Star Power

Sumit Dayal for TIME

Portrait of Aamir Khan at his residence in Pali Hills, Mumbai, June 8, 2012

Indians of my generation can pinpoint the precise moment that Aamir Khan became a movie star. It's the scene in the 1988 blockbuster hit Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (From Resurrection to Resurrection) when Khan's character, Raj, in a bouffant hairdo, skinny black tie and open waistcoat, straps on an electric guitar and launches into his first song: "Papa kehte hain bada naam karegaa" (Dad says I'm going to make a name for myself, but nobody knows where I'm going). The lyrics, the look and the attitude captured both the aplomb and anxiety of youth, and the fun-loving, fresh-faced actor...

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