Listomania: Top Five Aamir Khan Films

The irrepressible need to list things strikes again. This time the theme is Bollywood.

Although Aamir Khan has not been the favorite actor for a very long time now but over the years, he has definitely been one actor that I have enjoyed watching on the screen time and again. People now have extreme views about him – love him or hate him. I guess that happens with most people or issues that become popular. You have to have an opinion about Aamir Khan. Hence, he is the choice for this first list.

heartthrobs of the nation

heartthrobs of the nation

1. Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (QSQT): First thing first, we must thank the makers of this film; not because they gave us Aamir Khan, Juhi Chawla, and Udit Narayan, but because they helped in ending a terrible era in the film industry. The ‘80s did very little good to anyone. The movies that dominated the decade were full of chaos. They were either crudely violent or pushing the agenda of regressive family values. QSQT was not a perfect film but it brought back the breeziness into the films. The melody, which is supposed to be an intrinsic part of Hindi cinema, returned as well. The story was simple and old – boy meets girl, they fall in love only to discover that their family has a history of animosity, they elope, and finally they die. Yes yes, I could have simply called it a modern Romeo-Juliet, I know. However, the film was refreshing to the chore, which made it automatically different from the other films of that time. Starting from the interestingly different dresses to the atypical dialogues, not to forget the new faces, the movie took the nation in its grip overnight. Suddenly all boys folded a quarter of their sleeves, chicks turned up in cotton lehngas to college, some even started using the pronoun “hum” to talk about themselves. Coming to Aarmir Khan in specific, he could not have wished for a better start. In fact, contrary to the popular belief this was not his or Juhi Chawla’s first film, but it can definitely be considered their launch pad. His chocolaty looks worked like magic, especially because the rest of the actors were trying for the macho image. For what if counts, he acted well too. I do not remember any flimsy moment in the film, and he seemed convincing even in the most melodramatic climax. Of course, I am talking mostly through the eyes of a nine-year-old, but I did see the film many more times later.

timeless comedy

timeless comedy

2. Andaz Apna Apna: There were many good films in between, Jo Jeeta Wahi Sikandar and Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke deserve special mention, although (much to my embarrassment now) I had enjoyed Dil and Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahi too. However, in the hindsight, I see how ordinary they were. Andaz Apna Apna is cult material though. Interestingly, this film had shoddy production. It released in mid-90s when slickness had already found its way in Hindi cinema. People were making grand films, with everything magnificent in it. Amidst those, came a film which initially only boasted of two popular Khans, and hence did not draw much crowd at the box office. However, the word spread, slowly. I am sure more people have watched this film on DVDs and VCDs than in the cinema. The movie had two awesome things: awesome music and awesome timing. Aamir Khan is arguably a good actor, but all Salman Khan has is charm (which he tries very hard to spoil by getting into messy situations, but that is a different point.) However, even Salman Khan was brilliant in this film. Aarmir Khan had already made his place as an actor of mettle until now but one had never seen him in such a comical role before. I can compare the cult-value of this film to that of Jane Bhi Do Yaron, without any qualms. It was a story of two wannabes from Bhopal, who want to marry a rich man’s daughter. Only the daughter has switched identities with her maid, and her rich father also has a thug of a twin brother, with two buffoons for cronies. Hilarity ensues. The one liners, the tone of dialogues, and the timing of delivering them was beyond brilliant. My husband and I use the dialogues of this film in our daily squabbles (although we have never seen the film together) and I can bet, it is not a conscious action.

angry young man

angry young man

3. Sarfarosh: The chocolaty hero turned into an angry (not so young) man. He had already done a couple of action movies by now: Baazi, which a few fans liked, and Atank Hi Atank, which nobody watched. However, it was with Sarfarosh that people sat up and took notice. Although Aamir Khan had had hits like Rangeela and Raja Hindustani (the unsolved mysteries of the world!) in the recent past, Sarfarosh is what got him critical acclaim. The movie had none of the usual attractions to pull the crowds with mediocre music and a sexy but not popular with the masses actor, Sonali Bendre. However, it was a huge commercial success as well. It dealt with cross-border terrorism (not a novel subject) in a more practical seeming manner than that of Sunny Deol. Personally, I liked the film for its super solid plot and tight editing. Interestingly, Aamir Khan ended with Sarfarosh what he had started with QSQT. The era of Rajs and Rahuls came to an end around this time. People wanted to see Ajay Singh Rathore making his destiny with his own tough hands. The film also touched a very sensitive but vital point: why do we engage in cultural exchange with a country that is very clearly at war with us? Maybe my strong feelings towards this biased me into like the movie more than most, but I think that even stripped of this point, the film was beautifully crafted. Not to forget that this was the film that gave the big break to Mukesh Rishi, who is clearly a good actor. The film hovered on the borderline of serious cinema but it definitely satiated the appetite of commercial fans too.

