Born on 14th March 1965, as Mohammed Aamir Hussain Khan, Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan doesn’t need any introduction. Today he is known not only as an actor but as a ‘responsible actor’ who just not entertains people but also educates them about various social issues. Aamir himself has said that “every creative person must not just entertain, but also build values and the social fabric.” Let’s have a look at some of his best social movies:
1. Lagan Once Upon a Time in India (2001)
Set in the British colonialism era, the film’s story revolves around a small village called Champanar, where villagers are forced to pay high taxes. Life gives a fair chance to villagers when Bhuvan (Aamir Khan) accepts the challenge of Captain Andrew Russell for the game of a test match of cricket with a strong condition. Without having any knowledge about cricket, he decides to take the challenge in the belief that if he wins, he can change the villagers’ destiny. The film showcases Bhuvan’s strong will power to fight against the unjust law of British, sending out strong message ‘If there is a will, there is a way.’
Shooting Locations: The film was primarily shot in an ancient village of Kanuria near Bhuj, in Kutch district of Gujarat.
2. Fanna (2006)
Aamir played a Delhi tourist guide, Rehan Khan in this romantic crime drama film. Fanna explored the universal theme of love/separation and the classic dilemma of a choice between good versus evil. Zooni, a blind Kashmiri girl travels all alone for the first time with a dance troupe to Delhi to perform in a ceremony for Republic Day. She falls in love with an attractive and talkative tourist guide without knowing anything about him. The film’s message is clearly reflected in the words of advice from Zooni’s father:
“To choose between right and wrong is simple, one has to learn to choose between the lesser of two evils and the greater of two goods.”
Shooting Locations: Kashmir scenes of the movie was shot in the Tatra Mountains in southern Poland. Other scenes were filmed at historical locations in Delhi like Red Fort, Qutub Minar, Jantar Mantar, Rashtrapati Bhavan, Lodhi Gardens and Purana Qila.
3. Rang De Basanti (2006)
Rang De Basanti was basically a youth movie which managed to inspire youngsters to become more responsible towards their country. This thought-provoking movie created a huge impact especially with the candle lighting sequence in India Gate which is often followed by people in real life as a sign of protesting. The term “RDB effect” is often used while referring to instances of public protest against an issue. Who can forget the famous dialogue “Koi bhi desh perfect nahin hota…ushe perfect banana padta hai.”
Shooting Locations: The movie was shot in New Delhi, Rajasthan, Mumbai and Punjab and at tourist attractions like Jaipur’s Nahargarh Fort and Amrtisar’s Golden temple.
4. Taare Zameen Par (2007)
‘Every Child is special’ was the subtitle of this offbeat children movie. The film explored the life of eight year old Ishaan who excels in art but has a poor academic performance. His parents decide to send him to a boarding school thinking that it’ll help him improve in his studies. Ishaan meets his new art teacher (Aamir) in boarding school who comes to know that Ishaan is dyslexic. The film raised awareness of the issue of dyslexia and attracted parents as well as teachers attention towards the plight of dyslexic kids.
Shooting Locations: All the initial school sequences were filmed at Mumbai’s St. Xavier’s School. The boarding school scenes were filmed in New Era High School at Panchgani.
5. Three Idiots(2009)
Who can forget the three magic words of this movie??? ALL IZZ WELL…The movie raised the issue of Indian parents’ mentality that only engineer and doctors are capable of living a respectful and rich life. They don’t ask their children for even once about what they want to do in life. It also dealt with the boring classroom teaching where students are praised for rote learning and criticized for asking or raising questions. This revolutionary movie gave a whole new twist to the Indian education system with the message that we should look beyond high grades.
Shooting Locations: The film was shot in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Ladakh, Shimla and Chail. ICE college scenes were filmed at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore.
6. Peepli Live (2010)
A satirical comedy film, Peepli Live raised important topics of ‘farmer suicides’ and hilariously stupid ‘breaking news’ content of the electronic media. Though Aamir didn’t star in this film, it was produced by him under his banner Aamir Khan Productions. The then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called this movie “a moral lesson both for politicians and for the gentlemen and ladies of the media.” Peepli Live also struck a chord overseas when after a screening at American film festival ‘Sundance’, a middle-aged man approached the filmmakers and asked the name of the goat in the film. When they asked the reason, the man revealed that he was an American farmer who too faced similar debt problems and liked the film so much that he wanted to give his goat the same name!
Shooting Locations: The movie was filmed in New Delhi and on various locations in Madhya Pradesh like Bhopal, Khurai, Indore and Tikamgarh.
7. Dhobi Ghat or Mumbai Diaries (2011)
Set in the backdrop of Mumbai, Dhobi Ghat intertwined the stories of four characters from different worlds. First is an artist (Aamir), second is a an NRI photographer, third is a dhobi (washerman) and the last one is a unhappy newly married girl. What is common between these four is the overcrowded city of Mumbai, which is flocked by poor people from all over India in the hope of a better life. The movie raised issues like rich-poor divide, loneliness and betrayal.
Shooting Locations:The movie was shot mainly in Mumbai at skyscrapers under construction, sea facing bungalows at Worli, Mohammed Ali markets, Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat, Chowpatty and Marine Drive.
8. PK (Releasing 19th December 2014)
Directed by Rajkumar Hirani, PK has created a great buzz among bollywood industry as well as audiences. As per media reports, Hirani has stated that the film is a satire on “Hindu gods and godmen”. According to rumours, Aamir Khan is playing the role of an alien who travels to earth to seek divine intervention as his planet is in trouble.
Shooting Locations:The film is shot in Delhi and Rajasthan. As per newspapers report, the first poster of the film where Aamir is seen nude, standing on a railway track with a transistor was shot on an abandoned railway track of Rajasthan.
” Aise tukur tukur ka dekh rahe ho, hain? Pehchane nahi ka humka?Arey hum PK hun… ”