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