In his acting career spanning three decades, films starring Aamir Khan have ridden to the box office on his shoulders. There are also some where he was not the lead character but left an indelible mark nevertheless. On his 58th birthday, we pick four films where Aamir played a supporting role and bowled us over.
Sujata’s alter-ego in Salaam Venky
Aamir Khan has an extended cameo in Revathy’s emotional drama Salaam Venky (2022) where he plays a figment of Sujata’s (Kajol) imagination. Though initially it appears that Aamir could be the spirit of Sujata’s dead husband, as the film progresses it becomes clear that he is Sujata’s alter-ego who she communicates with in times of crisis. Aamir makes an impression with a nuanced performance and calm persona in this unusual role. The alter-ego helps Sujata come to terms with the fact that her son Venky (Vishal Jethwa) is dying. In a crucial scene before the intermission, he makes her accept Venky’s wish for euthanasia, with the assurance that he would look after him in the other world.
Shakti Kumaarr in Secret Superstar
In Advait Chandan’s Secret Superstar (2017), Aamir played a music composer with a soft heart, called Shakti Kumaarr. Quite unlike anything Aamir has played before, Shakti is loud, pretentious and a flamboyant dresser. Shakti comes across Insia’s (Zaira Wasim) music video on the internet and offers her a chance to record a song with him. He is like a guardian angel to Insia and not only helps her carve a career in the music industry but also assists Insia in arranging divorce papers for her mother so they could get away from her abusive father.
Ram Shankar Nikumbh in Taare Zameen Par
Ram Shankar Nikumbh, Aamir’s cheerful and empathetic character in his directorial debut Taare Zameen Par (2007), is everything we want a teacher to be. ‘Nikumbh sir’ does not follow conventional teaching methods, encourages his students to discover their passion and believes education is more than just rote-learning and a race for grades. When Nikumbh joins Ishaan’s (Darsheel Safary) boarding school as an art teacher, he immediately spots signs of dyslexia in him and, instead of treating him as inferior, takes him under his wing. His guidance and care helps Ishaan develop confidence in himself and gather courage to express himself through his art.
Pluto in Dil Dhadakne Do
Aamir Khan may not have been physically present in the Zoya Akhtar-directed Dil Dhadakne Do (2015) but surely did a lot of talking through Pluto. Aamir lent his voice to Pluto, the family dog of the Mehras in the film. As Kamal Mehra (Anil Kapoor) and his wife Neelam (Shefali Shah) board a cruise liner with their friends and relatives to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary, Pluto tags along. Pluto becomes the narrator of the story, delivering his unique take on his human family, their quirks and life in general. Written by Javed Akhtar, Aamir’s voice connected the many dots in the narrative, giving us an insight into the characters.