Farhan Akhtar recently visited London to attend a Screen Talk that took place in the BFI Southbank. The Event was the 5th London Indian Film Festival 2014. There, he talked about his life and how he ended up in the Indian film Industry, famously known as Bollywood.


Farhan Akthar

Farhan Akthar

Farhan Akhtar very openly said that he was studying the course of Commerce, and because of having a lack of interest in it, he would bunk the classes and go watch movies in a cinema called ‘New Talkies’. Because of having very low attendance he was kicked out of the college. His mother, Honey Irani, herself a Screenwriter, Actor and a Director, made him get a job and he ended up being an Assistant Director to the Director Pankaj Parajar. According to him, he says that he became what at that time was called a ninth assistant director, getting orders and getting to clap the clapperboard.


His second job was in an Advertising Script Shop. That is from where he got his idea for the movie ‘Dil Chahta Hai’, which was his Directorial Debut. He started to work on this film ever since he got into the advertising business. This film had sudden changes in scenes and the mood in them. At one time it would be a comedy scene which would suddenly change into a very serious scene. This aspect of the film is what Farhan Akhtar brought out the most. He said that in particular the character of ‘Akash’ was an inspiration from a real person, who lived his life in a very different way. He always liked something for which he was criticised. The reality of cast, creed and race was a major setback for that man, and thus Farhan brought that man into life on the big screen in the character of ‘Akash’.


‘Don’ starring India’s Super Star Sharhrukh Khan, was another film which Farhan Akhtar got to direct and produce. He said that he loved the original film made in 1978 starring Amitabh Bachan, which was co-written by his father Javed Akhtar. The character of Don for him was something that stuck with him. In the original, Don says in the end of the movie that ‘It is not only difficult to catch Don, but it is impossible’, and after fifteen minutes he dies. This is what Farhan wanted to change and thus he kept Don alive in the remake of the original.

luck_by_chance1After directing a few movies, he also worked as an actor. His Acting Debut came in the film ‘Rock On!’, based on a rock band and rock music. He also got to act in his sister Zoya Akhtar’s film ‘Luck By Chance’.  This was a film which Farhan says his sister had always wanted to make, and thus he succeeded in producing it for her. After the success of this film, Farhan told about his sister’s desire to make another film which would be on three men and a car. Thus came the film ‘Zindagi Na Milay Gi Dubara’.  Not only did Farhan produce this film for the second time for his sister, but he also got to act in it.  For him he said that this was the most fun shoot ever as the characters journey from India to Spain, Egypt and UK.


The film for which he got the main spot light, was an autobiographical film based on an Indian Sikh runner, Milkha singh. ‘Bhag Milkha Bhag’ got him the lead role for which he had to go through rigorous training in order to get the right physique of an athlete. In one of the songs which were included in the film, Farhan said that other than him, there were only two actors, the rest of the men dancing around were actual cadets. For bringing the role of Milkha Singh into life and to do justice with it, Farhan actually met with the real Milkha Singh and got to know him very closely. Farhan himself said that he needed to do that so that the character he was portraying on the film was not different than the real Milkha Singh. This filmed bagged many major Indian film Awards.


For Farhan Akhtar, Directing is his first love and he had desired the wish to once again direct someday. The Screen Talk with Farhan Akhtar was very interesting. The hall was completely full and along with the Talking done with Farhan, a few of his film clips were also shown. In the end, a clip from the film ‘Bhag Milkha Bhag’ was shown, which more than him, focused on his physique that he made. There were a few oohs and aahs from the female audience members, but hey! That’ what Farhan Akhtar is all about.

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