Press Release

My responses are unchecked, unrehearsed: Aamir Khan

12 June 2012

Exactly a month ago, active filmmaker and now a controversial anchor Aamir Khan said that he would be back to talk about his TV debut, to react to all the reactions that were bound to come in.

For a heart to heart Aamir Khan returns to Beautiful People to talk to Anuradha SenGupta about Satyameva Jayate.

The biggest criticism of the show is that Aamir Khan may be overdoing his expressions and reactions. However, he tells CNBC-TV18 that his reactions are unrehearsed. “When I am sitting close to someone who is telling me their story, it is bound to move me,” he said.

He further adds that there were certain instances where he was shaken up that he needed time to collect himself. “On a number of occasions, I have broken down to an extent where we had to stop shooting. It took me like 10-15 minutes to collect myself, I would go up to my make-up room, wash my face and come back and then continue the conversation where we had stopped,” he said.

As far as experts are concerned, he says they sometimes say things which are not in their testimonies, which shocks him. He also explains that even though the research is with him beforehand, he interacts with the guests for the first time on the show.

Below is an edited transcript of the interview. Also watch the accompanying videos.

Q: There are a lot of reactions that have come in to your reactions. You tear up, you have these very startled and shocked expressions, and the reactions have bought the question why is he overplaying it, is he acting? It is not a live show, he knows about this, his research team has given him this material. What do you have to say to it?
Khan: You see the thing is that this is my natural reaction, I am not acting. The fact of the matter is that when I go through documentation, you have to understand that this documentation has been done two years ago. This research, which has been happening for the last two years, the bulk of it was finished research one year back. So I have seen testimonies and interviews of people for 13 episodes, and for each episode I must have seen interviews of 40-50 people.
Now when I am speaking to a guest who is with me on the show, that is the first time I am speaking to that person about that topic. I meet that person one day in advance just to introduce myself, but we don’t speak about what we are going to talk about. So on the day of the show is when I have the conversation.
Now if you look at survivors, people who have been through difficult times Rizwan’s mother can tell me his story 10 times and each time I will cry because it’s an extremely moving story.
Q: Told with such stoic dignity, isn’t it?
Khan:She is such an amazing woman, she has got so much dignity and poise about her and is so gentle that she amazes me.
Even Harish’s story, who was a survivor of child sexual abuse. Do I know his story? Yes, I do, but I am hearing it from him for the first time. When I am sitting this close to him and he is telling me his story, it is bound to move me. I don’t know who it would not move. When a person is telling me his or her own experience first hand, it affects me, that is the kind of person I am. I am not acting, this is how I am.
In fact, on a number of occasions, I have broken down to an extent where we had to stop shooting. I took time to collect myself and then I would continue the conversation where we had stopped. That of course is edited out because we cannot have me crying on camera for 15 minutes saying nothing. So we have reduced it to the best of our abilities.
As far as the experts are concerned, often they have said things which have surprised me because they have said some amount of things which I have been through testimony of, but when they speak in front of me, they often come up with sentences that they have not said earlier which shocks me. So my responses are absolutely unchecked, unrehearsed and that is about my reactions.
Q: I have a theory here. You are an actor who is used to the big screen, but now your show Satyamev Jayate is on the small screen which catches everything. Do you think that this transition from the big to the small screen requires you to understand your relationship with the camera differently?
Khan:No, I don’t think so. In a show like this, I have to be myself. I cannot plan to be any other way, I cannot train myself to be any other way and I don’t want to. This is how I am.
I don’t know if everyone feels that way, I hope not. If a few people feel that I am acting, then I am afraid that I am not what else can I say.

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