Aamir Khan Talks About DELHI BELLY

Producer Aamir Khan is a nervous man these days, as his film Delhi Belly is up for release this Friday (1 July). In an exclusive interview with Komal Nahta, Editor of Koimoi.com, Aamir spilled the beans on why ‘Delhi Belly’ was in the making for so long. Excerpts from the interview:

Aamir Khan Talks About DELHI BELLYDELHI BELLY is up for release. Are you nervous?
Aamir Khan: Yes. You know I spend sleepless nights before the release of my films.

The film is all for taking a good start at the box-office due to the phenomenal popularity of Bhaag DK Bose.
Aamir Khan: I am not a numbers guy. I want the audience to like the film, that’s my prime concern. But yes, the buzz is very good. In fact, I was surprised that people are so expectantly waiting the film’s release even in the UK! ‘Delhi Belly’ is the opening film in the London Indian Film Festival 2011.

You had initially decided not to reveal the I Hate You Like I Love You song before the film’s release as you wanted it to be a surprise for the audience. Why then, did you change your decision?
Aamir Khan: I am a democratic producer. So when the UTV marketing team got together and impressed upon me that this song should be released one week before the film’s release, I respected their point of view. We live in an era where news spreads like wildfire via mediums like Twitter and Facebook. So, even if we had not revealed the song before release, by Friday evening, the whole world would know about the song anyway!

But why did you not choose any other actor to do the item song?
Aamir Khan: My appearance in the song was Kiran’s (Rao, Aamir’s wife) idea. Besides, I have not been seen in a mainstream film since 3 Idiots (December 2009). And my next mainstream release is only early next year. This song will help me to interface with my audience.

How many prints of DELHI BELLY are you releasing in India?
Aamir Khan: We will be releasing the film in a total of 1200 screens approximately. Almost 70% of the screens will be playing the Hindi dubbed version, while the rest will be screening the original Hinglish version.

How did you zero in on Abhinay Deo to direct the film?
Aamir Khan: When Akshat Verma came to me with the script of ‘Delhi Belly’, he also wanted to direct the film. I got him to do a screen test (which is a rule in Aamir Khan Productions) where he shot a few scenes from the script. I quite liked what he had shot but Akshat himself wasn’t satisfied with what he had done. So we decided to get Abinay Deo on board. As you might know, Abhinay is a big name in the advertising industry and he has made some very good ad films.

DELHI BELLY was in the making for quite some time. Two-and-a-half years passed between the completion of shooting and the film’s release. Any particular reason for the delay?
Aamir Khan: I am not a typical producer. I can’t multitask. So, I focus my full energy and passion towards one film at a time. And as you know I had to pay attention to the promotion and release of Peepli Live and Dhobi Ghat before I could shift my attention to ‘Delhi Belly’.

I had promised the cast and crew of ‘Delhi Belly’ that they would have my complete attention but that they would have to wait for their (film’s) turn. Marketing has always been important for me, right from the days of Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak.

But isn’t Aamir Khan, the producer-actor, the main selling point of DELHI BELLY?
The film is above me. The film is the star, not me or anybody else. Films make stars and not the other way around…



  1. lalsub
    June 30, 2011 at 6:28 PM

    Another interesting bit here, Aamir talking more about DB.

    June 30, 2011 12:58:25 PM IST
    Pankaj Sabnani, Glamsham Editorial

    Aamir Khan is going all out for DELHI BELLY and has even turned an item boy for it with the song ‘I hate you like I love you’. However, he maintains that the item song was not done for publicity.

    Explains Aamir, “My item song in DELHI BELLY was not added because of promotions. It was there in the film because the writer and director felt it needed to be there. The character of Disco Fighter was always there in the script. Whenever we do a film, we don’t add in anything to promote it. We don’t play with our films.”

    Does he feel that the film will be affected because of the item number? “Yes, the attention will shift momentarily because of my item number. No film can work on an item number. The film has to work in itself,” says the latest item boy.

