"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 the cloudburst. Even if you are planning to make a trip later, please come to Leh." This was how Aamir Khan reacted today on seeing the condition of The Druk White Lotus School where the film star shot for his superhit 3 Idiots, tweaking the film's popular dialogue "Aal izz well" to reflect the ground situation.
The school, which was damaged in the devastating cloudburst nearly two weeks ago, shot into the limelight after it was featured as Khan's character Rancho's school in the film. Khan, 45, has a special attachment with the school, about 15km from Leh on the Leh-Manali highway.
Khan, who rushed here at the first available opportunity, visited the school which suffered heavy damage owing to the cloudburst on the intervening night of August 5 and 6, and some other villages as far as 70km from Leh town.Asked if he would repeat the famous dialogue from 3 Idiots, "Aal izz well", Khan said, "All is not well. But for the sake of humanity one should help others. One should raise the morale of others."
The school, which has about 800 students on its rolls, had shot to fame after Khan's character in 3 Idiots, Ranchhoddas Shyamaldas Chanchad, a brilliant engineering student, is shown as having started a school in Ladakh.
"Actually the school is not Rancho's. It was set up by Fungsuk Wangdo, the real name of the character that I was playing in the film," Khan said.
"One part of the country is suffering and it is our duty to help the people out," he said. "One should donate whatever one can within the best of his abilities .
The actor said he, too, will donate a sum "well within my means" to the fund but did not disclose the exact amount.He said he will also ask his Hindi film industry colleagues, once he goes back to Mumbai, to donate to the relief fund. "The film industry never shies away from helping out in national disasters," he said.
The actor, who was almost the ambassador for the district, said he will also donate to the school because he has a personal connection to it as his film was shot there though he himself never filmed in its premises.
He also appealed to people across the country to come and visit Leh which, he said, was like “paradise”.