn’t need a television set or a newspaper. He can just, in one line or a few words, express himself. If it’s a seriously thought out view, as against just a maverick view, it does good to any society.

 

Anant: Aamir do you find social media is also encouraging you to take a point of view. I am sure you get haggled to say you know ‘ispe kuch batao’ ‘uspe kuch batao’, take a stance more than you would like to.

Aamir: No I don’t think social media has at all affected or propelled me to make public statements. I think social media is just one more platform if you feel like saying something on it then you can use it. So the desire to say something makes me say what I want to and not the platform.

Anant: But off late Aamir, last 5-6 months artistes have after a very long time been getting up and taking a stance, especially the last couple of months. Your thoughts about the stance that your contemporaries have taken, even other artistes not just actors.

 

Aamir: Well, I think for creative people to voice what they feel is important and I think that a number of creative people like scientists, historians increasingly had a certain feeling in them which they felt to express. So, for creative people to express their dissatisfaction and disappointment is to return awards. I think that is one way of getting your point across, certainly.

Anant: So, you are endorsing the way there was a protest.

 

Aamir: Yes, I would actually endorse any protest which is non-violent… as long as you don’t start beating up people, as long as you don’t resort to violence. All individuals have a right to protest and they can protest in any manner that they feel is right as long as they are not phsically harming people or taking law into their hands. It is certainly a way to protest.. for creative people.

Anant: Aamir, are you agreeing with the protest or do you think it’s called for… do you think it is premature?

 

Aamir: Well, I think, if I am not mistaken there are so many people in this room who are much more knowledgeable than me so I am feeling intimidated to speak in front of all of you. But my understanding is that a lot of people from the creative fraternity are protesting because of the growing discomfort they felt or the growing atmosphere of intolerance that they felt around them… growing sense of insecurity and disappointment with that, and as a result that was their way of showing that they are not happy with the situation.

As an individual myself, as a part of the country, as a citizen, we read in newspapers what’s happening and certainly I have also been alarmed. I can’t deny that I am alarmed.. by a number of incidences. For any society it is very important to have a sense of security. I mean there will be acts of violence in world for different reasons. But for us as Indians, as a part of society to have a sense of security… two-three things are very important, I feel. One is sense of justice. If there is a wrong step that anyone takes, then a correct justice is what is required. Common man should feel that justice will be done. That’s what gives a sense of security. The second and very important sense of security is the people who are our elected representatives – people who we select to look after us for five years if at state level or Centre. When people take law in to their hands and when there is a sense of insecurity, we look upon these people to take a strong stance, make strong statements and speed up the legal process to prosecute cases. When we see it happening there is a sense of security but when we don’t see that happening there is a sense of insecurity. So it does not matter who the ruling party is. It’s happened across ages. On television debates, we see where one political party, in this case, the BJP which is ruling right now, is accused of various things. They said, ‘But what happened in 1984?’. But that doesn’t make right what’s happening now. What happened in ‘84 was disastrous and horrendous. At other times also, through ages, whenever there is a violent act, when an innocent person is killed, be it one or a large number, that’s very unfortunate. And these unfortunate moments are the ones when we look towards our leaders to take a strong step. Make statements that are reassuring to the citizens.

WATCH: Aamir Khan On Intolerance & Delinking Religion From Terrorism – Complete Coversation At RNG Awards

Anant: Can we get a comment from Shashi Tharoor on the role of society, films in nation building.

Shashi Tharoor: I actually wanted to commend Aamir on his earlier comment.. because I thought that what he said about the concerns that were being expressed… this is something which obviously the creative community can try and do something about, because why is it that people, including people in such positions of prominence in our country appear to hold such regressive views about other communities, about other people. It may partially be that we have not done enough. May be we need more Amar, Akbar Anthonys, more films that talk about the essential commonalities amongst people and just as the General (Sahani) was saying about a minute ago about the relations with our neighbours, same thing applies within our country. Are we doing enough through the creative community in a way that actually compels people to think about their own deep-seated prejudices and bigotry… because that lies, I am afraid, at the heart that enables the kind of atmosphere that you were condemning earlier this evening.

