By: Aarefa Faridoon.
“If Life was like a box of chocolates, you’d never know what you're gonna get,” but it seems like Aamir Khan is picking all the nice ones from his box. A passionate lover, an organized killer, a strict father, a professional cyclist or an engineering student who strives for excellence – the man can make everything yield gold. Mr. Perfectionist’s movies are now not looked forward for hits, instead they are meant to break and create records. Unlike his counterparts, he doesn’t believe in placing multiple bets. He is a gambler who plays just one hand and that is all-in. The maverick actor has always taken the path least treaded and has reinvented himself with each film.
The spotlight is on the man who is all set to rewrite the history of contemporary cinema with his soon releasing Thugs of Hindostan. The coming together of the likes of Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan and Katrina Kaif is being said to be a casting coup. As the promotional campaign of Thugs of Hindostan is in full swing, one gets the sensation of that time of the calendar when a blizzard called Aamir Khan is all set to strike. The guessing game is flowering as trade pundits and gossip websites are busy speculating on what this mega movie is all about. What no one has any doubts about is that since Aamir is involved, this Vijay Krishna Acharya film will smash all records in India and international markets too.
Thugs of Hindostan will have the widest release for a Hindi film ever. It's expected to cross the mark of 50 crore rupees on the first day which will be a record in itself. It is time to sit back and analyze what makes Aamir Khan the undisputed King of Bollywood. Since Mela, not a single film helmed by Aamir Khan has flopped at the box office. His film Ghajini was the first film to cross Rupees 100 crores. 3 Idiots made another record by crossing Rupees 200 crores (and that too at a far less screen count than what's the norm these days). Dhoom 3 was the first film to cross Rs 250 crores while PK was the first to create the Rs 300 crore club. Dangal went past Rs 350 crores and now Thugs of Hindostan is expected to trample all previous records and create new ones!!!
Aamir Khan opened the floodgates of the Chinese market for Indian films. It started with 3 Idiots that had an intense message conveyed in the most humorous way. Chinese people fell for Aamir and his movies were heavily pirated. PK did very well and then Dangal stunned everyone by garnering an unheard amount of Rupees 1250 crore in China. Secret Superstar boasted of a mere special appearance by Aamir but even then it baffled everyone with a Rupees 750 crore business. To get a perspective on how big Aamir is in China, it must be noted that mega successes of India like Bahubali and Sultan flopped in China.
Aamir follows this unique business policy of sharing from the profits. He doesn't charge upfront fees for any of his films. He takes partnership in profits. Only once the producer has recovered his cost (which also includes the money spent on advertising and marketing), Aamir starts getting a share from the profits. Since he's taking the risk, he takes a big profit share. For example in Thugs of Hindostan he's reportedly having a 70-80% share in the profits. This profit share includes all the vectors like satellite, television, digital and overseas etc. For Dangal he had a 12.5% profit share in the China release which was doubled when Secret Superstar released there. There is an expectation that Thugs of Hindostan will witness an unheard of release in China and Aamir will up his profit share.
The question that bugs everyone is why it is that Aamir has a 100% success ratio in the last 18 years? There are multiple theories that can be considered…Aamir does just one film at a time. There's a lot of time spent in finalizing a script, right casting, proper plan for making the film as per the script. He ensures that he himself approves the edit, organizes focused screenings where he shows the film to a trusted group of people and takes their honest feedback. Aamir also makes it a point to work on the edits post the feedback. Aamir the marketing mastermind, always markets a film as per the context of the bill and goes all out. The entire plan is there in the public domain and it's strange why others from the film industry don't follow this pattern. One can never forget that when it was 3 Idiots’ turn for release, Aamir tried his ads-on-rickshaws technique, posting stickers that read, “Capacity: 3 Idiots,” which became an instant hit.
Aamir is also socially conscious and responsible. After three seasons of his widely received show Satyamev Jayate, Aamir decided to help the drought hit farmers of Maharashtra by organizing the ‘Water Cup’. His team trains farmers on the ways to conserve water. He has totally grasped the minutest of details about this cause. This social consciousness helps in improving Aamir's image and endears him to his audience.
Aamir, the undisputed genius has the knack of turning everything he touches into gold. He is the kind of salesman who can sell refrigerators to Eskimos. Given the fact that Aamir has dared to venture into territories where no man has gone before, his career graph has only gone upwards. As we mentioned earlier Aamir Khan is the king of Bollywood and he's here to stay!
Aarefa Faridoon, a Professor of Communication Skills at Rizvi College of Engineering in Mumbai, has been teaching for the last 16 years. A lover of poetry and literature, she has written for prominent portals in India and USA. Research articles combined with the pep of Bollywood are her strong suit.