Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan says his new film Secret Superstar is a bigger film than the hit wrestling drama Dangal, which has continued smashing box-office records both in India and overseas more than nine months after its release.
In Singapore on Monday (Oct 2) to promote the upcoming film, he says: "While Dangal speaks to adults, with the message that we should treat our children equally whether they're a girl or a boy, Secret Superstar speaks to the youth of the world, and specifically the girl child.
"It's their story, through the story of a 14-year-old girl with dreams and aspirations. In that sense it's a bigger concept because it's her life and she's taking it in her hands."
In Secret Superstar, the actor reunites with his Dangal co-star Zaira Wasim, who plays Insia, a young girl from a conservative family who aspires to be a world-renowned singer despite many obstacles. Khan, 52, plays an obnoxious music director from Mumbai who is a part of her music career.
He says that it is difficult to compare Secret Superstar and Dangal, especially in terms of box-office potential. Dangal is based on the true story of wrestling coach Mahavir Singh Phogat (played by Khan) who raises his two daughters from the village to become champion wrestlers. The film took in earnings of US$200 million (S$272 million) in China, making it one of the country's 20 highest-grossing films of all time.
Khan says: "In Dangal, you have me in the lead, an established star with so many years (behind me), but in Secret Superstar, Zaira is an upcoming actor in the lead, so it would be unfair to put that kind of pressure on her."
The actor, who is also holding a fan meet called In Conversation With Aamir Khan at the Marina Bay Sands MasterCard Theatres on Monday night, reveals that he started working on Secret Superstar immediately after he finished shooting Dangal.
In the new movie, his character Shakti Kumar sports tight T-shirts and flirts with women, which Khan says was a challenge for him to play. "The tough part was getting into the character of a person who thinks in a way which is very alien to how I think," he says, adding that he depended a lot on what writer-director Advait Chandan had written in the script to embody the character.
"But I really enjoyed playing him -- getting to be rude, full of myself and have full licence to do it," he quips.
Secret Superstar will be released in cinemas on Oct 19.