Aamir: One of the challenges is also that people in the creative field are also the part of the same society. So we also have the same problems that we see around us. We are not free from that. All of us are the part and parcel of the world that we have grown up in. It is important for people with more positive approach to try and do something which I feel they are. Each one is trying in their own little way. Let’s see

Najma Heptullah: Aamir, I want to quote something, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, your great grandfather, said after Partition in the Constituent assembly, that ‘A country’s development will not be measured by how many institutions it has or how many buildings it has built or how many roads are there. It will be judged by the quality of mind behind it. So we have to built that quality of mind. Do you agree with it?

Aamir: I completely agree with it. In fact, that was what I was talking about a little earlier. I have lived in Mumbai and when I am driving on the road I come to traffic signals and almost no one is following the traffic signal and I am like , but this is supposed to be for our benefit’. So the ability of each one of us to understand that emotionally is something that we have to get to. If you look at other countries like Germany and Japan – after Second World War, they were pretty much destroyed but they have built themselves up in a remarkably short period of time and I believe the reason behind is the feeling and understanding of self which goes beyond just yourself and feeling of doing something for a larger good, which comes instinctively to those societies, which is why they have been able to bounce back so fast. I think that is something that we need to work on.

Anant: You have been fairly successful in doing this in your method of communication.

Mr Aggarwal: I have two questions, both related to your movies. One you have acted and other you have produced. Acted is Raja Hindustani and the other is Peepli Live.

Peepli Live is message you want to give to young reporters who have keen interest in investigative journalism. And in Raja Hindustani, movie where we happened to you having a kiss scene with on of the Kapoor’s and pertinent to that censor board has censored some kiss scenes in the latest James Bond movie Spectre. So how do you react on that

Aamir Khan: I feel lucky (chuckles). Coming to the first question. See Peepli Live is not a comment only on journalists. It is a satire on the way we are as a society. It includes journalists, politicians, administration, bureaucracy, and all people. It includes how people react as well. It is a black comedy on how we are sometimes. Now as a comedy you tend to exaggerate and show it larger, only then it gets to be funny. So Peepli Live is actually a comment on society.

Not much of my films have come for censorship so I am not experienced. But what I have heard being reported is that, yes it is behaving in a slightly alarming way. Maybe alarming is too sharp a word to use, but it is reacting to things which earlier as we free people and adult people could make our own choices as to what we want to watch and what we do not want to watch. And essentially the censor board was a certification board and is supposed to certify the age for which the film is suitable. And then if it’s an adult film, then pretty much you should be able to show anything because an adult will decide whether he/she wants to see the film or not. Then there is no censorship required after certification. That is our understanding of censorship, as it understand it has been little aggressive in its approach in the last 6 to 8 months, which is worrying. I hope that changes.

Anant: Is this the same Aamir who made a comment on AIB, not liking the AIB roast saying it was not good taste?

Aamir: No no. I am very much for free speech. I am a strong campaigner of free speech. My problem with the AIB was not but the fact that there were certain people who had signed up for the roast and therefore they could be made fun of. But there were certain people who did not sign up for the roast. Some of them whom I happened to know personally and to attack such people and to say such about them when they have not signed, I thought was extremely unfair. So my response was more emotional than anything else.

The jokes made on these people who are extremely sexist, extremely racist, strange kind of humour which if you signed up for is still fine.

But my reaction was more personal and emotion. I mean, I’m not a person…I have produced Delhi Belly. It’s a highly irreverent film, it’s adult humor. So I don’t have problem with abusive language as long as it is certified appropriately. You are an adult and you can decide if you want to watch it or not. But my problem is that you take an individual person and hit out at that person who actually has got nothing to do with you, I found that little sad.

Anant to Farooq Abdullah: Can we ask you to make a comment?

Farooq Abdullah: Songs like ‘ungli karega‘ and ‘chumma de de‘, these are very normal things but now censor board says that your kiss has to be very limited. But how can you make it limited? After all you have to generate that stimulation and a kiss does it. Now I don’t know how he (Aamir) would react to it.

Watch: Aamir Khan On Kissing Scenes, Censorship & AIB Roast (click here)

Aamir: As long as I get to kiss on the day of the shoot then the censor can do whatever they want with it.

