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He just walked away with the Filmfare Best Actor Award for Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, butFarhan Akhtar admits that when he entered the industry, more than a decade ago, acting was not on his agenda. “When I started out I was very categorical that I only wanted to write, direct and produce films with my friend and partner Ritesh (Sidhwani),” he says. And that was how it was till early 2007 when AbhishekKapoor came to him with the role of Aditya Shroff in Rock On!! By then he had proved his mettle as a director with films like Dil Chahta Hai, Lakshya and Don--The Chase Begins and wowed by the script, Farhan said yes to his first turn in front of the camera because “it was a world and music he could identify with”.

His performance as Aditya, a musician who gives up the mike before returning to his true passion, was well received. So when his sister, Zoya Akhtar, confided that she was shelving her dream debut Luck By Chance because her seven-year-long search for a hero proved futile, Farhan offered to step into the shoes of both the leading man and theproducer. Karthik Calling Karthik in 2010, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara in 2011 followed-- this time Zoya had written the role of Imran with him in mind. Then Bhaag Milkha Bhaag came last year and suddenly, Farhan isn’t just an applauded actor but asaleable one too. This year he’s working in three films. Shaadi Ke Side Effects opens on February 28. Bombay Samurai with Kareena Kapoor and without Samurai swords will roll soon, and Raees co-starringShah Rukh Khan will follow. There’s also a thirdfilm with Zoya, Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s film withAmitabh Bachchan to be directed by Bejoy Nambiar and the Rock On!! sequel. Farhan’s plate is piled high which is perhaps why he’s announced a break from direction for two years.

But, he has two fully developed scripts—one which he has written and another he has co- written along with a third one which yet to be completed.“In fact, there are several scripts being developed. By the year end I should decide what I want to do. Then I’ll revisit the scripts,” he says. For now he can enjoy the awards coming his way forBhaag Milkha... Farhan says that the biggest challenge was to remove his urbane upbringing from his body language before entering Milkha’s world and era. “Had Rakeysh Mehra approached me earlier, I’d have said no, but my collective experiences lead me to believe I could pull it off. Today, I like to reinvent myself with every role rather than be a stereotypical actor who comes up in the list of names when a particular role is being discussed,” he points out.

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