The performances that Aamir Khan likes are not the ones that are his best.In fact the performances which reveal him to be an actor of substance are not always noticed. Here is my pick.
1. Raakh(1989): Just before Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak and its silly boy-next-door promotional campaign, Aamir Khan proved himself an actor of volcanic intensity in Raakh, a vigilante film about an angry frustrated young man named, ahem, Aamir whose girlfriend (Supriya Pathak) is gangraped on the street as he watches helplessly. The film deconstructs Aamir’s rage and constructs the character’s revenge in scenes that play themselves out like chronicles of a police confession: broken, disjointed, seething in injustice. I’ve never seen Aamir scale these heights of implosive indignation ever again. Basu Bhattacharya’s son Aditya who directed Raakh told me Aamir was his first and only choice even though Aditya had not seen much of Aamir’s work. Gut feeling for a character who is gutted from inside.
2. 1947: Earth(1998): Aamir argued and battled with director Deepa Mehta all through the making of this film. He hated the way his character shaped up. He hated everything to do with the film. But as Dil Nawaz the icecream seller during those troubled months of Partition, who has the hots for the ayah Nandita Das, Aamir gave the most controlled performance of his career, bringing out the communalization of a perfectly sane amd reasonable man during the unreasonable insanity of communal riots. More than the spoken words we saw the change from gentle soul to hardliner in Aamir’s body language and his incandescent eyes.What a performance! Deepa Mehta still thinks this is Aamir’s best performance to date.
3. Rangeela(1995): Munna(Aamir Khan) the tapori in yellow pants, knitted vests, stubborn stubble and cocky caps. It would be seriously wrong to call Munna a goonda. He is more the neighbourhood rowdy Rathore in anything but khaki. Arguably the finest performance of Aamir’s career Munna gave Aamir a chance to let go, to simply have fun with a part without bothering with the earlier and future history of the character. The scenes were he coaches Urmila to memorize her dialogues for her shooting the next day, show the actor’s gaze melting in unrequited love as he gets ‘in character’.Aamir actually played the all-giving Chandramukhi from Saratchandra Chatterjee’s Devdas with a sex change. He didn’t have to perform a Mujra to entertain love. The lovelorn looks when Mili isn’t looking(she has her eyes trained to a distant dream) kept Munna’s character on the level of a street-smart lover-boy without reducing him to a caricature. Munna’s hurt when Mili excitedly walks off in the middle of a lunch date to be with the superstar, was so palpable, we were inclined to shake Mili by her shoulders and point her to the obvious love that flowed out of Munna. Says director Ram Gopal Varma, “Aamir’s character was based on a street goonda I knew in Hyderabad. When I narrated Rangeela to Aamir he immediately agreed. He is an incredibly passionate performer.”
Image source: Imbd
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