Sudhir Chaudhary, Editor of ZEE news: While reporting on the issue of being insensitive, we have seen two major incidences in recent time. One was Dadri and other one in Jammu and Kashmir ‘s Col Santosh Mahadik who sacrificed his life. He was killed by a terrorist. And we all know what happened in Dadri. Both are acts of violence. Even after that, the way the nation responded, the political system responded, why is there is difference. If we talk about intolerance, in Dadri there was an huge debate and even people started returning their awards, but there was an army officer, colonel, when he was killed… many politicians are sitting here, most of the politicians reached Dadri but only defence minister reached Col. Mahadik’s house in Satara. So, Why do we have this double standard? This is my question. Why do we have this double standard, while reporting also, while having a debate and while reacting to this?

Aamir: Well, it is really unfortunate because every act to terror, every act of violence is to be condemned and that too with the same ferocity. Unfortunately, as human beings a lot of us do have double standards. Human beings are complex creatures. I wish and hope we could be like machines and could be calibrated into reacting in appropriate manner each time and who know what is appropriate and who decides what is appropriate. So, the fact is that, these are things that will happen. As you rightly pointed out that it should not happen. Ideally, whether it’s media, whether it’s a politician or whether it’s common people. Our reaction to violence should be identical whether it’s one community or the other doing it in any way. By enlarge, most people are against violence of any kind no matter who is behind it.

Sanjay Pugalia: You have put forward your views on many important issues very openly. Another issue, on a lighter note yet critical, I want to say that when we saw Peepli Live, we decided to quit the type of journalism shown in the film. But don’t you think the journalism has become like Peeply Live after that film?

Aamir: Yes? And you are blaming me for that?(Chuckles)

Well, there are people in every field who are doing good and social fabric we are having is reflected in every field. It reflects in journalism too. There are challenges for journalists and on of the major challenge is economic in nature. What type of journalism we should do and to what extent we can write about that and will it affect my ad or the revenue to company. How can you afford to do journalism that you believe in? These are some of the big challenges that journalists face on a daily basis and this is a real battle. There are no public funded media houses in India like BBC. If journalists will get that much right then they can follow the right path keeping in mind where they are and what resources they have.

Anant: Aamir, we still are optimistic at Express. We still believe that there is still an economically viable way in doing high-quality and credible journalism…

Aamir: I know and that’s wonderful to see. I have to say that, one of the first newspapers I pickup everyday is The Indian Express.

Likewise, when people ask me in my work how do I do the films I do because they seems to films which are absurd and weird for popular cinema and all people close to me have always been worried each time I selected a film. They “this is never gonna work”. I will tell you what has worked for me, I feel that you should never compromise with your dreams. Not matter which walk of life you are in, you should never compromise with your dreams. You many to compromise a little to achieve the dream, but never compromise a dream itself. And that’s how I have lived my life. Even my mother told me many times, “What are you doing Aamir? In two or three years you make a movie”. “There is time for every person and you should utilize it.” “Who would watch movies on cricket?” And all the people who know me have warned me at some points in my life but today I can look back and say they have worked, they might not have worked also but I have this satisfaction and joy of doing what I believed in. The journey is as important as the end-product. So it not the success or the failure but journey that you lived through your life that I think is very important.

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Anant: you know but..

Aamir: To complete my answer that there is a sense of fear more than there was earlier. I do feel there is a sense of insecurity. When I sit at home and talk to Kiran. (Wife) Kiran and I have lived all our lives in India. For the first time, she said, should we move out of India? That’s a disastrous and big statement for Kiran to make to me. She fears for her child. She fears about what the atmosphere around us will be. She feels scared to open the newspapers everyday. That does indicate that there is a sense of growing disquiet… growing sense of despondency. You feel depressed, you feel low.. why is it happening? This feeling exists in me too.

 

Anant: So, Aamir you have faith in the media generally? You believe what is being communicated is fairly accurate?

Aamir: Well, so partly. I am saying like any other aspect of society… the kind of social fabric that we live in today is reflected in the media, is reflected in the films, it’s reflected in politics, it’s reflected all around us. To that extent, I think quite honestly, the social fabric is not at its best right now. So for me to say I have complete faith in media, well I will not say that. There are a lot of journalists young and senior who are doing a good job and who are upholding what media does really stand for, but I can’t say as a sweeping generalised statement.

Anant: We at the Express pride ourselves in and generally print journalism does better than any other medium. Media is getting nuances of a conversation out, it is getting into the detail which may be people are losing the attention span for. Do you think the audience has that appetite for the nuance like it once used to.

