Wednesday, September 15

An Audience With Aamir Khan

True to my secret desire to be a girlie Bollywood groupie, I spent a couple of hours around noon in the audience of a live recording of Aamir Khan being interviewed by the Asian Network's Raj and Pablo. I almost didn't make it - between it being during work hours and friends and family not actually caring I was struggling to find someone to go with me, even resorting to asking random people I had just met at work (they were busy). But I didn't have to go alone after all and I finally managed to find someone sad enough (that is, as sad as me) to tag along.

Even though we arrived there early we were still pushed to the balcony; not a bad thing seeing as we has a clear and fine view of the intimate setting from which Aamir and the boys would do their thing. After the standard BBC boilerplate Rablo came out to waste more of our time before - finally - Aamir came out.

I'll say it straight up: I was impressed. He was grounded, well spoken and entertaining. Even when he was singing his own praises it was, paradoxically, with humility. He was always consistent, but funny, animated and serious when he had to be. To be honest he made his counterparts in Rablo look like total amateurs.

Ah, Raj and Pablo. Even though I do like these guys (I've been on their show a couple of times), I don't think they quite have what it takes to maximise an opportunity like the one they had today. If you contrast it with, I dunno, Sonia Deol's recent interview with Dev Anand, it becomes quite clear how lacking the AN is in raw radio interviewing talent. There was minimal chemistry and rapport built with Aamir, but luckily he was able to manage the flow of conversation better than his hosts were.

The audience itself wasn't as bad as it could have been. Yes, there were the swooning sycophants all declaring how honoured they were to be in the presence of someone they clearly thought came from heaven, followed by inane questions asking how he handled being so utterly awesome. And these were just the guys talking. Oh and although I knew I shouldn't have been, I was a little amused by the two pairs of topi'd and bearded guys with their hijabi wives. So cute. Everyone else was more or less split into girls-in-black, girls-in-shalwar-kameez and typical-Asian-bloke. As usual, there were no prizes for originality at an Asian event such as this one.

Still, there were a few good questions; the one I liked the most was from a girl asking who Aamir's favourite acting Khan was. After some to and fro-ing he eventually answered "Yusuf Khan" (aka Dilip Kumar). Very cool. Unfortunately all these questions were pre-fielded, which I always thought was a sucky way of holding a live interview; I wanted to ask him how his Eid was.

Overall it was good enough interview to have been in the audience of, and as I mentioned before I did come away impressed with Aamir, someone who potentially could have been a great fat let down in person. And in classic Shak style I expressed this sentiment by shouting "Aamir I love you!" toward the silent end of the interview.

Girlie Bollywood groupie I am then.