Today, Aamir’s life and his Carter road home does not lack in spice. He has Imli (meaning tamarind), a Yorkshire Terrier and Mirri (pepper), a cat. The man who has lakhs of admirers, fans and friends, believes that his dog Imli is the one who loves him the most, and believes that he is the Imli’s favourite in the family.
“Kiran gets very irritated because herself and Azad (his son) love Imli dearly. But Imli is always following me around and goes wherever I do,” he said gleefully at a function where Manjeet Hirani, director Raju Hirani’s wife wrote a book on her dog, called How to be Human; Life Lessons from Buddy. Dogs seem to have a perspective on humans should live their lives. And, like in most cases, Aamir is at the center of this revolution.
And why does Aamir Khan know it better than anyone? He played the role of a dog. Yes, you heard it right. Zoya Akhtar’s movie on a dysfunctional family is seen through the eyes of a clairvoyant dog, Pluto Mehra, a bullmastiff.
“Is duniya mein bahut se jaanwar hai, unme se sabse ajeeb hai insaan. (There are many kinds of animals in the world, and the weirdest of them are humans.),” Pluto, opens the movie, as he tries to understand humans though his family has four humans.
The four legged wise cracks are hilarious as he sees two-leggeds chase money, fame, love and marriage. “Agar inhone apne aap ko banaya hai to thoda behtar bana lene (If they made themselves, why couldn’t they have done a better job?,” he wonders. The method actor, who is known to test and try his emotions extensively before he plays a role. One of his most famous experiments is trying a drink before he played the role of an inebriated man in Raja Hindustani. So, what helped Aamir voice a dog’s emotions? His own love for dogs and animals. A pet lover since childhood, Aamir spent a lot of time at Naseer saab’s house which had Alsatians and a Golden Retriever, whom he was very fond of. His own plans to get a pet were railroaded by his mother, that did not get in his way.
The Dog Discipline
It is not only in movies that Aamir’s love for animals comes to the fore. This environment-lover, has also influenced his Manjeet Hirani. Manjeet believes that her dog Buddy, the protagonist of the book, is like Aamir. Buddy is extremely disciplined and eats only 60 gms of dog food everyday! Any extra food is rejected. That is a very famous Khan trait. Everyone remembers the diverse weight change in the same movie Dangal. The older version was at least 20 kilos heavier than the younger version he played. While most actors would choose to shoot the younger version story first, he chose to go reverse. He put on weight, played the older man’s role and later challenged himself to go through extreme weight loss to play the a fit, young boxer! That’s Khan for you.
The grit and the determination that Khan exhibits, makes him a cat person more than a dog person. This is in spite of owing three dogs, Chottu, Peanuts and Imli in his life.
Aamir, a true cat person
Psychological studies indicate that dog people are most social, easygoing and athletic. But, cat people are more discerning, independent, and liberal in their views.
Cat people are known to be intelligent, which makes this thinking man’s actor an obvious choice. Those who love cats also tend to possess open mindedness which creates intellectual curiosity, leading to artistic creativity. All these traits define Khan who has paved his way as a trendsetter in the industry, which lives off hit formulas.
Aamir Khan is no doubt a superstar but his star value was never diminished by his extensive experimental nature with new genre of movies. Today, few can typecast Khan either as an action hero, a romantic hero or a family movie hero. Though the lines are blurring now, for ages Khan had acted and backed movies across subjects like cross-border terrorism (Sarfarosh), childhood dyslexia (Taare Zameen Par), corruption (Rang De Basanti) and his latest blockbuster hit being a sports biopic, Dangal.
Cat people are also known to be observant and sensitive, and less social than others much like the Khans who are barely on the party circuit. Khan attends fewer award ceremonies but is a regular at book launches, business seminars and even debates on environment. Khan, like most other cat people, has liberal views and supported various causes including girl child empowerment, amongst others. One of his ambitious projects is the Paani Foundation, which is looking to fight drought in rural areas of the country, and intends to reach 4,000 villages.
With a successful career tucked away under his belt, trying his hand at movie direction and many multi-talents under his way, Khan is referred as Mr Perfect. We prefer to call him Mr Purrfect.
Katya Naidu was a former business journalist who changed tracks to chug along her real passion, pets and parenting.