Watching Taare Zameen Par was an experience par excellence. What was the movie about? A little child’s struggle to grapple with dyslexia and as a consequence, with his problems at home and school. The child’s in deep trouble when his new art teacher comes in and helps him achieve the unthinkable; of course, by making him explore his unusual abilities in a suitable manner.
That’s been Aamir Khan’s success mantra through out his career. There have been diversions every now and then, but more or less he has achieved success with one formula – depict achievement of victory in adverse circumstances. Adverse circumstances often in a very specific context, often unforeseen, often compelling enough for a drastic and definitive measure.
Let’s go back to some of his earlier successful movies:
Deewana Mujh Sa Nahin – fighting all resistance to win the love of a woman who’s a big star
Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar – victory in a cycle race for which he prepares and participates in a very short time in lieu of his injured brother
Dil – fighting against parents to win his lady-love. QSQT was on similar lines, in which he wins but ends his life when he knows that his beloved was killed
Hum Hain Raahi Pyar Ke – overcoming a crisis in business for which he incidentally assumes responsibility after the death of his sister and brother-in-law
Rangeela – winning his lady love even when pitched against a superstar
Ishq – fighting all the status and wealth barriers to win his lady love
Ghulam – struggling as an aspiring boxer but wins a fight against an infamous but stronger boxer who also happens to be a goon and killer of his brother
Sarfarosh – solving an intricate problem of terrorism and the people who abet terrorism
Dil Chahta Hai – struggling to understand ‘love’ and his friend’s feelings but eventually fighting to save his love just before she’s about to get married and also winning back his friend
Lagaan – fighting to win an important cricket challenge thrown by the British rulers of the region and in turn saving a village from back-breaking taxes
Rang De Basanti – purposeless all life but determined and therefore, succeeds in avenging the death of a dear friend, an Air-force pilot, who dies in a dubious situation which arises out of the corrupt dealings of country’s top politicians
Aamir’s made some rather forgettable movies too. He’s made some pure comedy movies, some off-beat movies et al. But he is one of the very few actors in Indian cinema who’ve recognized and exploited (in a very positive and constructive way) a particular theme or pattern in movies and delivered smashing performances.
That’s the power of focus. Of course, if you’ve watched these movies, you know what I’m talking about. Aamir Khan can be viewed as a brand. He’s a perfectionist (in other words, specialist) and he uses it in a particular way – reflected through his choice of movies (victory in unforeseen, compelling and adverse circumstances) and his role (that of a hard-working, determined victor) in those movies. And that brings him success. Perhaps, he knows it!