For an actor whose parents were worried about how he would become in college, a time wherein he would just sit back at home and only watch movies, have emerged as one of modern cinema’s most versatile, well-rounded personalities. Considering he is not only a director but a dialogue writer, producer, and actor- Farhan Akhtar has become the embodiment of sheer passion and rigor.
At a time where most of Farhan’s contemporaries are running the risk of becoming Bollywood stereotypes, the Bombay-based artist- for any soul who’s drawn to myriad aspects of film-making can be ably described as one- is establishing a league of his own. He’s sculpted his body on the smolderingly hard tedium of becoming one of India’s greatest ever athletes, he’s effortlessly married a poetic character with the wittiness of an everyday sort of dude from urban India, he’s shown how to befriend the least likely of characters in the grim sadness of captivity; of being in a tough prison and, has strum the chords that reach the heart- rocking fans- with much aplomb.
Farhan Akhtar- who just turned 44 – could be hailed as the thinking moviegoers’ actor.
You can’t simply just be a fan. You’ve got to admire his craft and his grittiness to unleash himself in myriad challenges. Would you say playing the titular roles in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag or Lucknow Central was any easy?
From being the Adi who had lost his sense of wonderment and that love for music in the usual run of the mill existence as a Mumbai stockbroker in Rock On to being Priyanka Chopra’s love interest, and a johnny come lately sort of bloke on the family outing on the cruise, Farhan has travelled to the front of the camera to depict the sort of artist he wishes every actor would be.
Warm but funny, introspective but talkative, blessed with a sense of humor but also gifted with a guile.
Seemingly, an easy-going bloke, Farhan’s appeal lies in his effervescence to portray the odd guy you wouldn’t exactly mark for success. He is by far Bollywood’s only actor who is also a talented storyteller and perhaps the best bet at that. Isn’t it?
In an age of shenanigans and theatrics, where celebs vouch for attention either through Twitter-wars or slimy remarks, Farhan escapes the madness by purely focusing on his craft: unburdened by all that’s happening around him, unsullied by the drama Bollywood unfolds in front of him.
Farhan seems like both- a cup of chai and a glass of red wine. Exquisitely simple. And simply exquisite.
He is your white shirt-blue denim bloke; the sort of guy you would like to play two sets of tennis with and someone who might be able to rescue you if you were ever stuck in coming up with a romantic composition.
What adds a touch of sophistication to Farhan’s demeanor is his penchant for writing and the ability to shrewdly extract the best from the set of actors. He did that in Lakshya and before that- in pathbreaking Dil Chahta Hai. How often had we seen a Saif Ali Khan being brought together on the same stage with an Aamir and with such delightful ease?
But that said, the most interesting facet about Farhan Akhtar is that in a Bollywood where we still associate actors to a particular genre- Shah Rukh to romance and a Hrithik to big-budget burly flicks, Farhan leaves us in strands of uncertainty.
And in this fogginess where one can’t exactly restrict Farhan to a genre exemplifies his natural talent.
It might appear as a tad bit overwhelming but the sheer variety of shades he brought out in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’s Imraan- a copywriter who was every bit witty as he was inwardly driven, never insular but ever emotive through expressive eyes- offers fitting testimony to an actor who appears as Bollywood’s marathon man. In the sense that a passionate script, etched on the merit of a poignant, moving character can make Farhan groove in the manner that one does to a legendary 80s pop number.
May that be also the case as 2018 unfolds and for years to come.