The 10 Best Aamir Khan Movies of All Time

A self-deprecating smile plays tentatively on hesitant lips as if he’s not sure of himself. The calm face eschews all distracting mannerisms during his forceful dialogue delivery. The steady, guileless gaze melts female hearts just as easily as it strikes terror into a villain’s chest.

Tom Hanks? No, Aamir — one of the three Khans who have straddled India’s film industry for almost three decades. At last count, Aamir Khan’s films had grossed over 1,450 crore rupees (almost a quarter billion US dollars) in Indian box office revenues. Here’s a look at his top 10 movies ranked by earnings.

1. Dangal

This contemporary biopic about India’s most beloved female wrestling star broke all box office records in 2016 despite stringent spending cuts imposed by an untimely cash ban by the government. Aamir’s devotion to the project became an obsession during which he learned a dialect, put on 57 pounds in six months and learned wrestling.

2. PK

We loved E.T. and Starman in the U.S. during the 1980’s and this fascination with benign extraterrestrial beings finally landed in India in 2014 with PK that broke all records at the country’s box office and even now stands as the 3rd highest-grossing Indian film of all time.

3. Dhoom 3

The third installment in a series, this bank robbery caper was the first Indian film released in the IMAX format and hyped as the most expensive Indian film to date. With Aamir as the antagonist, the film was the highest grosser of all time in India within 10 days of its release in December 2013.

4. 3 Idiots

Think out of the box. It was 2009. Everyone was making movies featuring romance, action, horror, politics, sports, comedy, drama, crime, mystery or what have you. “3 Idiots” was a refreshing surprise that broke all moviegoers’ pre-conceived notions and quickly became — what else, the biggest ever box office hit of India.

5. Ghajini

The movie that inspired a video game, this 2008 crime thriller’s twists and turns were made believable by the hero’s affliction with anterograde amnesia. As Aamir’s movies usually do, it too broke all previous box office records only to be overtaken by his “3 Idiots” a year later.

6. Talaash

Released in 2012, this star-studded psycho-supernatural thriller featured messages from the dead, a medium, a pimp, a hooker… you get the idea. Aamir, perfectionist sans pareil, spent three months learning to swim for a crucial scene.

7. Taare Zameen Par

Translating as Stars On The Earth, this 2007 release dealt with an 8-year old’s struggles at home and in a boarding school, caused by unrecognized dyslexia. When Disney released its DVD globally, it became the first Indian film to be purchased for distribution overseas.

8. Fanaa

To portray a man caught in a maelstrom of ideology, ethics, morality and loyalty is not an easy challenge for an actor to undertake, but Aamir pulled it off with his customary aplomb. The film’s success was also ensured by his co-star, the inimitable Kajol, whom the fans had missed for more than five years after her temporary retirement.

9. Rang De Basanti

Five ordinary young men (selected to play freedom fighters under British rule by a filmmaker) get inspired to emulate their historic heroes. Corruption and anarchy within India’s government replace British tyranny as the enemy they must all die fighting. Top grosser in India for 2006.

10. Raja Hindustani

A typical but well-executed Indian potboiler that established Aamir Khan as a commercial success, was the top grosser of 1996 in India. Rich girl, poor boy, evil stepmother, pride, prejudice and a few misunderstandings, but all gets straightened out in the end.