Farhan Akhtar has been a busy man of late, performing with his band at the Shillong leg of NH7 Weekender and touring the country for the promotion of Rock On 2. In an interview, the actor-director-singer opens up about his role in the film, why he’s not worried about early mixed reviews for Rock On 2’s music and why he always speaks up on things that really matter to him:
What can you tell us about Rock On 2?
The film picks up seven years after the last one ended. A lot has changed. Joe (Arjun Rampal) has done really well for himself, KD (Purab Kohli) is now the only one who is fully committed to doing music. Adi (Akhtar) has left Mumbai and lives in Meghalaya. He is carrying guilt over something that happened in the last seven years. He has adopted a village in Meghalaya and is trying to empower the people through education and other initiatives. Music has taken a backseat in all their lives except KD’s. Then, they meet this girl, played by Shraddha Kapoor, who is a great talent. She is a wonderful singer and a wonderful keyboard player, but can’t find the resolve to go out there and put her music out. This, somehow, brings all the other characters back together. Their other purpose comes when something goes wrong with the setup that Adi has going on in the village.
The trailer of the film has just released. What is the feedback you are getting?
There is excitement about the film, we can sense that wherever we go. Now, we just hope that people watch it. No matter what we say or do, films end up speaking for themselves. They have a life entirely of their own. All we can do is be as honest as we can about what the film is and I think we have been pretty successful at that.
The feedback for the music is a little more mixed.
Yes, I do hear from the music company that the reviews are a little mixed, but that doesn’t worry me, to be honest. Usually, the music of a film is released six weeks early, but we released it almost 10 weeks early, because we knew that it is not the kind of music that flies off the shelves. It’s a different genre, you can’t play it at a party or nightclub; it’s more about the lyrics and mood.
In fact, the same thing had happened with the music of Rock On and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara.
I remember so clearly that, when the music for the first Rock On came out, it was panned. It really took off only when the film was released and people watched it and realised the role that the music played. In fact, I think that, now, people have forgotten the film, but they remember the music.
You’ve spoken about causes that are important to you, such as your campaign against sexual violence. Is it easy to take a stance, given what you do?
I don’t look at it as easy or difficult. I just see it as something that has to be done. If the issue is important to me, it’s also important for me to be vocal about it. This is especially so, given that in the film industry, we get a lot of attention when we say or do anything. We sometimes hate the attention and sometimes like it, but it is a result of what we do. So, why not use that privilege that we have and do something that’s beyond just entertainment? We all have common concerns and many of the issues that affect other people also affect me and my family. So, I feel that it is important to speak up.