Leh : "All is not well". This was how a concerned Aamir Khan reacted on Wednesday on seeing the condition of The Druk White Lotus School where the Bollywood star shot for his super hit '3 Idiots', tweaking the film's popular punch dialogue "All is well" to reflect the ground situation.
The school which was damaged in the devastating cloudburst nearly two weeks back shot into limelight after it was featured as Aamir aka Rancho's school in the film. 45-year-old Aamir has a very special attachment with the school, about 15 km from Leh on the Leh-Manali highway.
Aamir, who rushed here at the first available opportunity, visited the school which had incurred heavy infrastructure damage due to the cloudburst on the intervening night of August 5 and 6, and some other villages as far as 70 kms from the Leh town. Around 200 persons perished in the flash floods that followed the cloudburst.
Responding to the query if he would still say the famous dialogue from '3 Idiots' All is well Aamir said, "All is not well. But for the sake of humanity one should help others. One should raise the morale of others."
Aamir then recited lines from one the songs in the movie which was about saying all is well when life is out of control.
The school, which has about 800 students on its rolls, had shot to fame after Khan's character in '3 Idiots' Rancho, a brilliant engineering student, is shown as having started a school in Ladakh.
"Actually the school is not of Ranchos. It was set up by Fungsuk Wangado, the real name of the character that I was playing in the movie," Aamir said.
Dressed in blue denims and a white T-shirt, Aamir interacted with the students at the school and took a stock of the damage done, appealed to the people to donate freely to the Prime Minister s relief fund.
"It really pains me. I wish I had come in happier times," Aamir, who took the day long trip with 12th Gyalwang Druk Chen, the chief of the Drukpa sect of Buddhism, when asked how he felt visiting Leh post the disaster told PTI. "One part of the country is suffering and it our duty to help the people out. One should donate what ever one can within the best of his abilities to the Prime Minister s Relief Fund. The money for the rehabilitation is coming from that fund," Aamir said. No one from the Druk school was injured in the natural disaster.
The actor said he will also donate a specific sum "well within my means" to the PM Relief Fund but however did not disclose the exact sum.
He said he will also ask his Bollywood colleagues, once he goes back, to donate to the relief fund. "The film industry never shies away from helping out in national disasters."
The actor, who was literally the ambassador for the district, said he will also donate to the school because he has a personal connection to it as his movie was shot here though he himself was never filmed within the school premises.
He also appealed to people across the country to come and visit Leh which he said was like paradise .
"What has happened has happened. But things are being brought back to normal. Leh is mainly run by tourism and I would ask you not to drop plans of visiting this place because of cloudburst. Even if you are planning to make a trip later, please come to Leh," Aamir said.
The actor said by coming to Leh, one can help the people as economy here is mainly driven by tourism.
"I am very sad that about 200 lives have been lost and over 10,000 houses have been damaged. My sincere condolences to all those who lost their lives, he said.
Asked why no other unit members of the movie had come along with him, he said, "I spoke to Raju Hirani (Director). He could not come but has promised all help. Actually, I am the only one who is not shooting and hence am here."
Aamir who spent his time with his kids also had Shoib Ahmed, a class V student of Delhi Public School here, who played the young Aamir in the movie, to give him company.
Asked if he wanted to grow up and become an actor like Aamir, he said "No. I want to be a scientist."
Meanwhile, 12th Gyalwang Druk Chen also announced a immediate release of interim Rs 50 lakh for the relief and rehabilitation work in the district.
Aamir who attended prayer meetings in Egoo village, about 60 kms from Leh city, was seen swaying to the chants.
He was heard telling the 12th Gyalwang Druk Chen, "I was mesmerised by the chants." PTI