A Bollywood Night To Remember with Actor & Director Farhan Akhtar
He is the son of the well-known Javed Akhtar, brother of the director Zoya Akhtar; he is an actor, director, producer, screenwriter, poet, host, comedian and well what else is left to say? Farhan Akhtar has sparked a wide spread of changes in the Indian Film Cinema with his work ethic and his love for the cinema. He has not only delivered some spectacular movies like Dil Chahta Hai, but he also has director one of the most iconic original movies from 1978 titled Don, the remake was modernised by his vision to target todays generation.
Farhan visit London for a star to an audience conversation at the London Indian Film Festival where he shared some light on the films and his life that revolves around Bollywood cinema.
On his early life Farhan recalls, ‘The first job that I had was not because I wanted to work, I had to do it. I found myself a job, working as an assistant director. I was giving clap (clapperboard) and being on set I enjoyed that process’.
Pre-Dil Chahta Hai ‘I moved on to advertising and that is really where I learned a lot of what I used in Dil Chahta Hai’. Farhan went on to notify that it was his guru who initially recognised his ability to write and that is how he focused on scripting a masterpiece that he did, of course Dil Chahta Hai went on to be something fresh and unique and very young. It is a film that now to some extent is compare to another film, which Farhan crafted his talent in to titled Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, a film that his sister Zoya Akhtar directed.
Why Don? ‘It stayed with me that film and I felt it would be great to translated and to bring to a newer younger audience with Shahrukh who I think has the personality to pull such role off’. A film at first was a much spoken about as Amitabh Bachchan gave a performance that was loved by all. But then Farhan’s efforts on remaking such film was questioned by many fans and especially those who experience the original film release in their time. But doubts were erased as Farhan maintains that gangster character within Shahrukh, no only succeeding with Don but also directing the next instalment of this franchise that impressed.
Managing acting and producing ‘In all honesty the production burden and pressure is handled by Ritesh, my involved as the producer is to say this is the film we should be making’.
Moving on away from Directing? ‘No I would definitely would like to direct again, by far I think it is my first love’.
On Rock On movie ‘The director Abhishek Kapoor met me in a bar, he said when you speak in interviews, your voice is the type I am looking to use for my film. We recorded our track and that was that. Singing was very essential in with this performance. That is how it came together, a wonderful experience’.
How acting took off to new heights for Farhan ‘I worked on a film called Luck By Chance which was by Zoya. She wrote it in 2002 and filmed it in 2009, but the issue was that we were struggling to find somebody to play the lead for it. After Rock On I felt really good about the acting process so I said I will play that part, then came Karthik Calling Karthik and so on’. When we finished Luck By Chance, it was a huge cast involved. She was done with it, she was very tired working with so many actors. She was like the next film that I do I just want 3 boys in a car. Then she went off and wrote it with Reema. It probably is the most fun shoot I have ever done in my working career so far’.
Relationship with Zoya the sister, ‘No not anymore, there used to be a time where we would fight a lot, we are a year and a half apart so there was always a jostle for space’.
Closest movie to his heart that he made ‘I think Dil Chahta Hai would have a special place, if it wasn’t for that film, I don’t know if I would be here at all’.
Detaching himself from one role to another ‘It was a hue process of getting in and eventually working that character out of my system. It’s not easy because you are living a life for that period of time. Bhaag Milkha Bhaag was roughly from 18-19 months of living like how Milkha Singh lived, of training like him, eating like him, looking like him. So every time for a year and a half if you’re looking at yourself in the mirror and seeing this one person and suddenly one day you go and shave, you feel so kind of removed from what your reality was for all this time’.
The London Indian Film Festival made this event well money worth as Farhan Akhtar stopped at no lengths to turn this night in to one not to forget. The whole event was fully packed with unlimited laughter throughout. The audience were gifted with an acapella version sung by Farhan of the title track Rock On in which the crowd were told to be involved. Not only that, Farhan also recited a poem from Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. Certainly a night not to forget, not very often you get to see a creative genius take a centre stage and be heavily involved with the audience as well as share every little part of him or her, from his personal life to his filmmaking life and the fame lifestyle. The honesty and inspiration was there for audiences to take back home with them. After the standing ovation for Farhan, it was time to take leave, only to reminisce on what a great night it has been.