The 2001 Bollywood movie “Dil Chahta Hai” had a famous dialogue, “Haan, waise bhi perfection ko improve karna mushkil hota hai”. Talking to his friend over the phone, Akash (Aamir Khan) says, “It is difficult to improve perfection.” Aamir has been called Mr. Perfectionist and looking back; the dialogue seems more ironic than iconic today
Turkish First Lady Emine Erdogan with Aamir Khan in Istanbul
The hypocrisy and duplicity of “secular intellectuals of Bollywood” is legendary. From Javed Akhtar to Nasiruddin Shah to Shabana Azmi to Swara Bhaskar, the entire Liberal brigade of Bollywood is a gang of hypocrites with Anti-Hindu agenda. But Mr Perfectionist Aamir Khan is unmatched even there. He’s the most established hypocrite of the entire lot and the most dangerous too.
“Sarfarosh”, the 1999 movie had Aamir Khan playing ACP Ajay Singh Rathod, who catches Pakistani spy kingpin Gulfam Hassan, played by Nasiruddin Shah. In real life though, both ACP Rathod and Gulfam Hassan are on the same side and that isn’t Indian. A cursory look at Aamir Khan’s movies suggests, he has played patriotic characters in many movies. Sarfarosh, Mangal Pandey, Rang De Basanti, Lagaan and Dangal being the most famous among them. But in the last decade, he has acted in more films as a reformer. Reforming education in “3 Idiots”, rehabilitating a dyslexic child in “Taare Zameen Par”, supporting a young singer in “Secret Superstar” and reforming Hindutva in Rajkumar Hirani’s “PK”.
Aamir Khan’s “Satyamev Jayate” was the most admired television program between 2012 and 2014. He exposed all the illnesses plaguing India in general and Hindutva in particular. Dowry, oppression of women, oppression of Dalits and a plethora of issues haunting Indian society. He even presented the entire clan of Doctors and greedy and unscrupulous. Not surprisingly, all the zeal was concentrated on showing the ugly face of Hindu society. Unfortunately, the programme was over before Aamir could attempt to reform the Muslim society. Issues like Triple Talaq, Burkha, polygamy and Nikah Halaala slipped out of Aamir’s crusades against social evils.
By influencing Erdogan’s wife, is he trying to improve Indo-Turkish relationships? That could be the explanation we can expect. Like he’s always done, Aamir will come out with a facile explanation to defend his actions. After all, he’s Mr Perfectionist who has perfected the art of doublespeak and unadulterated hypocrisy
While his movies became progressively Hinduphobic, Aamir himself became a devout Islamist. Wasting milk over deities in temples and other Hindu rituals were criticised in his movies. But Aamir calmly went to Hajj in 2012 and also participated in stoning the Satan ritual. He also met a couple of Pakistani Maulanas with questionable background and posed for photographs with them with humility. His duplicitous nature and hypocrisy were in full display. But that didn’t stop him from preaching tolerance to Indians.
In 2006, he had criticised the then Gujarat CM Modi for the 2002 riots. Later that year, he participated in the Jantar Mantar rally of “Narmada Bachao Andolan” lead by Medha Patkar. Shrewd that he is, he retracted his criticism of Modi. He also claimed he wasn’t against Sardar Sarovar project but just wanted proper rehabilitation of people affected by the project. Perhaps, the unofficial ban on his movies “Fanaa” and “Taare Zameen Par” in Gujarat lead to the volte face.
Post-2015, Aamir has blown hot and blown cold too often. In 2015, he claimed there was growing intolerance in India. He added that his wife Kiran was worried for their children and wanted to relocate to some other country. Faced with severe backlash on social media, he blamed the mainstream media for misrepresenting his statement and declared undying loyalty to India. He even met Prime Minister Modi and shared photographs with him on the media and social media in 2016. In front of the world, Aamir has shown, he shares a great rapport with PM Modi. But that is just half the story. The other half is about perfectionism in hypocrisy.
Finding a huge market for his movies in China, Aamir was quick to send a goodwill message to China when the country was facing the Wuhan Virus pandemic earlier this year. Like the Pak-Premi gangs of Bollywood, Aamir too has been quite kind to Pakistan but somehow, he hasn’t bothered much about India. At least not yet in a visible manner. But he’s gone ahead and done something more interesting.
The world is watching continued radicalisation of Turkey under the Islamist hardliner Erdogan. In a world where Saudi Arabia and UAE are moderating their stance and distancing themselves from terrorism, Erdogan wants to be the Caliph of the Islamic world. By junking progressive policies of Kemal Ataturk and converting centuries-old Christian monuments like Hagia Sophia and Byzantine Chora Church into Mosques again, Turkey is sending strong signals of extreme state-sponsored religious fanaticism. As part of this radicalisation, Turkey also has grown seriously hostile towards India. With openly partisan support of Pakistan on Kashmir issue, Turkey has all but destroyed bilateral relations with India.
With this background, Aamir Khan’s rendezvous with the first lady of Turkey has ruffled a lot of feathers back home. What was he doing in Turkey in the middle of a pandemic, with so much publicity? One reason stated is shooting for his upcoming movie “Lal Singh Chaddha”. People are asking, “But why, Turkey?” Being an expert reformer, is Aamir trying to reform Erdogan? By influencing Erdogan’s wife, is he trying to improve Indo-Turkish relationships? That could be the explanation we can expect. Like he’s always done, Aamir will come out with a facile explanation to defend his actions. After all, he’s Mr Perfectionist who has perfected the art of doublespeak and unadulterated hypocrisy.
(The writer is a columnist and writes mostly on Politics, Cricket and Cinema)