Aamir: Well, when you are doing mass communication, it is always very difficult to have a nuanced conversation and that is one of the challenges that people who are indulging in the mass communication face. In my experience I think the one thing that I have learnt is that if you touch an emotional chord with people then they do want to understand the nuances also. So when you are communicating it is not only important to reach out to people intellectually but to also to reach out to them emotionally and that for me has always worked.

Anant: But the conversation, I think, has gotten more intelligent. I joined Express four years ago and was given the job of running the web division. I committed some targets to my father and for two months into the job I was really nervous because one industry veteran came and told me that ‘Anant to do well on the internet you need to do ABCD i.e. astrology, Bollywood, cricket and devotion. This is not Express territory.

Aamir: (laughing) So, did you follow that?

Anant: What I am very happy to see is that we have been fairly successful without falling into that ABCD trap. So my question is, Satyamev Jayate for instance, how much have the audiences evolved? I don’t think Satyamev Jayate might have been successful 10 years ago as much it is today?

Aamir: Well, this is a hypothetical question so I don’t know how to answer that but let me tell you, through out my career, I have to say that even in the film industry there are people who have this thought that for the success of films you have to follow this ABCD and if you do not do this ABCD you will never succeed. I have never followed that and I have been reasonably successful. I think at the end of the day you have to follow your heart, your conviction, what you essentially feel is what you have to follow. And when you do that there is a certain energy that comes into your work and journalism as well. That is very intangible, people sense, they feel and I think that is what has worked for me because I have never followed any rules of the main stream cinema.. or for that matter in SMJ we were doing a show on a very very difficult social issues, some of them about which people were hesitant to discuss on a public platform and we had a large section of the nation actually connecting with it, engaging with it in a very robust manner. We did not know that the show will get such success.

Anant: But you know cinema during the 60’s and 70’s, there was something very idealistic about being the protagonist, there was a sense of anti-establishment that cinema’s had. Do you find this anti-establishment messaging, in the contest of journalism, becoming a little old fashioned?

Aamir: I have never thought of it that way. I have never worked that way. I don’t look at films as anti-establishment, or so I don’t know how to answer.

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Anant: So, do you think films have gotten more intelligent over time?

Aamir: Intelligent is a very flunky word I feel. I feel cinema owe the 90’s and the next decades has become slightly more refined and there is a lot more variety. Audiences have changed and they want to see different kind of stuff, filmmakers have changed, they want to tell different kind of stories within the main stream and that was unusual. In 70’s you would have seen very little of it in the mainstream. So I would say that yes there has been some amount of refinement in the main stream cinema.

Anant: The reason I hope and pray for growing audience or people who are willing to listen to the more intelligent content is because Aamir we are living in an age of terrorism and almost always an act of terrorism anywhere in the world gets linked to Islam… and understanding that requires nuance.

Aamir: Acts of terror are not connected to any religion. If he is a Muslim and he engaging in acts of terror, I don’t think he is following Islam. Or for that matter, somebody who’s a Hindu who is engaging in an act of violence, is not following Hinduism. No religion teaches killing of innocents. When you see an act of terror or violence, instead of calling him a Christian or a Hindu or an Islamic terrorist, you should just call him terrorist and remove the religion tag from it… because he is not doing what religions support. That’s the first mistake when we label them. It’s just a terrorist who doesn’t have a religion. Islam just do not condone or allow killing of innocents. Terrorists have no religion.

Anant: Aamir you are echoing with what our PM said yesterday that terrorism has no religion. But you know the fact is, perception is that when you talk about terrorism the concept of Islam or Muslim extremists come in… it has come in as recent as in Paris. Do you think the vast majority of moderate Muslim, especially in Indian context, should be speaking out a little more?

Aamir: Yes, I feel the vast majority of the moderate Muslims are most concerned about what is happening. They feel upset and uncomfortable with what is happening. If I am not mistaken, a number of Muslim organisations have begun to speak openly against the ISIS and similar terror organisations… at least in India.

Anant: Aamir, Do you think it is time that people like you have a more strong voice when it comes to representing the moderate Muslims?

Aamir: Well, you know, I feel very uncomfortable when you call me modern Muslim. I feel first of all why should I represent anyone and if I have to.. why should I only represent just Muslims and not everyone. You know, so in the capacity of myself as an individual if I am representing my country of society then I am representing everyone. I will stand for everyone. My birth may be in a Muslim household but if I speak it’s for everyone. On a number of occasions celebrities have stood up against terrorism. So I don’t think that has not been done by us.. that’s been done by us.