    Not many people know that Aamir wanted to play Nitin’s character in DELHI BELLY, which was eventually played by Kunaal Roy Kapur.

    CHECK OUT: It took 3 years & 15 drafts to finalize DELHI BELLY

    “When the film was being made, I had to lose weight for 3 IDIOTS. I would have to put on weight for DELHI BELLY. That’s why I couldn’t do DELHI BELLY. But I’m glad I didn’t act in DELHI BELLY. Kunaal has done it really well. Now when I look at the film, I can’t imagine anybody else in the role. Kunaal has done it much better than I could have done. Also, had I done the film, I wouldn’t do the item song. So everything happens for the good in the end,” says Aamir with a smile.


  2. aman
    June 30, 2011 at 7:50 PM

    “If we didn’t get flack for Delhi Belly, we’d be going wrong somewhere” – Aamir Khan

    More than his face, you’d recognize Aamir Khan’s work. That’s why they are called pioneers, aren’t they? Since Lagaan, the actor, director and producer has carved out a niche for himself because he understands the limitations of how films are actually made. That’s his imagination, and imagination can do wonders. Welcome Delhi Belly! I meet the visionary at the Taj Lands End in Bandra for a quick one on one for his most bizarre selection of movies for his production house. Dressed in his beige cotton trousers and black polo t-shirt, Aamir was giving some television interviews as if the movie was already declared a blockbuster. But that’s Aamir Khan. The atmosphere in the hotel room mirrors Aamir’s own, casual, easy-going attitude, which, combined with youthful enthusiasm, farsighted vision and a determination to get it right, goes a good way towards explaining his and his company’s incredible success. Aamir specialises in timelessness that ensures his films longevity. So to term Aamir as a ‘geek’ is right, isn’t it? Because Aamir is an enthusiastic proponent of new ideas that have never been tried and tested before in films. UK’s Harrow Observer columnist and Bollywood Hungama’s London correspondent meets the man who is on the verge of changing the mindsets of not only the audiences with his innovative selection of movies he is producing, but changing the industry too. Aamir Khan is all yours!

    You are the Steve Jobs of Bollywood aren’t you? I mean, there is less supply and more demand coming in from your audiences?
    (Laughs) I am pleased to know that and you’ve made my day by calling me the ‘Steve Jobs’ of Bollywood (smiles). I don’t know whether I can do more films than I am already doing, be it acting, producing or directing because I feel that I cannot do more than one thing at a time which is why Delhi Belly took so much time to make because they waited for me to finish 3 Idiots.

    I told my team that if we do not get flack for it, we are going wrong somewhere
    You knew you were going in the right direction when you selected Delhi Belly?
    We’ve made this film for the youth. When we were planning this film, I told my team that if we do not get flack for it, we are going wrong somewhere (laughs). But if we do receive it, we are on the right track (laughs). Delhi Belly isn’t about the ‘generation gap’ or ‘generation changing’, etc. It’s a mad film about these three guys in particular. It’s essentially a dark comedy.

    How experimental are you then?
    I am not someone who is good at predicting trends. I just make what I feel like making. Yes, it is a film that hasn’t been made in India. In fact, this genre has never been attempted. It’s a new genre for Indian audiences. I think the youth will love it. Let’s see what reactions we get. Yes, I have shown the film to my son Junaid and to some of his friends. They all found it rather funny.

    So how would one describe Delhi Belly? An English film coming out from the Hindi Film Industry?
    I initially liked the script’s language how it was written in when I first time read it. I didn’t want to mess with that. Delhi Belly is an ‘Hinglish’ film. 50% is English and 50% is Hindi but nothing is deliberate. The characters speak naturally and instinctively in Hindi and English. Yes, this language barrier can reduce our audience. I also thought that today, there are so many English films releasing which shows that there is a market for English speaking audiences. Then they dub the film in three to four different languages. We decided to do the same thing. We are releasing Delhi Belly in 1200 screens. That’s a very big release. It’s releasing in two languages.

