Farhan Akhtar on Toofaan, trolls, his favourite Salim-javid movie and more

Farhan Akhtar is hoping to give viewers an intelligen­t sporting drama, one that will get people talking. We sit down with the Bollywood powerhouse to discuss everything from aging to boxing, movies, and more

- By Sarakshi Rai

Toofan has seen huge delays because of the ongoing pandemic, was it a tough call to make to delay the release of the film?

Honestly it wasn’t a difficult decision to delay the release. When you make a film and when you’re getting it out for people to see, you have to go out there with the mid-summer cheer and with some positivity, and hopefully people get infected by that. But the situation around us was just absolutely not. It just wasn’t the right time, there was so much grief, so much pain, so much anguish, in the midst of all of that to come out and be like, ‘Hey, come here and watch my movie’, it felt insensitiv­e. So it was actually a really easy decision to just wait and use social platforms and use whatever we have to try and help people as much as we can in organizing medical aid, oxygen, whatever we could do for them.

Why release now?

There seems to be a change in how people are feeling, there’s a sense of optimism and of hope that’s coming back in. The vaccine drive is getting stronger. There seems to be some light now at the end of this tunnel with things we watched, like the Wimbledon just now, the stands were packed. We saw the Euros. So all that starts instilling you with some hope that things are going to start getting better and feel more normal.

You’ve spoken in detail about how you trained for this film. We’ve seen your physical transforma­tions in your past movies as well - Bhaag Milkha Bhaag... How important is the physical aspect of being an actor?

The performanc­e demands it. Building your body, looking fit, and then pretending to box, is one thing but that’s not the way I like to approach things. Anything that I do, whether it was rekindling my love for playing music for Rock On, or absolutely dedicating myself to being a runner in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. I know that people who are connected to the boxing world will see the film, and what I’m doing here represents them. I don’t want them to think that someone who’s representi­ng them has taken a shortcut.

Do you think it brings a certain authentici­ty to the role?

When I watch a film and if I see sincerity and honesty in an actor’s performanc­e and in their approach, then it makes the whole experience very tangible for me. It makes me believe them more because I know that they’ve really done what was required for this part and it makes it more believable. It makes them more relatable. It inspires me more.

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