24 January, 2021

'Why Muslim, Even A Hindu Can Be Cliché'

The actor on the label 'neo-patriot', on nationalistic cinema, fundamentalism, divisive politics, identity issues and much else besides.

Atul Loke
'Why Muslim, Even A Hindu Can Be Cliché'

In the hush of Aamir Khan's study-cum-lounge, the well-thumbed, eclectic collection of books tells its own story--P.G. Wodehouse alongside Gore Vidal, Mushirul Hasan's volume on the Partition and Vijay Nambisan's take on Bihar. There's Salman Rushdie's The Ground Beneath Her Feet, Pico Iyer's Falling Off The Map and a collection of the masterpieces of patriotic Urdu poetry stacked next to the star's abiding passion--the chessboard. There seems more to the romantic hero of the '90s than blinding glamour. Aamir's turn-of-the-century movies--1947: Earth, Sarfarosh, Lagaan, Mangal Pandey, Rang De Basanti and Fanaa--show a crusading zeal, conscious or otherwise. The label, neo-patriot, has begun to sit rather nicely on him after his involvement, however short-lived, with the Narmada oustees and his confrontation with Gujarat CM Narendra Modi. He has been speaking on contentious issues like fundamentalism and divisive politics and has even taken on the media for dumbing down. Yet Aamir doesn't want to be perceived as a political creature. His political sense...



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