Why the fuck is Farhan Akhtar considered a singer?

There used to be a show on Channel V called Love to Hate you, where celebrities would meet their haters and try to change their opinion. The show was mildly exciting, except for Arjun Rampal, also known in scientific circles as Saraca asoca.

In the episode starring Farhan Akhtar, his hater accused him of being a miserable singer, asking him to stick to directing. On that show, Farhan Akhtar said something really sensible – ‘There’s no particular reason why a person chooses to do something. You can’t question that choice – at that point, it seemed right to do it’. Firm logic.

Farhan Akhtar’s film Dil Chahta Hai in my opinion changed the way Hindi films are made today, turning the idea of a hero right on its head. I have lost track of the number of times I have watched the film, and learnt to mimic Saif Ali Khan just so I could say his lines from the movie. So, I have respect for the man.

I liked Lakshya and Don too, to an extent. And then, Farhan Akhtar started acting. Which again, is not a problem. He usually plays the witty South Bombay guy who writes poetry, like the coming-of-old-age film Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. Any film where he wasn’t that guy has flopped. It is with Farhan Akhtar’s singing that I have a problem.


Ever since Rock On, with its pseudo-rock and quasi-profound lyrics came out, Farhan Akhtar has been portrayed as some sort of rockstar. Truth is, the songs in films are heavily auto-tuned. Take for example the scene from Rock On where they sing Saason ki zaroorat at a Garbha. A layman could tell the guy is missing the notes in those two lines.

I heard him live once, and it felt like two gnomes were fucking both my ears at the same time. He was off-key, managed to hold the tune for about half the songs, and left a grating feeling at the back of my head – like when the teacher would write on an old blackboard with chalk. Or when you run your nails against a wall that’s just been whitewashed.

The guy is barely what we call a ‘bathroom singer’, but nobody has told him that yet. He continues to sing songs in his raspy, friendly-pedophile voice, and does shows all over the country, while there are genuine musicians who have devoted decades to the art, and are as famous as Venkatpathy Raju.

In fact, so obsessed are we with Bollywood that even after nearly 70 years as an independent nation, we have no pop, rock or indie music scene in the country. Bollywood gobbled up the fledgling Indipop scene that thrived in the 90s, and all we have today is Arijit Singh covers of every song imaginable.

This obsession is the reason Pakistan’s Coke Studio sounds orgasmic whereas our version is like a semi-boner. Actors continue to sing songs without being able to tell the difference between Sa and Pa, and people go gaga over them because we can’t look beyond cricket and films in our country. Which is why you have Salman Khan singing for Fuckall Pancholi, Alia Bhatt piss over a Rahat Fateh Ali Khan song, and even Sanjay Dutt singing songs. Listen to these songs more than once, and you begin to feel you have piles in your ears.

Farhan Akhtar has featured on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, above names like Indian Ocean and Parikrama. Are you fucking kidding me? The only time Farhan Akhtar should feature in the magazine is if people were asked not to sing like him. He has featured on MTV Unplugged, a format that has been made legendary by bands and performers like Nirvana, Clapton, Led Zeppelin, and Rahman. Why is this guy even allowed on the same stage?


And what did he sing? His Meri laundry ka ek bill, I should freeze on Tiger Hill bullshit. Where he misses half the notes so that Shankar Ehsaan Loy can catch them. The icing on the cake was the poster for NH7 Weekender Hyderabad edition this year.

Plastered across the city are two people – Nucleya and Farhan Akhtar. Nucleya, who has created a unique sound of his own. Nucleya, who has attained a cult status over the years for his ability to beautifully mix EDM with Indian folk sounds. Has to share the stage with Meri Laundry ka ek bill, where can I find sleeping pill.


This obsession with Bollywood is the reason a country of billion has about ten famous singers. It is the reason our taste in music is so limited, so cramped, so claustrophobic. But what the heck, Sindbad da sailor ek jahaaz mein nikla tha, mere yaaron sunlo sunlo.

30 thoughts on “Why the fuck is Farhan Akhtar considered a singer?

  1. winod rai

    Oh F-ucking-inally! This guy got too long a rope. Most of bollywood actually gets away with this free ride – NEPOTISM thy name is Bollywood.

  2. Anonymoud

    Hey – I shared your blog on fb and there was an explosion of negative abuses towards me for even thinking of sharing such a post. There were Desh bhakts who accused me of being a traitor for sharing such a post against an Indian personality. Some powerful writing out there dude. It evokes a very violent reaction from weirdos who probably don’t know how to ‘hear’ music…

  3. Anon

    Going by that logic, substandard writing like this shouldn’t be allowed to exist either. Oh wait, nobody considers you a writer so I guess my point is made.

