Dangal director Nitesh on B'Day boy Aamir

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Aamir Khan’s blockbuster ‘Dangal‘ released in 2016 but even though nearly five years have passed, the actor continues to remain in touch with almost everyone from the film’s cast and crew through a WhatsApp group which they made after they had wrapped up the film.
The WhatsApp group in question has been feverishly ticking, we assume, because today is Aamir’s birthday, and we bet nobody in the group would want to miss out on wishing him. A source says, “This group is even otherwise very active. Even Aamir talks on that. ‘Dangal’ was a massive experience for each one of those who were associated with it. It shall remain one of the fondest memories of my life.”
When contacted, the film’s director Nitesh Tiwari said, “We put a lot of things on that group–what’s happening in our lives, our work, and even the memes that come up related to ‘Dangal’. We have frequently stayed in touch; we were a very close-knit family.”
Talking more about ‘Dangal’, Nitesh further said that it was Aamir’s idea of bulking up first and then shooting for the portions wherein he’s supposed to look leaner. “He said that he does few films and if he bulks up later, the flab would remain on him until he starts shooting for his next. It made sense and so we started accordingly. But I was amazed that he did not flinch an eyebrow at the collateral issues that his weight gain brought about–increase in cholesterol and heart rate, so much so that he couldn’t tie his shoelaces in a normal sitting position.”

Elaborating on Aamir’s passion for acting and getting into the skin of his characters, Nitesh said that unlike his other cast which spent two months learning Haryanvi, Aamir chose to devote five months for the same.

Nitesh added that he has a style of shooting an extra take after he has okayed the shot. “And, Aamir had no qualms in flowing with me that way. There was one scene where I didn’t want that extra take; I am referring to the long monologue he has to say when Fatima is being dismissed from school. But he insisted that I retain my style. I have always believed that the extra take gives me a chance to have the actor more relaxed after I have okayed, and I might get something natural from him/her that way.” So which shot of monologue did he eventually retain, we asked. “Oh, the first one. You see, with Aamir, the case is that he comes so prepared that you have to see it to believe it. I felt his first shot had better emotion; the right quivering of lips and the right amount of tears doing the trick.”

Aamir, Nitesh said, is very tech-savvy. “There was a scene where the viewer might have felt a jarring moment as there was axis jumping happening in a shot which had Sanya Malhotra and Aamir. So I told him if we could shoot that in another way, which wouldn’t give the axis jump. He told me that he was sure that I should go with the first shot as the jarring wouldn’t be felt on the big screen. Yet, he shot the second option without fuss. And, in the end, I kept the first because he was right; the jarring was not noticeable at all when viewed on the big screen.”

Nitesh recounted two more instances where he was very impressed by Aamir. “Remember when Fatima calls from school and he reluctantly gets up to speak to her? The script had him saying ‘Hello’. His performance is so transparent and strong that you realise what changes you need to make in the script if any such are required. I immediately realised by the manner he said ‘Hello’ that a ‘Huh’ would be better. We reshot the scene with a ‘Huh’.”

Coming to the climax, Nitesh reveals that he had at least four more endings with which he could have culminated the film. It was surprising to see that Aamir continues to remain locked when Fatima gives the final punch. “I understand what you are saying. But we discussed that mutually and even Aamir agreed that he would rather go with the original script. The pay-off with him still in the room inside and the Nation Anthem going on was far more apt,” Nitesh concluded.

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