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'My father was almost bankrupt': Aamir Khan recalls how he became a producer by 'accident' with 'Lagaan'

Aamir Khan also said that when he made 'Lagaan', he realised that producing a film gives him more creative liberty.

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'My father was almost bankrupt': Aamir Khan recalls how he became a producer by 'accident' with 'Lagaan'
Aamir Khan | File photo
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As 'Lagaan' clocks 20 years today (June 15), actor Aamir Khan took out some time to interact with the media and recall the days when he shot for the iconic film and reflect on the film's journey of two decades which incidentally also marks 20 years of his first production. 

'Lagaan' was the first film Aamir Khan Productions produced.

During a virtual press conference which DNA was a part of, while talking about how he turned producer by ‘accident’ with ‘Lagaan’, Aamir Khan said, "I come from a film family, I have seen my uncle and father making movies. My father was a very enthusiastic producer, a very good producer but he didn't know how to do business, so he never ended up making money. He only had problems. One film 'Locket' took him eight years to make, 'Khoon Ki Pukaar' took three years to make. He was in big debt and I've seen him go through a lot of financial crisis. He was almost bankrupt and we were almost on the roads, there was a time like that. We were small at that time. I remember the phone used to ring and it would usually be people asking for their money back, that they had invested in his films. He used to keep saying I have invested the entire money in my film, my actors aren't giving me dates, so I'm stuck. This conversation went on for 3-4 years."

He added, "One day, my mother told me she woke up in the middle of the night and saw my father searching for something in his cupboard. She said, I asked him what are you looking for and then he said 'my graduation certificate'. 'I have finished all the money and I'm going to go bankrupt. So, we will be on the roads. I'm losing the house, I'm losing everything. So, I need to take up a job, I have to earn money'. 

Aamir Khan further said, "A man in his 40s is telling his wife that I'm looking for my graduation certificate. This was our situation. I had decided I'll never be a producer. I have said this several times in my old interviews as well. I have always said no, I won't ever produce a film. But I ended up producing. Why did that happen? I didn't want to produce. When Ashu (Ashutosh Gowariker) came to me with the film which I loved, I kept thinking who will produce this? Which producer will give the resources correctly to make 'Lagaan' like this? No name would come to my mind. I released if this film has to be made since I didn't know any producer who would do it that time, I said I'll have to produce it. So, I became a producer by accident, I had no intentions of being a producer."

Aamir further said that when he made 'Lagaan' and he realised that producing a film gives him more creative liberty. He said, "But when I made 'Lagaan', it made me realise that now I'm able to do things the way I want. So, I realised that this may be troublesome, you have to deal with the market etc which I'm not very comfortable with, it's not my strength, but it gives me a lot of potentials creatively if I'm in control. And that is the time when I decided that production is a good thing to do, but I must do it my way."

Earlier, talking about the film not winning the Oscar, Aamir had said, "Of course, I was disappointed. We would have liked to win."

However, he added, "What I have been trying to tell people over the years, is that at the Oscars, it's such a difficult process that to get nominated is so difficult that if you are nominated it means the members of the foreign language committee -- a huge percentage of them -- have loved your film. They have loved it so much that you are in the top five. In Los Angeles, they consider when you are a nominee, you are all coming and standing at the finish line. So, all are equally good. Then, one person is told, you go ahead, so that person/film becomes the winner. But the other four are only one step behind the winner. What we fail to appreciate is that the members of the committee actually loved our film. The fact that you reached the top five is a very big thing."

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