December 19 2014
It’s one of the most widely anticipated movies of the year and not just because it features possibly India’s most enigmatic and original star – and he bamboozled British journalists…
By Suman Bhuchar
THERE is a lot of curiosity about the film, “PK“, directed by Raj Kumar Hirani and produced by, Hirani, Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Siddharth Roy Kapur.
Speculation had reached fever pitch today especially on social media as to the role Bollywood maverick and superstar, Aamir Khan plays in the film.
He is the ‘PK’ of the title. Indian movie critics have given the film a mixed response in early viewings, but Khan has come out trumps and it is not difficult to see how and why.
The producers, UTV Motion Pictures arranged for the actor to be quizzed by UK journalists and bloggers via a video link-up to talk about this eagerly anticipated pre-Christmas release and though the actor was polite and responsive, he didn’t give much away. So, for the attending journos trying to figure out who or what is ‘PK’ was like attempting to complete a jigsaw puzzle without all the pieces.
www.asianculturevutlure.com asked if his role was in the mould of an autistic Dustin Hoffman type character in “Rain Man”.
No, was the swift response.
“The character was definitely not autistic but he has got a very simple view of life. There’s very little I can tell you about a character without making a spoiler for you but he’s not autistic for sure.”
He did go on to reveal that it was one of the “toughest roles of his career”.
Another colleague enquired about the challenges faced in performing the role and was told that his character, “doesn’t move his hands, when he’s running, doesn’t blink so I had to do all my scenes without blinking so that was a new challenge especially since I was wearing lenses”.
It is pretty obvious in the trailers for the film, that Khan has light eyes and big ears – something he himself made fun of in the publicity.
“I have green eyes, I wore lenses, my character doesn’t blink that’s one of his physical characteristics – my ears stick out in the film and they stick out in real life also, in the film we kind of used that.”
So perhaps, he was playing an Indian version on “ET”?
Wrong again, because ‘PK’ is just the initials of his character. We never really know the full given name – but the actor revealed that the look for ‘PK’ took six months to get right and ‘PK’ speaks Bhojpuri – a north Indian language spoken in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Nepal.
“My character is a Bhojpuri-speaking so I had to train and get the phonetics right. I had to have an expert in Bhojpuri sit with me read out each line and I would right it phonetically, so I memorised all the lines phonetically first to make those lines my own and to own them.” (Rumour has it Khan has been learning the language for two years).
In his desire to achieve a meticulous look of the ‘PK’ figure, all his clothes were ‘acquired’ by the costume department and not created bespoke for the actor.
“None of the clothes were made for me, they were all costumes that were taken off people in the street, so if they liked something, they requested a person to give them the shirt or pant or T shirt or whatever it may be and shoes and chappals, so all the clothes and stuff have been picked off the street from people who’ve been wearing this.”
Notwithstanding the final wardrobe of the actor, one of the elements which caused some controversy earlier this year was a pre-publicity poster of Aamir Khan standing on a rail track in the altogether using just a transistor radio to cover his modesty.
The actor revealed that the stills for the poster promotions are all ‘important moments from the film,” and that particular scene was in the movie. In India, the film, has acquired a U/A certification and in the UK it has received a 12A.
Still maintaining his composure and not giving anything away, the actor said it was one of the toughest roles in his career (since he began as a child artist in the film, “Yaadon Ki Baraat” (1973) and has made around 45 films since) citing that “the main challenge was getting into the head of the guy”.
Written by Hirani and Abhijat Joshi (who also co-wrote “Lage Raho Munnabhai” (2006) and “3 Idiots” (2009), the duo have an alchemy to produce hits (along with the producer, Chopra).
In the UK, although sources are unconfirmed, it is expected that at the film is expected to release in 125 cinemas, making it as huge an opening as UTV gave for the earlier Salman Khan action film, “Kick”, released in July.
As the press pack struggled in vain and continued speculating as to whether ‘PK’ is an astronaut or “The Man Who Fell to Earth” (1976, starring pop icon David Bowie) type of character, or even Antoine De Saint-Exupḗry’s, “Le Petit Prince” (a novella published in 1943), the last word went to the actor.
“I think the story touched me, it moved me, it made me cry enough, it made me ask questions to myself and it’s a really emotional experience actually and I hope all that has come into the film.
“This particular film while we’re keen to talk about it – we don’t want to spoil it.
“I mean I would like the experience that you have of the film to be similar to mine when I read the script for the first time or when Raju (Hirani) narrated it and the experience of that journey is quite beautiful, so I don’t want to spoil that by telling you what it’s about!”
Main picture: PK (Aamir Khan) and Jagat Janani/Jaggu (Anushka Sharma) in ‘PK’
‘PK’ is out on general release in cinemas from Friday, December 19.
Official ‘PK‘ trailer