Woman in Power: Farah Khan
She walked in the industry, grew as a choreographer and announced to be one of the greatest directors of the B-Town. A spirited personality beaming endless energy is how Kartikya Arora from team TMM got to know more from the Bollywood genius Farah Khan in an exclusive interaction.
A working mother, choreographer, director, an anchor, and entrepreneur. How do you manage to wear multiple hats at once?
Every role I play in personal and professional life are managed. As a hands-on mother for my kids, I do everything from planning their birthday party, buying return gifts for their friends to especially cooking their favourite meal. I do it all. Professionally, I work on a single project at a time. For instance, if I am working on a movie I would not take any show on television. Before I get into making a movie, I take a good gap of 2-3 years to produce an ‘event’ film. During the schedule of filing it, I focus all my energy into the same and prefer not to divert myself in multiple projects. Television isn’t stressful. I do not have to pretend but have to be myself. Being honest on-screen earns me more love from the audience and I get to do more of it. Instead, that is a cake-walk. Of late, I have been directing ad-films too.
Congratulations on completing 26 years in the industry. What all fill your bag of memories ever since your first step in Bollywood?
Sprinting into the third decade in the industry, there have been uncountable memorable moments. The first one was the day I collared choreography for Jo jeeta wohi Sikander. Unfortunately, the film did not make a good business when it was released. Eventually, the songs gained momentum and made ruled hearts of listeners. I was without work for at least six months before the song Pehla Nasha picked up as a national race. The film pronounced me as a choreographer for films like Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa, 1942: A Love Story and more. However, Chaiya Chaiyya from Dil Se announced my strong foot in the industry which got me countless love and accolades globally. It was not only loved nationally but also pulled laudable international offers for me. Bombay dreams, Shakira, MTV projects added to my long list of work.
It is a webbed world. What do you do you think the future of ