Farah Khan was recently a part of Bernard College of Columbia University’s Fourth Global Symposium on Women Changing India. The director-choreographer joined the second panel discussion, Voices of the Region, alongside actor-activist Nandita Das, architect-conservationist Brinda Somaya and CNN correspondent Mallika Kapur. “At the symposium, a school principal got along her students — six boys amongst 600 women. By the end of the session, we had half-a-dozen converts who’d learnt that men needed to change their mindsets so their better halves would be perceived better,” says Farah, claiming that she has never followed the feminine stereotype even as a child. “As a kid, I’d put on a Helen song, climb on top of the table and dance. And everyone had to watch.”
Farah Khan will make her acting debut opposite Boman Irani in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Shirin Farhad Ki Nikal Padi.
As a teenager she got a summer job every vacation, once promoting cigarettes. But she never smoked even though it was ‘cool’ in the ’80s. “I also never did drugs or drank at prom nights. Dance was my biggest high,” she says, recalling how when she entered the industry in the early ’90s, raunchy dances like ‘Sarkaiylo khatiya…’ were ‘in’. But the newbie assistant choreographer, struggling to make a mark, refused to toe the line.
She followed the same principle when she turned director. “Everyone was expecting me to make a sensitive, feminist film, but I started out with a big budget, commercial entertainer with Shah Rukh Khan in Main Hoon Na (2004),” she says, pointing out that the daring experiments continue with her acting debut, at 40-plus, in Sanjay Bhansali’s Shirin Farhad Ki Nikal Padi (2012). “I’ll know if it’s foolish or brave move only after the film releases. Although Shirin is no Silk, it’s still daring to wear a skirt after 15 years and dance in the rain.”
Even in her personal life, Farah believes there’s nothing wrong if it feels right to her. She says, “I married a guy (Shrish Kunder) who is younger to me, and had triplets at the age of 43!”
Happy New Year for SRK-Farah?
Buzz is that five years after Om Shanti Om (2007), Farah and Shah Rukh Khan will come together to complete a hat-trick with Happy New Year. Farah refuses to confirm or deny the rumours saying, “I’ve locked the script and will make my movie this year. My children start a new school next week. All is at peace. It’s certainly a Happy New Year.”