Farhan Akhtar: "Vidya taught me Bengali gaalis!"
e is the unconventional Indian hero who has zoomed his way to the top with a performance as seamless as Milkha Singh from Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. Changing crossroads to a different dimension with a film as refreshing as Shaadi Ke Side Effects, Tollywood Dhamaka caught up with Farhan Akhtar for a lively chat.
You have been married for quite a long time now. What are your real life Shaadi ke side effects?
It’s not side effects for me anymore! I am going through the stage of after effects and the next one would be special effects! (Laughs) It’s an individual experience. Everything in life can be as good or as bad as you want it to be. So if you focus on the good things and work on the good things and if you fix the bad things or fix the things that are not as nice as you would like them to be, everything can be nice. So it’s just what you want from the relationship that is important. The characters involved, they end up wanting good things at one point in life for themselves and for each other, and that creates a little bit of problem in their relationship. So we should focus on the characters in the film because in real life, we are doing really well and our marriages are even better. Touch wood!
How was it like working with Vidya for the first time in Shaadi Ke Side Effects?
Now the gun point is on me so woh chahti hai ki main chahu ki main uske bare mein acchi cheezein kahoo. Phew, that was tough! The fact is that everyone knows that she is an amazingly talented actress. For me, I have learnt a lot working with her on this film. Because the entire film revolves under these very two characters who share the same home, it is very wanting to have a very good rapport. It is about understanding each other’s pauses and silences. That is an area which has been up and good. She is really good at what she does. She is happy outside which is very important. She is professional which is also very important, so it’s been a great experience. We had been working for the longest time together because the film is predominantly about these two characters that we play and there is always this one thing which I love about her. She can actually ask questions more easily and break the ice and once she did, we had a blast on the sets!
Vidya has been praising you so much about your easy going nature and how you created a friendly atmosphere on set. How do you feel?
Well, I don’t know what to answer to this. Obviously, I feel humbled but I always had this feeling ever since I was a director. I keep my shoots on the set very chilled out and the atmosphere needs to really good and easy for each actor in the team. I feel that actors work a lot better when the environment on the set is not strained because if it is not as interesting, it shows on their faces and hence in the film as well. So this has kind of become the natural way for me of how to be on the sets.
Any secrets about Vidya, that you would like to share with us?
Well, however you find Vidya Balan so expressive in all her films and in reality, she is also deadpan you know. She makes up complete fictional stories about people on set. She then comes up to you and tells with such a serious face that you are convinced to believe her. That ability I still do not have. Even today when we reached the hotel, I went up to her and told her that I might not be able to stay back tonight and I would have to leave for Mumbai. I just could not keep up the deadpan face and there was this one corner of my lip that kept smacking over my dimples! But she does that really, really well!
You have been doing a lot of things like directing, writing, acting, singing, dancing. So what inspires you? Is there some idol which inspires you?
I really don’t have any one idol person. There are many people who work and I get influenced by these many people. But I really don’t have that one person that I can say is my inspiration to do things. Different times there have been different people who have inspired me. It is tough to just take one time.
People really often call you the accidental actor. What is your take on that?
I keep bumping into trolleys and other co-stars (laughs). I was very happy writing and directing and it really took a script like Rock On for me to say Yes, to wanting to come in front of the camera and when I did do that first film I felt that the experience is very enjoyable. There is a certain creative liberation that you feel when you play a character that is not you. But it really wasn’t my thing to be an actor when I started off in film. So that’s why people call me an accidental actor.
So Vidya taught you Bengali. How was it?
Well, she taught me some really cuss Bengali words, gaalis which I kept on mouthing in front of everyone there. These were words which nobody should be saying. I was lucky that there were not much people in Australia who understood Bengali. (Laughs) For all the Australians that I told those lines, they obviously had no reaction. So I was thinking that it was an amazing word as they were smiling!
Pictures by: Rahul Banerjee