Sunday, May 20, 2012

The most insightful interview with Aamir Khan by the best interviewer in the country

It is only in Tehelka, India's foremost investigative magazine, that you get to read stories that no other publication prints.

And it is only in Tehelka that you get to read interviews and profiles that offer insights into their subjects like no other interview or profile does.

The Q&A with Aamir Khan by Shoma Chaudhury in the magazine's latest issue is a case in point. Chaudhury is a masterful interviewer and profile writer; in my opinion, the best in the country. Back in December 2009, Chaudhury gave us the the saga of a redoubtable Manipuri woman's epic fast for justice in her home state. In this fascinating and inspirational and touching story — "Irom And The Iron In India’s Soul" — she pulled out all stops to tell us why "Irom Sharmila's story should be part of universal folklore". Read it and weep.


And now, when Satyamev Jayate is the mantra on every Indian's lips, Chaudhury, the managing editor of Tehelka, gets us answers to all the questions we have — and also the questions we didn't know we have — about Aamir and his brilliant television show.

She begins with a basic query, then draws the superstar out with some penetrating and perceptive probing. Here is a sample:

After the idea struck you, did it take a long time for you to cave in to it? To decide to risk moving from cinema to TV.

What was the toughest part to crack about the show?

Television viewers are famously fickle. Was there any resistance from the channels to your desire to make the show one-and-a-half hours?

In terms of the breadth of research that the team did, how many personal stories did you actually get? Were there any that particularly touched you?

What made you stop all your advertising contracts for this year?

You bring a sort of purity of intent to your creative commitments. Then once it’s ready, you mount super canny marketing strategies on them. How did you work the marketing strategy for this?

Read the interview in its entirety, and get the answers to these questions and more, here: "We’ve been through so much raw emotion, our whole team feels we need some counselling".

Also read, on the same page, "The power of one", by Tehelka special corespondent Sunaina Kumar.

And check out Shoma Chaudhury's other stories for Tehelka here.
  • UPDATE (June 6, 2012): Aamir Khan, who now writes a weekly column for The Hindu, explains how he and his team came to choose "intolerance towards love" as the topic for the fifth episode of Satyamev Jayate: "More honour in love". You can watch this particular episode here: "Is love a crime?"
  • UPDATE (July 12, 2012): CNN-IBN deputy editor Sagarika Ghose, writing in the Hindustan Times, says Aamir Khan has reminded journalists of the tasks that lie before them. Read her thought-provoking column here: "Back to the basics".

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