Anant to General Arun Kumar Sahani, chief of South Western Army Command: Is there anything that you would like the film industry to speak about more when it comes to our relationship with our neighbourhood. What role do you think cinema and films have played in terms of our relationship with the neighbouring countries?

General Sahani: Well, this is a known fact that information seems to have overtaken our lifestyle and undoubtedly as you said that the mantra of ABCD…. that Bollywood has, actually holds a very important place in our society. Perceptions can be changed. I think the best example is the recent movie Bajrangi Bhaijan. I think it gave such a positive flip to the relationship between India and Pakistan. I thought it was a beautiful movie where sentiments evoked good feeling for each other. So I think information, media and Bollywood can really make a difference in giving a positive flip to the attitudes that are there because perceptions have formed by information and information is through the media we have, if it is print or media which you said i.e. mass communication. More importantly we have got seven neighbours around, I think a bit about each of them, the lifestyle, the problems they face will also actually make us more sensitive to their requirements. I think there is a great amount that can be done. And the last movie, I think, is a great example.

Aamir: I have always believed that in any society and not just in India, you have people who play different role in society… so the law and order machinery gives us security. Like doctors, lawyers. So the creative people can also make the biggest contributions to society. Doctors can give you health but writer and story tellers can change your mind and heart and the way you feel about something. And when we talk about nation building then that is an extremely important aspect of nation building. You can make the best infrastructure, you can invest in the best infrastructure but you still see a car coming on your side of the road… so the hardware can be created but what about the software? I personally feel that one of the biggest challenges we face as a country today is not how to solve one particular or the other particular issue but it is to address the issue of us as a people, how can, we as people, come together because until we come together and work organically and until we widen our understanding of self, until that happens I think it will be a long time before we can change and it is actually the creative people who can have a huge impact in a short time and that is an understanding that we all need to come to. I have always felt that it is the creative people who can build a nation..from people.. it’s the people.

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Anant: Can we get a comment from Shashi Tharoor on the role of society, films in nation building.

Shashi Tharoor: I actually wanted to commend Aamir on his earlier comment.. because I thought that what he said about the concerns that were being expressed… this is something which obviously the creative community can try and do something about, because why is it that people, including people in such positions of prominence in our country appear to hold such regressive views about other communities, about other people. It may partially be that we have not done enough. May be we need more Amar, Akbar Anthonys, more films that talk about the essential commonalities amongst people and just as the General (Sahani) was saying about a minute ago about the relations with our neighbours, same thing applies within our country. Are we doing enough through the creative community in a way that actually compels people to think about their own deep-seated prejudices and bigotry… because that lies, I am afraid, at the heart that enables the kind of atmosphere that you were condemning earlier this evening.

Aamir: One of the challenges is also that people in the creative field are also the part of the same society. So we also have the same problems that we see around us. We are not free from that. All of us are the part and parcel of the world that we have grown up in. It is important for people with more positive approach to try and do something which I feel they are. Each one is trying in their own little way. Let’s see

Najma Heptullah: Aamir, I want to quote something, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, your great grandfather, said after Partition in the Constituent assembly, that ‘A country’s development will not be measured by how many institutions it has or how many buildings it has built or how many roads are there. It will be judged by the quality of mind behind it. So we have to built that quality of mind. Do you agree with it?

Aamir: I completely agree with it. In fact, that was what I was talking about a little earlier. I have lived in Mumbai and when I am driving on the road I come to traffic signals and almost no one is following the traffic signal and I am like , but this is supposed to be for our benefit’. So the ability of each one of us to understand that emotionally is something that we have to get to. If you look at other countries like Germany and Japan – after Second World War, they were pretty much destroyed but they have built themselves up in a remarkably short period of time and I believe the reason behind is the feeling and understanding of self which goes beyond just yourself and feeling of doing something for a larger good, which comes instinctively to those societies, which is why they have been able to bounce back so fast. I think that is something that we need to work on.

Anant: You have been fairly successful in doing this in your method of communication.

Mr Aggarwal: I have two questions, both related to your movies. One you have acted and other you have produced. Acted is Raja Hindustani and the other is Peepli Live.

