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Few men hold the charisma to lighten up a dark room by their mere presence. Award shows fail to move him even an inch. He doesn’t need to get clicked next to pout-making beauties to tell he’s very much around. Social media isn’t a necessary strength. How can it ever be, for the man has often remained so incessantly driven to march on for meaningful social causes that lack superficiality?

He didn’t need to run around trees. Nor did he have to wear red sweaters on white velvety trousers going all hunky dory in Switzerland.

He’s stayed at sufficient distance from shenanigans – so much of the contemporary culture’s buzzword for stardom- and preferred instead to put his attentive focus on narrating moving stories. That is how fitting tales like Secret Superstar are born.

Even if it means this grandiose figure of immense humility- our very own Tom Hanks of Bollywood- kept himself tugged subtly in the sidelines, content in handing a young actor the crux of the story. Yet he didn’t allow the brooding star to be burdened and shouldered the challenge through that effervescent wit.

In Aamir Khan’s world- where mediocrity cannot be spelled- it is that natural incandescence that keeps him in business but ever through a respectable body of work.

Truth be told, watching Khan’s films for close to two and half decades has been an exercise in self-education. It’s entertainment minus the cheekiness and boisterousness; the kind of stuff showbiz glitter thrives on.

When he doesn’t act in a film like Dhobi Ghat, he chooses to produce it. When he doesn’t have any role whatsoever to play in a film like Peepli Live, he chooses to put his creative energies to focus on taking the film to a pan-India viewership.

A sedate charisma on the screen and a figure of immense humility off it, Aamir Khan at 53 is going strong. We are thankful, in fact, grateful that through Khan’s epic body of work we’ve walked through several emotional rollercoaster rides of life, bettered so many turnstiles.

It is incredible how well and frequently does the man willingly undergo enormous processes of self-development? You feel you grow with Aamir as he goes from being a clueless but affable alien to being a visitor content having been on earth. He mocked at the world’s funny ways but didn’t lament or throw an insult.

You feel the pain as he suffers in Sarfarosh and enjoys his self-deprecatory humor in Rang De Basanti. Aamir’s movies are far more involving at a personal as well textural level.

You instantly identify with the art teacher in Taare Zameen Par; it’s like being reminded of the great virtue called compassion in times mired by greed and self-involvement. At the same time, he leaves you gutted, somewhat flummoxed and withdrawn at the same time in complex characters like Talaash.

Good actors act well the part thrown at them. Great actors become the part expected of them.

Aamir Khan- intelligent, outspoken, elegantly understated, witty, somewhat withdrawn all at the same time- is the latter.

In an age where his contemporaries are either bathing in the afterglow of big-budget blockbusters or the hoopla from generating millions of social media fan- Aamir is going from one project to another unfazed by what’s happening around them.

It speaks well of a man who seems content in either case- whether an enormously interesting Talaash fails to fire at the box office or a PK breaks boundaries that even cinema fails to reduce.

Yet all these times, we often forget that Aamir’s quintessential versatility stems from his innate goodness. Yes, it’s a very Tom Hanks- kind of genuineness that forms a mushrooming cloud whilst a lot of our world is besieged by darkness, morphed by duplicity.

Aamir Khan seems like the guy who wouldn’t mind traveling in an auto.

He doesn’t make news when he buys a fancy car, the sort of guy who would enter the Bandra Gymkhana and willingly play a set of chess with young minds. He could be found taking a stroll by the beach holding a book in hand, chewing gum instead of wearing a sterling blazer entering a premium eatery in Versova.

How often has simplicity shone so brightly on a Bollywood A-lister as in the case of Bollywood’s Mr. Dependable?

It was heartening to find Aamir shaking a leg, breaking into some bhangra moves at China when Dangal created quite a storm. Yet, he happens to be the guy who would help your mummy in a retail store, giving her a hand in picking up some packets.

But that told, Khan seldom attempts to wrestle with others in the Dangal called Indian film industry. Few seem as happy working as Aamir does. He’s been there, done that and not done yet. Stylishly simple and simply stylish, Aamir doesn’t need to be a trendsetter for he’s been there a decade and a half back when he gave college going gangly youth reasons to sport a goatee in Dil Chahta Hai.

There can not be a bigger claim to Aamir’s cult-status than suggesting that at a time where two of his famous contemporaries went by megalomaniacal nicknames- Salman being the shirtless Khan, Shah Rukh is the King, Aamir wasn’t anointed one. For quite simply, he didn’t need a nickname.

Just the initials are enough. Aamir Khan; a body of work constantly in progress and a tireless actor unsullied by a world that’s driven by hype.

Happy 53rd Mr. Khan.