stylishly refreshing

stylishly refreshing

4. Dil Chahta Hai (DCH): I had a tough time deciding on this spot, the competition being from Rang De Basanti. A fellow movie buff gave me many arguments on how DCH was regressive, and it managed to fool the nation with the funky hairstyles. After much consideration, I decided to keep it on number four. This one was another trendsetter, for one. Although none of the three actors were “young” in real life, the movie stood for everything that the youth wants to stand for. The movie had a refreshing storytelling style, mind-blowing music, was funny and dramatic in parts, and super-duper stylish over all. We like style. We also like well-etched characters. The aforementioned friend’s point was that the film portrayed Priety Zinta as a weak girl, who could not make up her own mind. Agreed. He also said that Dimple Kapadia’s life was very clichéd, agreed again. However, from my point of view, Priety’s character was created weak. She was a girl who was modern and opinionated on one hand and emotionally dependent on the other. I know such people. Damnit, I am such people. (Although, I can offer no excuse for the wedding scene where Aamir Khan fights for Priety Zinta. It stood out like a sore thumb in the film.) However, I found all characters in the movie well-done. One guy loved himself, other loved the idea of being in love, the third thought he was the God of love, and then another one was insecure in love, and the fifth (my favorite) was maintaining a diary on love. Dimple’s character maybe conventional but it seemed pretty real. If one has to find faults, the only fault I can find with the characters is that all women were portrayed weak. A 50-50 balance would have been better. Aamir Khan was brilliant in the movie because he effortlessly pulled of the role of a much younger guy. And honestly, I have never seen his face more mobile with different expressions.

brave venture

brave venture

5. Taare Zameen Per (TZP): I like to call this the coming-of-age film of Aamir Khan. Of course, he matured as an actor way back in the late ‘90s, but he floored me with this film just the way he had done it way back in 1988. All over again. Over the years, my respect had dwindled mostly due to films like Isi Ka Naam Zindagi, Mann, and Mela but it does not matter anymore. We are human beings, we all make mistakes. :p However, this guy has serious talent. Anyone who can direct a little boy the way Aamir Khan did, has to have truckloads of aptitude. He handled a rare and unglamorous topic and turned it into a commercial hit. This man knows his cinema, at least right now. Director’s clear vision reflected on the firm handling of the film. Most people I talked to did not realize that until the interval, the movie did not have a single frame with a known/popular actor in it. In times when filmmakers would do absolutely anything to pull the audience in, Aamir Khan made a film about dyslexia, a subject unknown to a huge percentage of the audience, and pulled it off successfully. Not only was the music was well-done but the placement and cinematography of the songs was also very thoughtful. The closing shot of the film is without doubt the most emotionally powerful scene I have seen in a very long time.

Now, which movie do you think is Aamir Khan’s worst?


19 Responses to “Listomania: Top Five Aamir Khan Films”

  1. 101dreams Says:

    Hi… I am working on a book on Aamir Khan… And part of the book is supposed to involve audience views. Just wanted to check if I could use some of the views expressed her in my book… Both you and your blog would be credited.

  2. hi…very detailed analysis of all the movies. u really listed out what made them so special to you. Though, I would still disagree on DCH & QSQT being hyped so much

    • sunshin3girl Says:

      What man? I expected you to comment about what you thought were the best films. I do not think QSQT is hyped, since people talked about it AFTER the film came, not before. It gave us a reason to talk, in my humble opinion. :p

      • my list of Aamir’s best films: Rang De Basanti; Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar; Lagaan; Sarfarosh; Taare Zameen Par

  3. Mann wasnt good at all. I like DCH and TZP the most.

  4. Oh I forgot to mention. Its a wonderful post, annie.

  5. Easy question. Fanaa.Blech.

    • sunshin3girl Says:

      I concur it was blech. But what about Raja Hindustani? I think that movie was baap of bad movies. The fact that it did really well baffles me to date. Ok, getting cramps thinking about it. Must stop.

      • Ghajini, lest we forget. Blech.
        And Mangal Pandey, that I got saved from watching. Ditto for Raja Hindustani.

      • Ghajini, lest we forget. Blech.
        Got saved from watching Mangal Pandey. Ditto for Raja Hindustani.

  6. Raja Hindustani wasn’t that bad at all, though I personally can’t stand it again, especially the second half.

    And speaking of Amir Khans best films, I would certainly put Lagaan in that list together with Sarfarosh.

    Anyway this is a good list provided by you, though I do not agree with you on your views on Rangeela.

    • sunshin3girl Says:

      Err…but I did not express my views about rangeela at all. I only said it was a hit, which it definitely was. 🙂

  7. Heh! Sonali was THE reason Sarfarosh became a hit! I still have the DVD, only to see her songs! 🙂

    Mann, was such a horrible movie; I can’t even give away the DVD for free!

    • sunshin3girl Says:

      I watched Mann in the theater and dragged my poor mom too. Maybe that is the reason she refuses to set a foot inside movie halls these days.

  8. aila… no mention of Bhuvan 😦

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