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Saturday, July 31, 2021

Farhan Akhtar’s Trade Fare

With Dil Chahta Hai,Farhan Akhtar started a new wave in Indian cinema in 2001.

Written by Dipti Nagpaul D'souza |
December 8, 2011 10:56:36 pm

With Don 2 up for release later this month,the director talks about it being a leaner and meaner version of the first edition,and his own childhood fascination for acting

With Dil Chahta Hai,Farhan Akhtar started a new wave in Indian cinema in 2001. Subsequently,Lakshya and Don established him as an ace producer-director. He then went on to prove his talent as a singer,writer and a television host. With “good actor” as the newest hat sitting on his head,he talks about his childhood dream of acting and why his next directorial venture,adrenaline-packed Don 2,which releases on December 23,is meaner and smarter than the first instalment.

Despite critical acclaim for Rock On!! and Luck By Chance,Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (ZNMD) is being acknowledged as the turning point in your career as an actor. How much do you think has changed?

I can see that there is a wider acceptance of me as an actor though there are people who tell me that I should stick to film direction. But I cannot deny that people connected with my character,Imran,in ZNMD. Perhaps,because the character was written keeping me in mind — the way I talk,my humour and my habit of shirking discussions on important matters.

Did you ever wish to be an actor?

As a youngster,I was fascinated with acting. At that time,I didn’t understand what went into the making of a film. I used to watch great actors such as Amitabh Bachchan and Shammi Kapoor on screen and thought acting is all it takes to make a film. In school,however,I was often on the stage. Then I went through a phase of not caring about anything. When I finally decided to join the film industry,it was as a filmmaker.

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag will be your first film as an actor outside of your production house,Excel Entertainment.

I did hear scripts after Rock On!!,but nothing I came across was good enough. And the scripts I liked didn’t have a producer,so I decided to produce them. But Bhaag Milkha Bhaag came with a producer and a director in place. And five minutes into the script,I knew I had to do it. It will be a very important film for Indian cinema.

A sequel to a remake is unheard of. Did you plan this while making the remake of Don?

I had no plans to make a sequel while making Don: The Chase

Begins (Don 1). In fact,I had categorically gone on record to say so. When I made the film,I wanted to give the dialogue ‘Don ko pakadna mushkil hi nahin namumkin hai’ a new meaning. So,my Don fooled not only the film’s characters,but also the audience. For me,the story was complete. But now,I have to eat my words.

The idea of this remake met with strong criticism. Did you not doubt the idea of making a sequel?

Not really. If I have the energy and support of people who genuinely want the film to be made,then why deny myself the experience of making it and why deny the audience the fun of watching it?

What new are you bringing to Don 2?

Don 2 is a very different film. Yes,the key characters do carry forward in this film but the story is completely fresh. This gave me a lot of freedom to write the way I would see Don dealing with things — it’s done in the classic action-thriller format. There will be elements reminiscent of Don that one cannot shake off,but that has helped me get into the plot within the first five minutes without having to establish the characters.

How much has Don’s character evolved in the sequel?

Perhaps Shah Rukh Khan says it best: ‘I’m leaner,meaner and faster this time’. There’s a lot that Shah Rukh also brings to it. I truly believe that he has a lot of love for this character. So he brings in many ideas,for instance,how Don will behave in a certain situation.

You had the style and dialogues of the original to fall back on for the remake. Has Don acquired your sense of humour in the sequel?

Don was always very sharp in terms of style. But you see him for only the first 20 minutes in Don 1 and then Vijay comes in,who has a very different body language. But now,we have more of Don and he is the alpha male. So,he has no issue humiliating people and then being sweet to them when he needs something.

The chemistry between Priyanka Chopra’s character,Roma,and Don is said to be quite potent.

There is a new kind of romance between them. In Don,she took him to be Vijay. Now,she hates him for being Don. At the same time,a bond had developed between them that she is unable to shake off.

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