Talented director Farhan Akhtar has completed Rock On, his first full-fledged film as an actor. He is now on to his second film, which is being directed by his sister Zoya, and says he takes her seriously on the sets of Luck By Chance.
"It's imperative for me to take my director very seriously even if she is my sister. When I'm on the sets with Zoya, I do see her as my sister. But I also see her as my director. I can't separate the two," Farhan said.
Right now, the man behind movies like Dil Chahta Hai and Lakshya is building six-pack abs for Zoya's film.
"I'm undergoing all-round training. You see I play a struggler trying to get into Bollywood in Luck By Chance. I hope to be a very convincing struggler. All of us have to struggle. At the end of the day, actors, even directors-turned-actors, have to act."
Although Saif Ali Khan has opted out of Farhan's next venture, he is all set to roll it out in October this year.
"Yes, Saif is not working in Voice From The Sky any more. The chase begins all over again. But we are starting in October. But some key actors are still to be cast. It'll take me a month more to get the cast in place."
Excerpts from an interview:
Am I speaking to Farhan Akhtar the actor?
At the moment, it looks like it. I just completed Gattu [Abhishek] Kapoor's film. And now I'm working on my sister Zoya's film. I'm enjoying every minute of it.
I heard you're building your six abs for Zoya's film?
[Laughed] Actually, I'm undergoing all-round training. You see, I play a struggler trying to get into Bollywood in Luck By Chance. I'm being trained by Cheetah Yagneesh, who's been a part of the film industry for a long time and has even directed a couple of films. He trains actors to become a part of the film industry. And since I play a Bollywood struggler, I've hired his services to make me look convincing. He'll appear on the screen along with me as my trainer.
Build your muscles and all?
No just the action, weapon training, hand-to-hand combat, etc. That portion of the film is over. I did a couple of sessions with him before facing the camera. I realised it isn't easy to be a struggler. It looks easy from the outside, but once you get down to doing it, it's a very demanding kind of discipline.
How convincing will you look as a struggler?
I hope to be a very convincing struggler. All of us have to struggle. At the end of the day actors, even directors-turned-actors have to act.
You play an aspiring singer, then aspiring actor. Both dreamers.…
Right. In Rock On I think my character has a relatively easier time realising his dreams. I've a lot of friends who are musicians and they have been able to remain focused on their music. They've a no-nonsense approach to their life and dreams. No politics, no games, no mind games, no distractions. With an aspiring actor, the dynamics change. There're so many wheels within wheels and so many levels of politics in the film industry. Basically, there's a core of innocence to being a musician that's denied to an actor.
Being a star wasn't easy even for the actors of yesteryears.
I am sure it wasn't easy for Mr Amitabh Bachchan or Shah Rukh Khan. People think it's easier for star-sons. Not really. People are waiting with knives and swords to judge them. So that's the world I enter in Zoya's film.
In Rock On, my character's world is all about his dreams. Not so in Luck By Chance. There're lots more psychological layers to my character here, more stress to deal with.
How is it being directed by Zoya?
To begin with, I'm extremely happy and proud that she's finally directing a film. She's very sure of what she wants. She's a lot clearer about what she wants from me as an actor than I am. I'm working to understand her interpretation of my character to be able to play the guy in a way that I understand him. Fortunately, I'm quite disciplined as an actor. It's imperative for me to take my director very seriously even if she is my sister. When I'm on the sets with Zoya, I do see her as my sister. But I also see her as my director. I can't separate the two.
In Hollywood, there's Gary Marshall and his sister Penny Marshall making films. But she has never directed him?
Is that so? I've no idea.
How's it working with Konkona Sen [Sharma]?
She's so easy going. And you don't get a feeling that she knows how incredibly talented she is. Zoya couldn't have asked for more.
Do you have a romantic interest with Konkona?
Yeah, there's a so-called love angle between us–so-called because the relationship is not easy to define.
And what about Prachi Desai, your co-star in Rock On?
She is very sincere. She's a big TV star, but willing to learn on the new medium. Very focused about what she does. I think Gattu cast her really well. I watched the film's first cut and Prachi's character works superbly.
When is the music coming out?
It'll be out in July. I've sung five songs in Rock On. It's mainly rock sounds in Hindi. Whoever has heard them, loves them. Fortunately, I had this amazingly talented composer called Shankar Mahadevan standing on the other side of the glass partition when I recorded my songs. He is an extremely talented singer. He wouldn't allow me to sing wrongly nor would he say, 'Oh-ho sounding great' when it was not. The minute Shankar was happy I knew I was fine.
Finally, your directorial undertaking–where does Voice From The Sky stand?
We're still starting in October. But some key actors are still to be cast. It'll take me a month more to get the cast in place.
Saif Ali Khan has decided to opt out?
Yes, Saif is not working in Voice From The Sky any more. The chase begins all over again.