This article was last updated on April 16, 2022
To be fair to writer Christina Daniels, she makes it clear at the very beginning of the book that 'I'll Do It My Way', despite being pitched as 'The Incredible Journey of Aamir Khan' isn't really his autobiographical tale. In fact it is also declared that Aamir Khan hasn't even been interviewed for this book. Well, though one has to give full marks to the book for the honesty it displays, from the content perspective it is not even half baked.
There are two reasons for that. First and foremost it is entirely a complete outsider's account of what she perceives as Aamir Khan to be. Nothing wrong with that but then it would have still carried some credibility had the author at least met Aamir in person or would have been in his close vicinity for on and off basis. Here, none of that really happens. Secondly, and most importantly, the book is more of a 'Googled' affair. This means that quotes from Aamir as well as those who have worked with him in the last 20 odd years are comfortably sourced from websites as well as various publications, hence leading to the ~200 page write-up.
Due to these very reasons it is difficult to take the book seriously even though the author does make a good attempt to present Aamir as an entertainer who has lived by his own rules. That by the way is the right pitch that her book takes because this is what Aamir's perception in the outside world has been there for years now. Of course the man is a thinking entertainer; there are no doubts around this. However need of the hour was for the book to present something that a reader perhaps didn't know instead of turning out to be a compilation that mainly makes for a fan-boy read.
This is what turns out to be the case though for 'I'll Do It My Way' where Christina basically sets up conversations with the likes of Mansoor Khan, Aditya Bhattacharya, Indra Kumar, Mahesh Bhatt, Dharmesh Darshan, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, AR Murugadoss, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Rajkumar Hirani and Asin Thottumkal amongst others to explore what the man is all about. Of course it is expected that they would indeed appreciate the man of the moment (not that he doesn't deserve it). However when normally vociferous Mahesh Bhatt too doesn't quite go all the way and is controlled in his commentary, you see the miss!
However, it is still interesting to hear from the likes of Suneel Darshan and Indra Kumar, who had given Aamir two career changing films in the form of Raja Hindustani and Dil, talk at length about how the collaboration succeeded even though it seems remote that there would be a repeat of that in near future. Getting nostalgic, they do talk from nineteen to the dozen. Even though at times it is tough not to break into a smile when the aforementioned films are hailed as classics no less, you do go with the flow since these are the men who have been heard much lesser when compared to Mehra, Chopra, Hirani or Murugadoss.
Moreover, one can't help but find certain factual errors in the film. Though Rangeela is termed as Ram Gopal Varma's second Hindi film after Raat, his classic Shiva as well as lesser known Drohi are forgotten. Moreover, while Aamir's quote from the past around the 'much risky' train sequence in Ghulam is revisited, the fact has now been out in open for long that it was actually a VFX created sequence.
Still, beyond a point though one asks the question – 'What next?' Where exactly is the book headed towards? Will it continue in the same mode from start till the end? Won't there be something more meaty and spicy to dig your teeth on? Does it suffice to basically relish Aamir's journey from the past when the man himself has declared umpteen times that he likes to look into future than marvel on past glories? Won't it be a far more productive exercise to actually get deeper into the man's mind (since he and his voice isn't available for the book) and try to understand a little better about the risks that he took and their mitigation?
Alas, none of that happens due to which, beyond a very good look, layout and presentation of the book, one isn't overtly enthused about the content that has been offered. Frankly, the man who is finding a legendary status for himself in Bollywood, especially during last few years, deserved a better tribute. May be, when he actually decides to pen a biography or entrusts someone to do a firsthand account of his autobiography, the results would be better.
Price: Rs. 495
Rating: * * 1/2