The temperature shot up several degrees as a slim Vidya Balan (nothing like her voluptuous avatar in her just released film, The Dirty Picture) and a suave Farhan Akhtar entered the venue on Day 2 of the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit.
Both have a few things in common — newfound sex symbol tags and a love for the movies. And when Vir Sanghvi, advisor, HT Media, asked them how they felt about being called sex symbols, both confessed they loved it.
“Everyone at some level wants to be a sex symbol. No one says, ‘I detest being one,” joked Farhan, who then spoke about his transition from director to actor.
“I always had a love for films and was in awe of Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor. So I made the transition and I’m glad I wasn’t 19 when I did it,” he said. Farhan said that he was glad that people think Dil Chahta Hai is a cult film but for him movies such as Deewar, Sholay and Zanjeer have impacted his life more.
Despite being an industry insider, Farhan said he had to make his own way and decided not to cash in on his parents’ names. “I wanted to meet Aamir for Dil Chahta Hai and I waited for 8 months. Finally, he met me only because I had not made my parents call him. Only after Ritesh Sidhwani (his business partner) and I finalised everything, did I tell my father that I was making a film,” he said.
Vidya too had her bit of struggle before she got into movies.
“I have dabbled in advertising, television and even did a Bengali movie,” she said. She talked about The Dirty Picture and how she had expected people to like the film, while Farhan spoke about the sequel to Don, Don 2 (releasing soon).
“There was more freedom this time because this is not a remake... That cut a lot of weight from my shoulders.”
Talking about the ‘ban’ on showing smoking in films, Farhan said, “Everyone knows smoking is bad for health. But not allowing people to smoke in movies will not help. Then next, we will have to run disclaimers that murder is bad and corruption is bad. We only show what happens in real life in films. I can also make a suggestion — shut paan and bidi shops outside schools.”