Peepli Live is message you want to give to young reporters who have keen interest in investigative journalism. And in Raja Hindustani, movie where we happened to you having a kiss scene with on of the Kapoor’s and pertinent to that censor board has censored some kiss scenes in the latest James Bond movie Spectre. So how do you react on that

Aamir Khan: I feel lucky (chuckles). Coming to the first question. See Peepli Live is not a comment only on journalists. It is a satire on the way we are as a society. It includes journalists, politicians, administration, bureaucracy, and all people. It includes how people react as well. It is a black comedy on how we are sometimes. Now as a comedy you tend to exaggerate and show it larger, only then it gets to be funny. So Peepli Live is actually a comment on society.

Not much of my films have come for censorship so I am not experienced. But what I have heard being reported is that, yes it is behaving in a slightly alarming way. Maybe alarming is too sharp a word to use, but it is reacting to things which earlier as we free people and adult people could make our own choices as to what we want to watch and what we do not want to watch. And essentially the censor board was a certification board and is supposed to certify the age for which the film is suitable. And then if it’s an adult film, then pretty much you should be able to show anything because an adult will decide whether he/she wants to see the film or not. Then there is no censorship required after certification. That is our understanding of censorship, as it understand it has been little aggressive in its approach in the last 6 to 8 months, which is worrying. I hope that changes.

Anant: Is this the same Aamir who made a comment on AIB, not liking the AIB roast saying it was not good taste?

Aamir: No no. I am very much for free speech. I am a strong campaigner of free speech. My problem with the AIB was not but the fact that there were certain people who had signed up for the roast and therefore they could be made fun of. But there were certain people who did not sign up for the roast. Some of them whom I happened to know personally and to attack such people and to say such about them when they have not signed, I thought was extremely unfair. So my response was more emotional than anything else.

The jokes made on these people who are extremely sexist, extremely racist, strange kind of humour which if you signed up for is still fine.

But my reaction was more personal and emotion. I mean, I’m not a person…I have produced Delhi Belly. It’s a highly irreverent film, it’s adult humor. So I don’t have problem with abusive language as long as it is certified appropriately. You are an adult and you can decide if you want to watch it or not. But my problem is that you take an individual person and hit out at that person who actually has got nothing to do with you, I found that little sad.

Anant to Farooq Abdullah: Can we ask you to make a comment?

Farooq Abdullah: Songs like ‘ungli karega‘ and ‘chumma de de‘, these are very normal things but now censor board says that your kiss has to be very limited. But how can you make it limited? After all you have to generate that stimulation and a kiss does it. Now I don’t know how he (Aamir) would react to it.

Watch: Aamir Khan On Kissing Scenes, Censorship & AIB Roast (click here)

Aamir: As long as I get to kiss on the day of the shoot then the censor can do whatever they want with it.

Sudhir Chaudhary, Editor of ZEE news: While reporting on the issue of being insensitive, we have seen two major incidences in recent time. One was Dadri and other one in Jammu and Kashmir ‘s Col Santosh Mahadik who sacrificed his life. He was killed by a terrorist. And we all know what happened in Dadri. Both are acts of violence. Even after that, the way the nation responded, the political system responded, why is there is difference. If we talk about intolerance, in Dadri there was an huge debate and even people started returning their awards, but there was an army officer, colonel, when he was killed… many politicians are sitting here, most of the politicians reached Dadri but only defence minister reached Col. Mahadik’s house in Satara. So, Why do we have this double standard? This is my question. Why do we have this double standard, while reporting also, while having a debate and while reacting to this?

Aamir: Well, it is really unfortunate because every act to terror, every act of violence is to be condemned and that too with the same ferocity. Unfortunately, as human beings a lot of us do have double standards. Human beings are complex creatures. I wish and hope we could be like machines and could be calibrated into reacting in appropriate manner each time and who know what is appropriate and who decides what is appropriate. So, the fact is that, these are things that will happen. As you rightly pointed out that it should not happen. Ideally, whether it’s media, whether it’s a politician or whether it’s common people. Our reaction to violence should be identical whether it’s one community or the other doing it in any way. By enlarge, most people are against violence of any kind no matter who is behind it.

Sanjay Pugalia: You have put forward your views on many important issues very openly. Another issue, on a lighter note yet critical, I want to say that when we saw Peepli Live, we decided to quit the type of journalism shown in the film. But don’t you think the journalism has become like Peeply Live after that film?

