Planet Bollywood
The curious case of Aamir Khan's directors
- Planet Bollywood Special Correspondent           Let us know what you think about this feature article

Mr. Perfectionist is a title that is associated with Hindi film superstar Aamir Khan. Today, he is regarded as the most bankable star in the industry, somebody who can do no wrong. The actor is known to experiment with his choice of films and roles every time, he comes up with something that makes the audience happy and makes them regale with happiness. His films, apart from doing mammoth business at the box-office, stand out because of their powerful content and carve them names on the echelons of the Hindi film industry for posterity. Even the films which do not feature him in a lead role and are just produced by him ('Peepli Live', 'Delhi Belly', 'Secret Superstar') strike a chord with the audience. In the last fifteen years, a few of the films he was associated with ('Mangal Pandey - The Rising', 'Talaash', 'Dhobi Ghat') did underperform but mostly, he has gone right with his choices.

Aamir's last 'official flop' was 'Mela' which released in the year 2000. The film, which starred Aamir alongside his brother Faisal and Twinkle Khanna, failed to recreate the magic of 'Raja Hindustani', which is the first film Aamir had teamed up with Dharmesh Darshan for. While Aamir had made his debut as a leading man with a very successful film like 'Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak', he made several bad decisions when it came to choosing the right film. A successful debut and a critically acclaimed film ('Raakh') were followed by duds like 'Love Love Love', 'Awwal Number' and 'Tum Mere Ho'. Director Indra Kumar's 'Dil' gave a much needed lease to his career. After that, three more flops ('Deewana Mujhsa Nahin', 'Jawani Zindabad' and 'Afsana Pyar Ka') followed. Throughout the 90s, he had a chequered career with a couple of successful films and a few flops. There is one interesting fact one stumbles upon when one goes through his 90s filmography carefully.

Aditya Bhattacharya, Tahir Hussain, Y. Nageswara Rao, Arun Bhatt, M.R Shahjahan, Dilip Shankar, S.A Kader - apart from the fact that all these directors have collaborated with Aamir Khan on a film, the one thing common among these gentlemen is that they have directed just one notable Hindi film (the one starring Aamir) in their entire career. The late Tahir Hussain, who also happened to be Aamir's father, has nine films to his credit as a producer but directed just one film ('Tum Mere Ho'). After 'Raakh', Aditya Bhattacharya went on to make a couple of foreign-language films and music videos but did not wield the megaphone for a Hindi film. Arun Bhatt and Y. Nageshwar Rao have made films in regional languages but their association with Hindi films started and ended with the one film they made with Khan. Yes, a Dilip Shankar made forgettable films like 'Nigehbaan - The Third Eye', 'Married 2 America' and 'Kaal Chakra' but his name pops up only when somebody mentions 'Daulat Ki Jung', an otherwise forgettable film remembered for two things, one - the only film to feature Aamir Khan and Rajinikanth together and two - for being the unofficial remake of the Hollywood classic 'Godfather'.

In the late 90s, Aamir had shown faith in a rank newcomer called John Matthew Matthan and agreed to be a part of 'Sarfarosh', Matthan's first film as a director. His faith in the director paid off as the film turned out to be successful. Unfortunately, the director could never repeat the success of his first film. His second film was the star-studded 'Shikhar' which sank without a trace. He later directed 'A New Love Ishhtory' with Himesh Reshammiya which never realised in theatres. Aamir had also worked on the second films of filmmakers who could not prove themselves with their first film. Case in point being Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and Vijay Krishna Acharya. Even Nitesh Tiwari did not have a big hit behind him when he directed 'Dangal'. However, what sets his 90s directors apart is that they disappeared from the Hindi film scene after the one film they directed with Khan.


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