Aamir Khan comes from an illustrated film family. His father Tahir Hussain and uncle Nasir Hussain were both filmmakers. But it wasn’t a smooth journey for the family in films. When Aamir was young, his father almost went bankrupt making the 1986 film Locket. Seeing his father’s struggles, Aamir had vowed never to become a producer in his life.
Recalling the time of hardships, Aamir said, “My father was a very enthusiastic producer, but he didn’t know how to do business so he never ended up making money. And he only had date problems. A film like Locket took eight years to be completed, Khoon Ki Pukaar took three years. And he was in big debt. I’ve see my father go through a lot of financial crisis. He was almost bankrupt, and we were almost on the roads. We were small kids then. The phone used to ring and it was usually lenders asking for their money back. Once my mother saw my father looking for his graduation certificate in the middle of the night. He said, ‘I’m going to go bankrupt, we will be on the roads, I’m losing the house and losing everything. So I need to start looking for a job to earn money, so I’m looking for my graduation certificate.’ Imagine a man in his 40s is telling his wife that.”
But Aamir’s resolve to never become a producer changed when he got the script of Lagaan. He wanted the film to get the right resources and made the way it deserved to be.
“After seeing my father’s struggles, I had decided that I’ll never be a producer. But one should never say never. I didn’t want to produce a film. Ashutosh Gowariker came to me with a script which I loved. I was thinking, who will produce this? Which producer will give the resources correctly to make Lagaan like this? Ashutosh, despite being a good director, had not given successful films till then, so producers would be apprehensive. I realized that if this film has to be made, I have to become the producer. So I became a producer by accident,” Aamir narrates.
Lagaan started the journey of Aamir Khan Productions, and let the actor make films the way he wanted. “I had thought I would produce just this film and be done with it. But I realized that it gives me a lot of control creatively. I realized production is a good thing for me to do, but then I must do it my way. Usually production houses make 2-3 films a year at least. It’s been 20 years for AKP, we haven’t even produced 10 films. We are not a production house which believes in quantity. I believe in doing one thing at a time and doing it properly,” he explains.
Aamir also said that he doesn’t think of the box office when choosing a film to make. “When you love a story, make it, don’t think of the box office. Touchwood we have 100% record till today, we have never lost money on a film,” he says.