Aamir: Yes? And you are blaming me for that?(Chuckles)

Well, there are people in every field who are doing good and social fabric we are having is reflected in every field. It reflects in journalism too. There are challenges for journalists and on of the major challenge is economic in nature. What type of journalism we should do and to what extent we can write about that and will it affect my ad or the revenue to company. How can you afford to do journalism that you believe in? These are some of the big challenges that journalists face on a daily basis and this is a real battle. There are no public funded media houses in India like BBC. If journalists will get that much right then they can follow the right path keeping in mind where they are and what resources they have.

Anant: Aamir, we still are optimistic at Express. We still believe that there is still an economically viable way in doing high-quality and credible journalism…

Aamir: I know and that’s wonderful to see. I have to say that, one of the first newspapers I pickup everyday is The Indian Express.

Likewise, when people ask me in my work how do I do the films I do because they seems to films which are absurd and weird for popular cinema and all people close to me have always been worried each time I selected a film. They “this is never gonna work”. I will tell you what has worked for me, I feel that you should never compromise with your dreams. Not matter which walk of life you are in, you should never compromise with your dreams. You many to compromise a little to achieve the dream, but never compromise a dream itself. And that’s how I have lived my life. Even my mother told me many times, “What are you doing Aamir? In two or three years you make a movie”. “There is time for every person and you should utilize it.” “Who would watch movies on cricket?” And all the people who know me have warned me at some points in my life but today I can look back and say they have worked, they might not have worked also but I have this satisfaction and joy of doing what I believed in. The journey is as important as the end-product. So it not the success or the failure but journey that you lived through your life that I think is very important.

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Chitra Tripathi, Associate Editor, India News: When you made the film Peepli Live, on what which real-life character you based the lead journalist in that movie. Because, I feel that you have exaggerated that journalist a lot.

Aamir: Chuckles. Okay, let me confess. I neither did script the movie nor worked in that movie. Though I was a producer, Anusha Rizvi wrote the script, conceptualized it, wrote the screenplay, wrote the characters and she directed the movie too. So, you ask her this question.
Rajiv: Aamir you have put it very well that don’t compromise with your dream and always do the right thing you believe in. How do you figure out what is right and what you believe in is right or wrong?

Aamir: You have to go with your own judgement and that is the best any of us can do really. You have to go with what your beliefs are, what your conscious allows you. At the end of the day, our conscience is our gatekeeper for everyone of us.

Rajiv: And if you believe in something and you find out that it is not right. What will you do?

Aamir: Now this is complicated. If this happens then you have to seek forgiveness. You have to try and redeem what you have done, first of all accept what you have done and try to mend it.

Rajiv: Have you ever done that?

Aamir: Well, yes. I have on a number of occasions. I have done something I strongly believed in and later I regretted. I have faced that.

Irfaan from Economic Times: I remember an anecdote that happened with me. I briefly worked with TV and when I was on air, I was relaying a Supreme Court news to the anchor form the ground. And suddenly the anchor says, “Play stay with us, there is reportedly, a leopard broke into a house…” and the TV stared telecasting what was happening there. Of course, it got TRP more than what I saying. Sir how do you face these kind of situations when you have to decide between TRP and seriousness and how often does it happen these days?

Aamir: I don’t know about the media world, so it is difficult for me to comment but I can tell you about my own world. We often have to think if people will like it or not. So like when i made Tare Zameen Par, I had to think if people will like it or not if it is main stream cinema or not. On the face of it, it is certainly not a mainstream cinema. It is story about a child who got dyslexia. The only popular person i.e me i come mid way. For various reasons it is not a mainstream cinema. But I still want to make it because I loved the story and wanted to make it. So for me, I do things which I feel are good and never think about the box office. Number of my films have been off-beat cinema but I wanted to be the part of it. They have never been easy decisions. Whether it was Lagaan, Rang De Basanti or Tare Zameen Par.

All these time you are constantly driven by self-doubt. Satyameva Jayate, we had no idea whether people were interested in it. So do we go through doubts? Yes. But the doubt is not strong enough to derail us and I think that is very important. Doubts are very important, they keep you on your feet you should not be derailed in what you believe in is what I feel. I have been fortunate so far, I guess somebody up there is looking after me.