    What feedback have you received from your focus group screenings?
    I don’t think the two languages will make a difference to the cinema going audience. We’ve tested both the versions and have got fabulous response. The youth hasn’t changed today. I think that the youth, no matter which generation you pick, is still the same. We feel it has changed. Our fathers used to say that. We say that to our kids, our grandfathers say that about our fathers. So every generation thinks that the new generation is different from theirs but the fact is, it’s not so. It is ‘We’ who has changed.

    I don’t think the two languages will make a difference to the cinema going audience
    …and what is that unique quality about the youth now-a-days?
    The quality of youth is rebellious. They don’t have experience, they have energy. With experience, the youth becomes more mature and start changing as a person. But when you are young, in your late teens, say fifteen to sixteen, that time you want to explore, you are absorbing much more, you are free to experiment, braver in many levels and willing to take a leap. These are the qualities that every generation brings with them. A few of us retain it as we go along and that’s why we have this term ‘Young at Heart’.

    Did you use foul language while in your teens?
    As a young growing student I never used foul language and wasn’t naughty at all. In fact, I was very shy. I use some fowl words occasionally now but it’s very cathartic. It’s a nice way to release what you’re feeling. I take care not to use it in front of children. Amongst my friends, I am a little free if I had to use the fowl words (laughs).

    But long back in Baazi the film you did, you were an item girl, weren’t you?
    (Laughs) I did a song dressed up as an Item Girl for Baazi but that wasn’t an item song. I was throughout the film. It was a part of the film. Maybe this time it isn’t the ‘female’ version they’ll see. Maybe some other time (laughs).

    You believe that music equals power?
    Yes, Music is such a powerful platform. No, actually, it’s a wrong word. When you listen to music, your mood changes. I’ve often felt that when I go for shooting, I’d like to listen to a song which is of the kind that puts me in the mood for the scene. So if I am shooting a sad scene, I’d like to hear sad songs, etc. Music affects the way you feel. In Delhi Belly, we’ve chosen the music as a very strong path to take in reaching out to our audience because when I heard Ram Sampath’s soundtrack, I was really amazed. He is truly a new and a dynamic talent we have in the music world. I was so impressed with his music that I told him, ‘I will only promote your music Ram’ (laughs) and in that the film too will get promoted.

    We’ve chosen the music as a very strong path to take in reaching out to our audience
    I tweeted this morning – Rajma Laaj Rakhna. Are you sure you people know what Delhi Belly even means?
    (Laughs) Nicely put. The phrase ‘Delhi Belly’ that means ‘an upset stomach’ became so popular that it was widely used throughout the world. So even if you are in New York and you eat the street food there and your stomach gets upset, you’d say that ‘I’ve got my Delhi Bellies’. So Delhi Belly became a popular phrase. You do not use the word New York bellies or Paris bellies, etc. Delhi Belly is the talk of the town (laughs).

    And when do we see you behind the director’s chair again?
    I guess that can wait for quite some time because before that I’d rather have Kiran and Mansoor Khan direct a movie (smiles)


    Hmm…so according to Aamir, DB is releasing in 1200 screens and according to BOI, 3 idiots released in 1149 cinemas. So worldwide DB is getting a wider release than 3 Idiots. :D

  3. Yakuza
    June 30, 2011 at 7:55 PM

    Aman .. this interview is by Devansh Patel .. same guy who gave 5/5 to Bbuddah Hoga Terra Baap .. :)

  4. sandy
    June 30, 2011 at 9:39 PM

    70 per cent screens will show the Hindi version! Now this seems odd. I thought it’s prime audience was the English-speaking, urban youth. So from a niche one, it’s become a mass release?

  5. Doga
    June 30, 2011 at 11:18 PM

    Delhi Belly was never a niche movie(BO/Release/Market/Scaling) wise.

    Always been mid size and release will be big.

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