    1. Hriday Ranjan Post author

      Wow, what a thinking!! You are Sage Vashishta personified. But you know what, if I was Javed Akhtar’s son, I’d definitely be a writer. Ha!

  4. Chandrani Chakraborty

    I blv every singer has their own style. Everyone can not b Sonu Nigam or Arijit Singh. If we have to count on husky voice there r plenty in music industry. And entire generation can not b wrong. I have attend so many live concert of Farhan & it was hell crowded. U hardly find any space to keep ur feet. So I belive entire nation is not deaf..ppl really do enjoy his music otherwise they would not have listen to his same songs from Rock On or few other movies over the years. We must appreacite his talent. Hatters will hate.. and I m completly against this article.

  5. Anonymous

    I like his songs and singing. Have you seen him act in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag..it was amazing . And as a director Dil Chata hai was a trendsetter and evergreen.

  6. San kumar

    His situation isn’t unique. Bollywood is full of such undeserving people and it’s true for every facet of this industry. Just like farhan akhtar is a good singer, Kareena kapoor who looks like a transvestite is gorgeous heroin and Salman khan who is dumber than a block of wood is a talented actor. As long as there is demand and people can be swayed away with marketing, the people will always be there.

  7. Srikanth

    Meri Laundry Ka Ek Bill, His Singing Just Makes Me Ill.

    Sindbad the Sailor Ek Jahaaz Mein Jab Chala, to chalne do mere bhai. Teri singing sunke doob jaaega.

    I wasn’t too fond of Farhan post Lakshya. Don was a sucky film, it didn’t live up to the image created by Amitabh. Fair enough, Amitabh’s Don was in the 70s when a lot of things didn’t exist. But atlest it had a story which didn’t get crumbled into mindlessness which is the scenario with Don/Don 2.

    As an actor, he’s OK. I didn’t particularly like him in Rock On, for that matter Arjun Rampal was the only one who looked more fake than him as a musician. He was decent in ZNMD and tolerable in Dil Dhadakne Do. He doesn’t bring anything additional to the table as an actor. For a first timer, Omi Vaidya did justice to his role in 3 Idiots. Farhan in ZNMD was nowhere close to what new comers have done in their debut films.

    As for his singing, the less said the better. Having grown up in a generation that did have Pop Music such as Alisha Chinai, Colonial Cousins, KK and Shaan who had their own albums, it makes me cringe when actors turn singers. We don’t have a dearth of talented singers in our country. We have singers and musicians aplenty, I’m a fan of Thermal and a Quarter and Pentagram. But no. Farhan is a Rock singer. I’d rather listen to a rock.

    Note: I write this as someone who has studied Film-making in the past.

  8. Abhishek Ka[adia

    i hv seen his shows he is a full timepass entertainer and more imp his band is kickass . hv u heard his drummer and bass and guitar player? also his singing his own songs is ok and there is alwas ful house crowd. it is sad u know betr singers mayb but that way there are thousands of talented ppl in the world all dont get chance so what . i feel everyone who has problem with farhan singing or for dat matter any celeb who has become famous are all frustrated individuals who can only whine and cry and write bullshit like dis
    chill and enjoy life brother

  9. Anon

    Pretty misplaced rant. Even globally and historically there have been vocalists who weren’t really great singers eg. Bob Dylan, Kurt Cobain, the whole of the punk movement etc.
    If the rant is just about his singing, really just don’t listen to it man. Comparing him to Zeppelin or even Rahman (who sings pathetically live too) is thoroughly missing the point.

    If you’re trying to make a point about Bollywood having swallowed up indie music, you could have done a lot better than Nucleya for an example. Nucleya is extremely successful in the space he has carved out and he doesn’t need to look at Farhan’s audience.

    1. Aparna

      Agree with some things you say there. But I don’t think it is fair to compare Rahman’s and Farhan Akthar’s singing without any context. Rahman makes his music and is considered a musician for that. Most people associate the ‘music director’ title with him and he is not known especially for his singing. Farhan Akthar is being promoted as a singer and that is different. Also, not that it matters here, but I personally think Rahman has gotten better at singing (if you compare his singing in the early 90’s and now).

  10. shai

    u hit the nail on the head!!! he is a awful singer and like no one will a blollyood son he is a bad actor and will continue to pour money into those movies… it is the same… he could even be a judge on a singing show and he will judge actual singers….. with his bathroom singing voice… why coz he is a powerful bollywood guy!!

  11. Afnan

    I totally disagree with you !
    I’ve seen him live and he’ was pretty good !
    You seek to have an issuec with him ?


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