Aamir Khan is a man who chooses his words with great care, more so after his remarks on ‘intolerance’ last year provoked an absolute torrent of recriminations and angry protests. Nobody should be surprised, then, by what the 51-year-old actor said when he was asked about the currency ban last weekend, at the wedding of wrestler Geeta Phogat in Haryana. Geeta is a daughter of former wrestler Mahavir Phogat, played by Aamir Khan in upcoming film Dangal. The wedding, held in Balali village in Haryana on Sunday, was attended by the entire cast of the film, led by Aamir who was not only guest of honour but also participated in proceedings as a member of the family.
Aamir, who is very close to the Phogats, offered to gift Geeta her wedding outfit – she refused, saying his presence was gift enough – and personally supervised the buying of gifts for both the bride’s and groom’s families. So when he appeared to address the press, wearing a red safa and black Nehru jacket, reporters asked him about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s currency ban. Diplomatically, Aamir said, “I will not comment on this matter.” He did, however, say that it hadn’t been difficult to implement wedding preparations. “As far as cash for the wedding is concerned, I had no issues. All my cash is in the bank and payments were made in cheque,” he told reporters outside the wedding venue in Balali, Haryana.
Some two weeks ago, PM Modi sprung a massive surprise on the country by declaring all 500 and 1000 rupee notes invalid. Severe restrictions have been placed on the exchange of old notes and on the withdrawal of cash from banks and ATMs.
Geeta Phogat’s wedding, for which Aamir skipped the Coldplay concert in Mumbai on Saturday, was a grand affair. Aamir was pictured with the bride, her father and her family as well as his co-stars from Dangal – TV star Sakshi Tanwar, who plays his wife and actress Sanya Malhotra, who plays Geeta. Fatima Sana Shaikh, who features as Geeta’s sister Babita was not present at the wedding.
Dangal, expected to be one of this year’s biggest films, tells the story of how Mahavir Phogat defied convention and disapproval from his village to train his daughters in his chosen sport. Geeta and Babita Phogat are two of India’s most celebrated wrestlers, winning medals at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Aamir, who plays Mahavir Phogat as a young and middle-aged man, said, “We portrayed the village as truthfully as possible.” Dangal was mostly shot around Ludhiana in Punjab.
An Aamir Khan film, coming as it does once in a year sometimes two, is almost always an event that is worth the wait. Watch Dangal, however, for the performances of the young actresses playing Geeta and Babita, says the actor. “If I have to rate our performance in the film, I would say that these kids performed 10 times better than what I did. No, I am not exaggerating anything. Once the film releases, the audience will understand. I have been working in the industry for last 25 years, but these kids are highly talented,” he said. The younger versions of Geeta and Babita Phogat are played by child actors Suhani Bhatnagar and Zaira Wasim.