Farah Khan, on 'Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi'
By Shaikh Ayaz
29th July 2012 10:00 AM
Acting is not as easy as it looks, after all. That’s what Farah Khan, choreographer, director and now, an actress, realised when she started shooting her first film as a heroine, 'Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi'. “I never gave it any thought when I slogged my actors in my films,” she says. “I am quite a taskmaster and a control freak. But I realise now how tough that can be on the actors. Acting is not just to come on the sets dressed from head to toe but it’s actually about a lot of other things which I always took for granted.”
True to the Farah style of outspokenness, she explains in detail the ‘other things’ that she just mentioned: “The other things is simply that we often accuse actors of doing nothing and just throwing tantrums. We technicians keep saying, ‘Oh, why is so and so heroine taking so much to do make-up’, or ‘Why can’t so and so actor get his acting right.’ Trust me when I say this, actors are in some ways justified in behaving that way, because they have a lot of pressure — they have to look good and act at the same time, which is a difficult job.”
At first, when director Bela Bhansali Sehgal, Sanjay Leela Bhansali's sister, offered Farah 'Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi', she was convinced that she is playing a joke on her. “I couldn’t believe that Bela (the director) wanted me to play a heroine — I mean, come on, do you think I look like a heroine?” she laughs.
But a relentless Sehgal kept persisting. Finally, when Farah was told that Boman Irani would be opposite her, an actor she’s infinitely comfortable with, she instantly agreed. “Boman was one of the main reasons, really,” she says. “If it were somebody else who I wouldn’t be comfortable with, I would not have done it. Also, I knew that he would look after me.” As such, there was much camaraderie and fun on the sets. “This time, the tables had turned — I wasn’t directing Boman as I had in 'Main Hoon Na'. So, Boman used to say, ‘Come on, Farah, let me read your lines’ and I used to say, “Achcha ab tu mere ko sikha raha hai (Okay, now you are instructing me).”
Being half-Parsi herself, playing a Parsi was something that came naturally to Farah. “I know the Parsi culture inside out — my mother, aunts and grandmother were great fun to be with and I have observed them all my life. It’s good to have an example before you when you get down to acting a part.”
Farah had no qualms about working with Bhansali with whom she had a spat during the release of 'Om Shanti Om' and 'Saawariya'. Both were out to kill each other’s film and it looked like their relationship had strained beyond repair. Yet, they got back famously. “What happened is behind us now. He was bad-mouthing my film and there was nothing I could have done about it,” she says. “But Bhansali is a kind of friend who can get away by saying anything to me. Similarly, I have every right to talk to him the way I want because we are at the end of the day great friends — and old friends, since the time of '1942: A Love Story'.”
Farah reassures that all is well with another of her closest friends, Shah Rukh Khan. To recall, Shah Rukh was alleged to have assaulted Farah’s husband Shirish Kunder earlier this year. “Please, I am fed up of controversies. Shah Rukh and we can never have problems. Things happen and things have to be sorted. I am glad there is that understanding between Shah Rukh and us.”
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