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At Kolkata lit fest, Aamir Khan credits Maulana Azad for showbiz career
Wednesday January 8, 2014 10:53 PM, IANS

Actor Aamir Khan Wednesday revealed he might not have been a superstar if it weren't for the advice 'do what your heart says' by his great grand uncle, Muslim scholar and nationalist Maulana Abul Kalam Azad.

Aamir Khan

During his opening address at the 2014 Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival (AKLF) here, Aamir recalled the leader had instilled confidence in Aamir's uncle, producer Nasir Hussain, to join the film industry, in the wake of family protests.

This had spurred Hussain and Aamir's father, producer Tahir Hussain, to join showbiz.

"He (Nasir Hussain) mentioned to me ... when he was a young boy and came out of college and was very interested in films ... in the creative field and he wanted to be a writer ... the entire family was against and was dissuading him from joining the film industry and he said: 'I went and I met Azad saheb. He (Azad) said don't listen to anyone ... do what your heart says. He was the only person who supported me'."

Aamir thanked Azad for the critical piece of advice that, according to him is responsible for his being in showbiz.

"... ironically that's the theme of one of my films '3 Idiots': do what your heart says."

"Actually if Maulana Azad hadn't given that advice, my uncle might not have been in films, then my father wouldn't have joined films and if my father hadn't joined films I might have been somewhere else."

"So I thank him for the advice he gave to my uncle."

He also said it is his dream to make a film on the life of the great leader.

"I hope that some day I can use my capabilities, and through the art form that I practise, to make a film on Maulana Azad. It's a dream to bring his life to a larger populace of India," he said.

The actor wished he had met the freedom fighter and read excerpts from one of Azad's interviews in 1946.

In reference to the interview, he said he was "amazed" by Azad's predictions, a year before India's Independence, of the partition of the sub-continent in 1947 and the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War.

"I read the book that he wrote and that's how I got to know him. He came across to me as an extremely progressive mind, extremely fertile mind, a person who was balanced, a person who who really had justice at his core.

"When I was reading the interview I was amazed at his clear thinking ... his ability to convey in a very clear manner what he felt ... his ability to really predict what was going to happen really hit out at me."

Chairman of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Institute of Asian Studies Sitaram Sharma, a collaborator of the event, extended the institute's co-operation to Aamir for his proposed film on the freedom-fighter.

West Bengal Governor M.K. Narayanan said Azad's view on secularism are "extremely important today" when secularism is coming under attack.

AKLF, running till Jan 13, will celebrate the secular views of Azad to coincide with his 125th birth anniversary.

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