MUMBAI: Method acting has acquired bristles. Several recent actors have grown facial hair to look their part. But Farhan Akhtar and Imran Khan are going out of their way to let the beard flourish on their habitually-smooth faces.
The reasons for the two actors shave-less act are different. Imran we hear needed facial hair and a broader shoulder (he’s working on both) to play an older, more brash and rustic character.
Farhan needs a full-on beard to play the Sikh athlete Milkha Singh. Farhan chuckles, “This beard which I am growing for the first time in a cultivated manner—earlier I had grown one as wintry insulation while shooting Lakshya in Ladakh –has acquired a life of its own. No one asks me how I am these days. They only ask about my beard. I’ve now decided to send my beard to respresent me at all film events…But seriously,it’s something that had to be done to play Milkha Singh.”
Farhan says it’s a small part of the preparation. The actual process of getting to know the real character is far more vital. Over here in India bio-pics have largely been about well-known politicians. I can’t recall a single bio-pic on a sports personality.It’s a very big responsibility to play a real-life character. I can’t afford to goof up.”
A perk of working in Bhaag Milka Bhaag is that Farhan gets to team up with Sonam Kapoor. Says Farhan, “We both grew up in the film industry. Her father (Anil Kapoor) is a dear friend. But I never met Sonam before this film happened. She’s lovely.”
Besides preparing for his role as Milkha Singh, Farhan has also been busy writing the dialogues of his former assistant Reema Kagti’s second directorial assignment Talaash. Says Farhan, “Anurag Kashyap and I have written the dialogues for Talaash. That’s about all my involvement is with Talaash.When Ritesh and I produce a film that I am not directing, we leave the director to his or her own devices.”
As for all the awards that his sister Zoya Akhtar’s film Zindagi Na Milegi Dobaara is collecting Farhan can’t keep the pride out of his voice. “I’m very very happy for Zoya. She has worked really hard on the film, and she deserves the success. Is the film really inspiring people to do what they’ve putting off in life for long? Nah!I think they’re just using this film as en excuse to take a holiday.”