It’s Aamir Khan‘s birthday tomorrow and we cannot say it enough as to how important the actor is for Bollywood. His sheer approach towards films deserves a chapter in all film school textbooks. He takes the adage ‘getting into the skin of the character’ so seriously that he starts living the character he plays. He never ignores his job as an actor and that’s why, over the years, he has managed to cultivate a fan following which is loyal. Often, you will hear them saying, “Aamir ki picture hai…kuch toh alag hoga.” That’s the trust people have in him. And why not! This man has single-handedly set so many benchmarks that generations of artistes will have to strive to match up to it. Let us tell you some of the firsts that this man started…
The crore clubs
Who knew Bollywood films could earn Rs 100 crore in the domestic market? Till 2008, nobody was aware if it was possible what with such less number of theatres here. But Aamir Khan released Ghajini and started the Rs 100 crore club. Later, 3 Idiots managed to form the Rs 200 crore club followed by the Rs 300 crore club created with PK. He is the one who made producers believe that if you know what to serve to the audience, they will flock to the theatres. (Also read: Aamir Khan was scared Sridevi would figure out what he was thinking...)
Widest Bollywood release in China
Dangal released in 7000 screens in China – a country which was not too open to Indian films. 3 Idiots reached there in the form of a pirated film, and that prompted them to check out PK and then Dangal happened. It not only got the biggest Indian release there, it also became the highest grossing Indian film in China. Aamir is now the most popular Indian face in China. Even Secret Superstar, which featured him in a cameo, raked in big numbers there. But Aamir obviously credits this success to the films’ content and the sheer number of theatres that China has. If you do the math, you can’t help but agree with him. China has 45000 screens and India has just 5000… yes, that’s a fact!
It will be wrong to say that Aamir decided to go crazy with marketing gigs recently. When Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak was about to release, Aamir personally went and pasted posters 0f the film on the autos. That streak in him found extreme prominence during Ghajini. At a theatre playing Shah Rukh Khan’s Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, that had released a week before Ghajini, Aamir made the ushers sport the haircut he is seen flaunting in the movie. Now that’s a killer marketing strategy. It’s obvious that SRK films see maximum footfalls, so what better way than to promote his movie at SRK’s expense. For 3 Idiots, he went on a nation-wide trip in disguise. The first clue to find him was read out by Sachin Tendulkar himself. He went to seven different cities in different garbs so that people won’t recognise him and he was successful. For PK, he went full monty on the first poster of the film… the rest was taken care of. For Talaash, he promoted it with seven crime reporters from seven different cities in the world.
Secret superstar – first revenue model Indian film release in China
All this while, filmmakers were supposed to sell off a film’s international territory to a distribution agent in the said country. While Hollywood gets 50 per cent of the revenue in China, other foreign language films have to make peace with just 25 per cent. After witnessing what Dangal did in China, Aamir Khan got into a revenue model deal with China for Secret Superstar. Imagine… Aamir can manage to be bullish in China as well!
TV show yes, game show no!
Like every other superstar, Aamir Khan was interested in TV too but he had least interest in hosting a game show, as was the norm. He took a risk again! He decided to start a show with human interest stories at the core of it. Till today, no superstar has been able to replicate that. That’s not all. He made sure that despite being aired on a private channel, Satyamev Jayate was simulcast on Doordarshan as well. Simulcast was not really a big idea back then. He wanted it to reach every home and managed to get it done. There’s so much to learn from him! (Also read: Why is Aamir Khan calling his huge popularity in China an ‘accident’? Find out here)
Not 6… it’s 8 packs
Shah Rukh Khan created a storm by flaunting six pack abs in his ’40s in Om Shanti Om. Come Ghajini and people were talking only about 8-pack abs. Need we say more? Every actor in the industry works hard to get that now!
Less is more…
We know we should have included it in the marketing point but it deserves to be listed separately. These days, promotions of a movie have become a painful exercise. The actors are seen everywhere. From reality shows, they even moved to fiction shows. But Aamir didn’t care about it. For Dhoom 3, he didn’t even release the full songs, maintaining that people should come to theatres to watch the whole video. He was confident Dhoom doesn’t need extensive promotions because the name is enough. It one of the most successful franchises of Bollywood. And he made Salman Khan promote it on Bigg Boss!
Can this man be any more perfect? Happy Birthday, Mr. Genius!