Anant: Can we get a question from Tavleen Singh? She gave me so many questions to ask, and I have not had the opportunity, so…

Tavleen: I asked him to ask you a question which is politically incorrect and in such a happy atmosphere I feel guilty asking it. But you know there is no point in pretending that what happened in Paris has nothing to do with Islam, it does. The people who did the killing had Qurans in their hands, they have done it in the name of Allah. You know we live in a country with the second largest Muslim population on the planet. We have our own kind of Islam that has produced Galib and Mir and you.. you know you would be shot dead if you were living in the Islamic State. So I was curious to know if you think about these things. You were eloquent about have intolerances have grown in India to which I don’t agree. I think we are as tolerant as we ever was. Do you think about what we might face if Wahabi Islam obliterates poets, where would Galib say ‘Khuda ke waaste parda naqab isse hata‘? So do you think about these things?

Aamir: Yes, I do. First of all I would like to disagree with you. They were not Islamic acts. A person who is holding a Quran and killing people, he may feel is doing an Islamic act, but as a Muslim I don’t feel he is doing an Islamic act. So I want to disagree with you on that. I am very clear that a person who is killing innocents is not a Muslim. He may claim to be a Muslim, but we should not recognise him as that. He is a terrorist and we should recognise him as a terrorist. My problem is not just with the ISIS, but it is with that kind of thinking. So my fear ….is there with that kind of thinking. Today it is ISIS, tomorrow it can be some other organisation. This extreme thinking is what I worry about. Because I feel that this extreme thinking no matter where it comes from is very very destructive and very very negative. I have a problem with that kind of thinking, so certainly yes I have a problem with the ISIS. I am saying this extreme kind of thinking which might belong to any section of any religion. I have a problem with that.

  • See more at: http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/aamir-khan-at-rng-awards-here-is-the-complete-conversation/#sthash.ZPjES9Rc.dpuf

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Comment (1)

  1. Aamir,whether expressed or not ,it is a fact that India there is a planned action from the Government,even when Congress Government was there to defame and attack if the person who are in the forefront belong to Muslim Community to achieve someone’s vested interests .A person borne in the Planet has a right to think,express,do and live without harming others interests but in our country the human life is got vitiated by imposition of some one’s understanding or some scriptures drafted by some eloquent writer and followed by some rulers who linked it with the invisible God.Making a living or good earning this God phenomenon is used as a tool and it became professions of many and they have reached the Government and government systems and these people from time immemorial are creating psychological and physical oppression of majority of people and in today’s India too one of the developed system of “manuvathi”,many want to practice to make remote monitoring and controlling of people.
    in a Political India,a Citizen if follow some system,whether it is Islam or Christian,or Sikh or Marxism,or Confucianism,it is their choice.If anybody talks and make bad comment,is it not an attack on human rights and violation of the so called Constitution of India.A Citizens has got basic Citizen rights and why anybody meddle with a persons personal rights and question their patriotism,loyalty based on the religion.Indians irrespective of their religion are Citizens of India and certain element in the last few months created a Big psychological Crisis and India was made as “A hatred breeding country”adding fuel for the terrorism now affected the whole world.When lakhs of people in India feel unhappy,threatened ,oppressed and discriminated by the Modi Government machinery and his ministers in open (while the Congress was doing it in concealed tactics) and expressing their pains everywhere,Aamir Khan being a celebrity was made an issue.Aamir must stand by his words and long fight must be required to make the Anti Nationals who talk against the citizens of India,asking them to go to Pakistan and facilitating many other undignified acts.Let things come out and let it be debated ,then only awareness of Indian citizens rights will be come out and we can Protect democracy . Awards return (wapasi) by Writers,Scientists and eminent persons are in the right direction and International Human Right Groups must awake and expose those people trying to oppress Indians since thousands of years.Real issue is not Hindu or Muslim but the Manuvathi mindset and practices of oppression now secretly practiced due to vote bank politics.Attacking Islam or some other religion is to intimidate and side track the freedom and liberation of Daliths,Tribals and other oppressed sessions.These anti nationals have an ulterior motive to exploit 70%percent of Indian citizens who are covered with broad brand Hinduism using religion and God and that is the reason they attack Islam ,Christianity etc,otherwise what is the need to create problems for the choice of eating,dressing and other practices of citizens.Let all VIPs speak out and create forums of discussion to bring India’s ancient theories and methods of oppression,discrimination and human right violations and that can only help to make India a dynamic democracy.

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