Tag Archives: Farhan Akhtar

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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.

THE GUY CAN’T FUCKING SING.

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?

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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.

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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.

Dil Dhadakne Do – First World Armageddon

Farhan and Zoya Akhtar make films about First World Problems.

Dil Chahta Hai dealt with three overgrown college-goers dealing with life. Zindagi Milegi Na Dobara dealt with three rich Mumbai kids discovering their true calling through a trip to Spain. Rock On! dealt with a bunch of guys whose problem in life is that their rock band couldn’t click.

Not that I have a problem with it. I have made peace with the fact that a filmmaker will mostly derive from his/her own upbringing in life.

Which is why the Akhtars make films about South Bombay dudes and Anurag Kashyap makes films about factories, slaughter-houses, and gangsters in Bihar. Which leads me to think – if I ever make a film, it’ll probably be about cats and masturbation.

But getting back to the topic at hand, I don’t really have a problem with first world problem films. The Akhtars have always ensured that their scripts are tightly written. The screenplay exploits the conflict through sharp lines, beautiful locations, and music accompanied to Javed Akhtar’s lofty, if slightly dopey, lyrics.

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Sadly, with Dil Dhadakne Do, there is a feeling of Been There, Done That. A multi-starrer depends heavily on its characters, and unfortunately, the characters in Dil Dhadakne Do seem jaded, un-fresh.

Ranveer Singh plays a soft, rich youngster. Now, Ranveer Singh essentially has two voices. One – the loud Gunday voice, the second the raspy, soft Lootera voice. He uses the Lootera voice, and yet slips every now and then.

Priyanka Chopra and Anushka Sharma play feisty independent characters, both of whom we have seen in umpteen movies. And frankly, after you see Sharma bashing goons with an iron rod, this is going to seem a bit tepid.

Farhan Akhtar, of course, plays what he always plays. The urban, non-conformist, liberal cool dude.

It’s like yesterday’s gajar halwa that was kept in the fridge overnight. It’s still gajar halwa, but there’s something amiss.

Interestingly, it’s the seniors of the film who salvage the movie.

Parmeet Sethi and Manoj Pahwa, saddled with bit-roles, put in their best.

Anil Kapoor, who seems to have let down his narcissistic guard after all these years, shines in every single frame. But the star of the show is Shefali Shah, playing Anil Kapoor’s wife. Watch her in the scene where she stuffs herself with cake, and you feel a yearning for what the film could have been.

Sadly, Dil Dhadakne Do never manages to cruise over its troubled, haphazard script. It’s just another First World Problem film that Farhan Akhtar stars in.

But that’s ok, because he’ll grow a moustache and play Veerappan, and win awards for it.

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