The face of versatility in mainstream Bollywood, Aamir Khan found early success in the tragic romance Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak and the arthouse drama Raakh (for which he even bagged a National Award special mention). But nobody in the industry anticipated the immense range Khan would showcase as he flirted with all sorts of characters and storylines in his diversely storied career.
Described by the press as an eccentric genius, Khan has shown his lighter side with classic performances in Dil Chahta Hai and Secret Superstar while also testing his emotional limits in gut-wrenching performances like the ones in Ghajini and Talaash. Playing around with both mainstream and niche audiences, Khan also holds the distinction of starring in one of India’s very few Oscar nominees (Lagaan in this case). Here’s a glance at his best work as an actor.
Mr. Perfectionist of Bollywood
Aamir Khan is often described as a “perfectionist” because of the extent to which he can go to ace his role. The 1990s showcased his chameleon-like abilities in emulating diverse tones in his career. On one hand, he could display slapstick silliness with Chaplin-esque precision in Andaz Apna Apna and on the other, he could capture the moral trials and tribulations of a hardened policeman in Sarfarosh.
By the 2000s, Khan started separating himself from formulaic Bollywood tropes, unlike peers like Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan. His movies were still hits at the box office but they carried a social sensitivity that no other big Bollywood star could portray at the time. This is evident from some fine examples like Taare Zameen Par which opened up the conversation on dyslexia in India, 3 Idiots which addressed academic pressure in engineering colleges, and PK which took sarcastic jabs at religious orthodoxy. The fact that Khan reads a script thoroughly before signing up for any project just shows the extent of his creative involvement.
The King of Physical Transformations
In terms of his physical commitment to the craft, Khan is also Bollywood’s answer to Christian Bale. Starting with his eight-pack abs phase in Ghajini, Khan has followed strict dietary regimens to achieve stunning physical transformations in most of his major roles in the 2010s. While his toned body was in full display as a naked alien in PK, a young college student in 3 Idiots, and a master thief in Dhoom 3, it was Dangal that marked the zenith of his physicality.
To portray an older version of wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat, Khan gained 30 kgs and changed his accent. Then, he lost all of that weight to portray a leaner and more muscular version of Phogat in his early 20s. Khan’s Dangal transformation is reminiscent of how Bale lost immense weight for The Machinist and then quickly gained muscle for Batman Begins. One can only wonder what health tips these two acting heavyweights will discuss if they ever meet!
Why is 3 Idiots Aamir Khan’s best movie?
While Aamir Khan has starred in many modern classics, 3 Idiots seems to offer the complete package. Despite being in his mid-40s, he nails the portrayal of the wide-eyed scientific prodigy Rancho who is still remembered as one of Hindi cinema’s most likable heroes. The Rajkumar Hirani movie is also backed by anti-academic pressure sentiments that resonated with audiences across all age groups in India. 3 Idiots bears testimony to Khan’s goal of crafting family-friendly entertainment with some sort of underlying social message.
Where can you stream Aamir Khan’s filmography?
Aamir Khan’s movies can be streamed on Netflix and Prime along with Indian platforms like ZEE5.