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Farhan's next act

He's about to debut as an actor in a film titled Fakir. Plus, his company is in the news for inking a Rs 230-crore deal with TV 18 to produce six films, which he's cagey about. Farhan Akhtar gets candid with Amita Amin-Shinde.

entertainment Updated: Aug 25, 2007 15:34 IST

He's about to debut as an actor in a film titled Fakir. He has been appointed spokesperson for a German watch company (A Lange and Söhne). Plus, his company is in the news for inking a widely reported Rs 230-crore deal with TV 18 to produce six films.. which he's cagey about.. Farhan Akhtar buttonholed to tell all by Amita Amin-Shinde

Farhan Akhtar, 33, has this boyish physique and outlook, an ability to crack you up with his sense of humour.. dark at times. After an exhausting trip to Dresden, Germany, he assents to a gabfest at Frankfurt airport but not before he buys duty free gifts for his daughters Shakya and Akira. Excerpts from the interview:

How come acting?
It would be a cliché for a director to say that acting is an entirely different experience. Believe me, it is. For a change, instead of directing, I was just a player.

I wasn't in charge of the entire movie-making process. In the bargain, I understood that acting is an education.

But why the diversification from direction?
As a director, I'm involved in different stages of filmmaking... music sittings, pre-production planning, post-production, handling stars and their tantrums. (Laughs). As an actor, I didn't have to deal with all that.

I just had to report to the studio, face the camera and do what the director (Anand Surapur) asked me to.

<b1>No anxieties before the camera?
Since I'm familiar with the medium, I wasn't nervous. Maybe acting comes naturally to me (smiles).

What's Fakir about anyway?
It's a black comedy about shams, scams and pretence.. based on a true-life incident. I play a film production assistant assigned to get a fakir from India to Venice.

Anu Kapoor is the fakir. From what I hear, the film should be released in October.



Did the role in

Fakir

come naturally to you?


Hmm.. yes. Maybe because I was a big liar as a child. I could lie with a straight face (laughs). Seriously I love to make people laugh. But , then, I also end up hurting them at times.. not deliberately but it happens.



As a succesful director, you must have been tempted to butt in the shot takings and the script.


No, not at all. I did share my opinions with Anand. But seriously it was a comfortable working relationship. Still, I won't deny the fact that we would have detailed conversations during the shoot. There was an environment of trust.



Looking back
Son of Javed Akhtar and Honey Irani, Farhan Akhtar started working as a 17-year-old apprentice with cinematographer Manmohan Singh.
In 1997, he assisted Pankaj Parashar in Himalaya Putra (where he first met Akshaye Khanna). He then assisted Adi Pocha for three years in a television software production house, Script Shop.
After leaving Script Shop, Farhan co-directed Shankar Mahadevan's music video Breathless and Pentagram's Price of Bullets with sister Zoya. He simultaneously started to work on a script, tentatively titled Hum Teen. Two years later, it was called Dil Chahta Hai.
In 1999, Farhan teamed up with Ritesh Sidhwani to launch a film production house, Excel Entertainment Pvt Ltd.

Talk is that you want to see the audience's response to Fakir before accepting other acting assignments.


Who said? In fact, I will be acting in two more films - my sister Zoya's film

Luck by Chance

and Abhishek Kapoor's film for my production company .

It's too premature to discuss these projects.. we're still working on the details.

Does that mean direction has taken a backseat?
Of course not. My next film as a director will start next year. It will have Irrfan Khan. Now, don't ask me more about this project. I won't tell you.

It seems you have scrapped the plan of making a sequel to Don?
That's happening. I'm currently working with two writers on the script. Once that is finalised we'll go ahead..

So.. (Interrupting)
Yes, yes with Shah Rukh Khan.

Has he given you the green signal?
I certainly hope so. Though we haven't formalised anything, we have discussed it informally .

<b3>Of late, it's being said that your father Javed Akhtar and Gulzar have patched up after years of friction. True?
Really? Was there even a tiff between them?

Hmm.. would you ever ask Gulzar saab to write lyrics for you?
I have no issues if Zoya or Abhishek Kapoor want Gulzar saab to write lyrics for their films. But I share a great rapport with my dad, he is a meticulous writer.. a perfectionist, I'd say .

Do you see yourself as a perfectionist at all?
I seek perfection.. at least I try to. If I fail, that's okay, at least I know that I tried.

Is that how you think of Lakshya and Don... they just weren't in the league of Dil Chahta Hai.
(Pauses) Aah, yes. No matter what I do, I will never be able to match up to my first film. I don't think anyone can. It's like giving birth to a child.. looking at and holding the baby for the first time. The memory lasts a lifetime.

A sentiment you share about your daughters?
Yes. I love spending time with them.. and trust me that's all that they seek. So I try to devote time to them. I even drop them off at school at least three days a week.

Anything else you'd like to say?
(Laughs) Should we have coffee now?