Posts Tagged ‘Shah Rukh Khan’

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW OF FARHAN AKHTAR BY KABERI D. CHATTERJEE
FROM CANADA FOR THE SOUTH ASIAN NEWS, CANADA

He directs, writes scripts, produces, acts, sings, dances and writes poetry. With that powerhouse of talent, he is increasingly getting compared to the other genius multi-talented persona of Indian cinema, Kishore Kumar. “It’s just one life,” he says. “It’s totally fine to not have to do just one thing for your entire life, if you can do different things which you are passionate about. You can follow those dreams and hopefully, even do well at them.” With Wazir soaring to the box-office ceiling and his cult film, Rock On! 2 coming up, he is increasingly being recognized as the most cerebral actor Bollywood has ever produced. Kaberi Dutta Chatterjee had a long-distance mid-night chat with the actor-director-musician-singer-poet-producer-scriptwriter, Farhan Akhtar.

 

Farhan-Akhtar

Farhan Akhtar needs no introduction. The IMDB website states in his profile that he worked as a cameraman in Yash Chopra’s Lamhe in 1991 and then in 1997 as assistant director for a strange film, Himalaya Putra.
With such a humble beginning, you’d hardly think this is the son of the famous lyricist Javed Akhtar and scriptwriter, Honey Irani. Javedji’s work as dialogue writer in Sholay and Deewar have set the benchmark for dialogues in the Hindi film industry.

After this inconspicuous start, Farhan arrived in Bollywood in style with his baby project, Dil Chahta Hai, which he wrote and directed and which is still thought to be one of the cult movies of Indian cinema.
There was no looking back for him after that as he soar to new heights with acting, singing and producing skills in Rock On! and directing iconic films like Lakshya, Don, (with Shah Rukh Khan) and Don 2. He acted in several noteworthy films, like Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, Luck By Chance and Karthik Calling Karthik, the latest being Wazir, where he plays an army protagonist in tandem with the legendary, Amitabh Bachchan. His upcoming film, Rock On!2, written by the same writer of Rock On, Pubali Chaudhuri, and directed by Abhishek Kapoor, has the country waiting in baited breath for another rock musical to hit the mass.

I was just lucky to catch the very busy persona as he had just completed the shooting of Rock On!2. Speaking to the actor-director-producer-singer at midnight (morning in Mumbai) was the most thrilling experience for me. He came across as a thorough gentleman, polite, patient with the questions and my excitement in talking to him, as not just a journalist, but also as a huge fan and admirer.

You direct, you sing, you write poetry, you dance, you write screenplays and you act with such intensity that you make each character etched in viewer’s minds and in the history of Indian cinema. Playing which role is most fulfilling to you? Which action makes you the happiest?

Farhan: You know, it’s quite an impossible question to answer. It’s all about (more…)

IIFA Awards 2011 (Pic taken from TV direct telecast)

Toronto had been sizzling this weekend, and it’s not the heat. (In fact, it’s been rather cloudy these days.) The fact that Bollywood had descended here for the IIFA Awards on Saturday had raised the temperature to a considerable degree. Not only were the Canadian news channel hosts beaming from ear-to-ear whenever they brought up the topic of Bollywood — calling it the Indian ‘Academy’ awards — every Canadian channel battled against each other to hold some kind of debate about Bollywood and its surging impact on the world. So much that, at some point I wondered… was I in Canada or in India? I have never seen Canada ever being so euphoric even about its own ice-hockey match!

On this glitzy Saturday, conversely, a humble Anti-Corruption March was organized by some conscious NRIs near the awards venue, a while before the gaudy ceremony sparked off. Vis-a-vis this stench of wealth that almost oozed out of the NRIs’ pockets, this campaign became rather an attempt to bemuse wealthy Indians who were thronging the Rogers Center primarily for a pompous Saturday night-out.

Their sprightly walk was interrupted as they were offered pamphlets and leaflets, organizers asking them to join the awareness against corruption in India. Some gracefully acknowledged the pamphlets with their manicured hands, and dropped them in the nearest bin; some looked shocked that India, at all, has ‘corruption’, and a few read the message curiously… stopping on their lofty-heeled tracks! On the whole, this rally had managed to distract the NRIs and bring a curious diversion to the spectacle. They were neither remotely aware of India being corrupt or poor, nor did they want to be aware.

I was a part of the humble walk and after a point, wondered what I was there for. I gaped at NRIs stepping off their Cadillacs and Limousines and striding into the ceremony on their Prada heels and Chanel suits (or am I dated?). Their world, I guess, began with designer clothes and ended — luckily for India — with Bollywood. Foreigners, I repeat, foreigners (read Canadians) sold tickets in ‘black’ outside the center for $200! They shouted: “Bollywood tickets, Indian film tickets”, fully understanding the meaning and impact.

