As Farhan Akhtar com­pletes eight years as an ac­tor in Bol­ly­wood, he says he is look­ing for­ward to don­ning the di­rec­tor’s hat soon

HT Cafe - - Front Page - Prashant Singh prashant.singh@hin­dus­tan­times.com

Farhan Akhtar made his act­ing de­but with Rock On!! eight years back. He says he has “great mem­o­ries of all the films” he has acted in. “The films made me un­der­stand act­ing as a craft. I also feel for­tu­nate to have worked with some good di­rec­tors. So, it has been a great jour­ney so far. I have no com­plaints,” says Farhan, as he talks about his ca­reer so far, why he loves di­rec­tion, and more. Has your jour­ney as an ac­tor been sat­is­fy­ing? There is al­ways scope for more. We should en­joy ev­ery­thing we do. Of course, suc­cess must be en­joyed, but we must learn from our fail­ures as well. The fact is that you have to keep rein­vent­ing your­self, and look for­ward to the next thing that you can get in­spired by. That is one of the most im­por­tant things in a cre­ative field. I had never imag­ined that I would win a Best Ac­tor tro­phy some­day. I will al­ways cher­ish some­thing like that, and hope­fully, I can re­peat it with another per­for­mance. But [with ev­ery film you act in] you have to put your­self in a new place, where you can chal­lenge your­self, and some­how reach out to peo­ple again. You are an ac­claimed di­rec­tor too. What do you en­joy more — act­ing or di­rect­ing? Ev­ery­thing has its own chal­lenges. Di­rec­tion is more de­mand­ing than act­ing. It can also be very tax­ing, but so can be act­ing, as it can be emo­tion­ally de­mand­ing. So, it depends on how much you want to com­mit your­self to what you do, and how im­por­tant it is to you. Di­rec­tion is some­thing I have al­ways loved. Right now, I am in a place, where I am get­ting a lot of won­der­ful op­por­tu­ni­ties to work in films as an ac­tor. I am not sure if I will get the same of­fers 10 years down the line. So, I might as well give ev­ery­thing to this right now, in­stead of be­ing dis­tracted by think­ing, “Should I or shouldn’t I [take it up]?” So, I am just com­mit­ting my­self to it (act­ing), and do­ing it in the best way I can. Do you miss di­rect­ing? Be­ing a pro­ducer, and part­ner­ing closely with all the di­rec­tors that we work with, a part of me is kind of satisfied. A part of me gets its lit­tle fix by work­ing be­hind the scenes, on a script, on the edit, on mar­ket­ing plans, and ev­ery­thing else. So, that is con­stantly hap­pen­ing. But some­times, I do feel that I would like to go back on the sets, where I don’t re­ally have to worry about hair, makeup, wardrobe, etc, for my­self, but for some­one else. It is bound to hap­pen be­cause it is some­thing I love. So, it (di­rec­tion) will hap­pen again.

IYou have to keep rein­vent­ing your­self, and look for­ward to the next thing that you can get in­spired by. FARHAN AKHTAR, AC­TOR-FILM-MAKER

You have just fin­ished work­ing on the se­quel to Rock On!!. How was the ex­pe­ri­ence?

It was amaz­ing be­cause things were fa­mil­iar. It is like if you have lived in a house on rent for three years, then moved out, but if you go back to the same place af­ter eight years, you kind of know where ev­ery­thing is — from the switches to the fans. So, the ba­sic blue­print of the space that the film is set in re­mains the same. I was only try­ing to fa­mil­iarise my­self again with the same space, and the char­ac­ter, which had oc­cu­pied me emo­tion­ally at one point. And it all came back quickly be­cause Ar­jun (Ram­pal), Purab (Kohli), Prachi (De­sai) and Sha­hana (Goswami) were all there. All of us just came back, and bonded the same way we did eight years ago. Of course, we also have Shrad­dha (Kapoor) and Shashank (Arora), who have joined the cast and bring in the X-fac­tor.

You have said that this film at­tempts to bring forth pop­u­lar cul­ture of the north-east…

When we were work­ing on the script, I was clear that I wanted to shoot this film in the north-east­ern part of In­dia. That’s an area that has not been fea­tured very promi­nently in Hindi films. At that time, it was also in the news for all the wrong rea­sons with stu­dents get­ting beaten up in dif­fer­ent cities, and be­ing told to go to “their place”. This re­ally trou­bled me. I felt that it would be nice to have a main­stream movie shot in the north-east be­cause I gen­uinely feel that films have the power to unite peo­ple. It (cinema) makes peo­ple re­alise that we are all the same and we share com­mon con­cerns, am­bi­tions and as­pi­ra­tions.

A lot of fans are in­ter­ested in watch­ing Don 3...

(Laughs) No mat­ter what I tweet, whether it’s a happy birth­day mes­sage, con­do­lences to some­one, any in­for­ma­tion on my (musical) tour or that I am do­ing some­thing new, the first com­ment is, “When is Don 3 com­ing out?” It makes no dif­fer­ence to peo­ple, es­pe­cially a par­tic­u­lar so­cial me­dia group, whether I am happy or sad, since they are only in­ter­ested in Don 3. But let’s see how it goes and what hap­pens.

Cinema makes peo­ple re­alise that we are all the same and we share com­mon con­cerns. FARHAN AKHTAR, ACTORFILM-MAKER



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