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Interview – Farhan Akhtar: I didn’t want to do Lucknow Central at first!

Farhan Akhtar has been around for over two decades – as a writer, a director, a producer, a singer, and finally as an actor. He has contributed so much to modern cinema, along with his parents and his sister. He recently starred in ‘Daddy’ with Arjun Rampal, and in a week will be onscreen again, in ‘Lucknow Central’. We got together with the star to know just what it takes to become a star!

Having started out as a director, does it help when you’re deciding whether or not to do a film?
In all honeisty, you read or hear the script and by the end, you’ve already decided if you want to take up the role. If you don’t want to do it, and end up performing it, it’s because the person writing, or directing or producing is a close friend or the paycheck is big! (chuckles)

What made you do Lucknow Central?
It was the script – totally the script. When Nikhil called me saying this film was on the floor, I didn’t want to do it, because it’s associated with a band and I have done a lot of that (Rock On, Rock On 2). But he told me to read the script and then decide, and when I heard it, I knew I wanted to be a part of the project!

Did you do anything to prepare for the role?
I didn’t have to. He isn’t a criminal but he ends up going to jail. You both embark on the journey for the first time together. There is a certain innocence with Kishan, he doesn’t know anything about jail life. I thought it would be a nice thing to portray. I had to mainly focus on his love for music and thoughts about life. He has a confidence in himself that he is going to be someone someday.

Do you think people prefer content driven films nowadays instead of superstars?
I don’t think it is one or the other. Today, if any actor comes along with good content, he/she is appreciated. I think people have jumped the gun in terms of burying certain actors. It’s been only six to seven months into this content driven film phase we are having. I think eventually everything will balance itself out, because people from film are also realizing the kind of movies the audience wants at this time. They want relatable stories. Film, at its heart, is the will to tell a coherent story – relatability.

What are you first – a write, director, producer, singer or actor?

I don’t know really. I enjoy doing it all!

Do you think Lucknow Central might offend friends/families of the victims of the crimes committed by the inmates?
Well, you know, this is a story of reformation – which is what jail is for. Some of the people in there are not criminals by nature. They committed a crime in a passion and now are paying the price. If they come out and teach others how terrible crime is and how heavy the punishment is, maybe it prevents some others. It does end up contributing to society somehow. There are two sides to every story. The victim’s friends and family can grieve their loved one, as they should, but everyone deserves a second chance.

You’re quite active on social media. But, now, anyone, especially someone famous, who expresses an opinion is trolled. What do you think of this?
Well, you know that is the nature of this beast we have created, called social media. You can’t get away from it. But it shouldn’t discourage you from saying what you need to say. Unless the person is threatening you with death, unfortunately, people threaten women with rape online, unless it becomes that serious, it’s just people expressing their thoughts right?

Any upcoming projects?
We have films releasing as producers – Fukrey 2 and Gully Boys. I’m doing 2 films next year – one with Nishikant Kamat and one with Mohit Suri. I’m excited!

Lucknow Central hits the screens 15th September, 2017.
Watch the trailer here!

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