Amid this gargantuan fervor, the anti-corruption campaign trickled from being rather diminutive in appearance to vanishing altogether, when the squeals intensified around. I found some of the rally-participants leaning over the barricades to get a glimpse of the stars… their objective, let’s say in these ‘Harry Potter’ days — obliterated!

Canadian weekends are usually boring. Grocery, cleaning, washing and cooking and courteous calls to their next prolific acquaintances take up the weekends. Next to that, this kind of grandeur came to them rather as a stupefying shock. As I waited to get back home from the rally, I watched the Canadians sipping tea, leaning on their glass balconies near the venue, watching the furor below.

When I called up my phone company to subscribe to the channel which was telecasting the ceremony live, the lady said: “I must write down this channel number… there has been so many calls!” The airport too, on Saturday, evidently was more vacant than usual.

Not only the Indians, I think at least a quarter of the spectators at the ceremony were Canadians. Some of them even ‘coiled’ Satya Paul sarees around themselves. Of course, the show was repugnant as usual, with the stars making fool of themselves in foreign soil.

Hollywood stars like Cuba Gooding Jr pranced with Bipasa Basu on stage and expressed a wish to act in Bollywood films. Brett Lee is already in one, you must be knowing, and Hillary Swank came on stage to distribute awards.

So, say what you must about ‘running-around-trees’ Mr Russell Peters, the tsunami called Bollywood has arrived. NRIs may not be aware that India is still drowned in poverty and corruption, but the ‘matkas’ and ‘jhatkas’ are ready to give Hollywood a run for its dollars! 🙂

DLF, IPL, EPL, HCL, NaCL, Sodium Sulphate… Oh never mind! I am just back from Mars!

Right! If you had not been hiding under the bed wearing earplugs and chanting ‘Ommmmm….’ over the last 6 months, you would know what the above gibberish means. You wouldn’t be so aghast to see the kind of sensation, sensuality or spectacle on a cricket field like I am. And to top it all, even cricket was being played.

Not that cricket ever made any sense to me anyway. The game is fine… I mean I know it involves a ball, two batsmen and eleven fielders…  But I am clueless about the fanaticism that is associated with it. A player hit a six, not me. The players were winning, not me. The players were raking in millions. NOT ME!

Then what is it that creates such mass hysteria? It never happens with hockey, football, tennis, boxing, chess (we do have a reason or two to boast about) or even with Olympics. Catch a guy on the road and ask him to name ONE Olympics ’08 participant. He won’t know. I don’t know. Maybe our sports editor will know.

But that guy will know how much is SRK’s Kolkata stake or why Preity bid for Mohali. Or what made Bhajji slap Sreeshant?

Why does Bhajji slap people anyway? He slaps them left-right-and-center. With his words and hands.

But I like that guy. He calls a spade a spade. In this fishy age of fear and diplomacy, I hold him solely responsible for being the most forthright celebrity at sight. Remember how he supported Dada at his worst times? Hey! I don’t even know whether the guy bowls or bats or fields, but he’s one cheeky rebel. Wow to trick the BCCI (J..K..L…whatever…), one needs beefy moral fiber. So who cares, we all are wrong. But we are all busy hiding facts to save our skins. And scratching our chins to cook up the next tactful way to handle the situation. We are all so proud of possessing diplomacy.

Talking of diplomacy, SRK’s silence takes the cake. Not that he’s silent about the game. Wow! You should look at him screaming! But his silence speaks. His silence spoke when Eden was drenched in darkness a fortnight back. His silence spoke when a fan of his fell of the stands trying to get closer to him. Like someone had said decades back about a gang rape in Bantala: Ei rakam to kato ghotonai hoi… (These things happen…)

SRK’s silece is so loud… maybe he should speak more often. “Kkkkkk… Kolkata…” But hat’s off to this boy-next-door who made it alone in this world. (I always site his example to my son). I think Shah Rukh Khan is cooking Kolkata with his heat. Only Didi (Mamata Banerjee) can draw this kind of crowd. SRK draws crowd and hysteria. Sorry Dada, even you are in the extra covers. SRK’s hitting the sixes from the stands, can’t you see? Srk’s batting. SRK’s fielding. SRK’s bowling googly. SRK’s winning. All lenses are focused on the stands. It’s celluloid that’s the bottom line and ‘top line’.

Ooops! Ask the cheerleaders!

(This article was written when the first IPL fever had gripped the world and Indians were walking, talking, eating, sleeping cricket and celluloid… a deadly combination. This was published in the Opinion page in Hindustan Times, May 1, 2008)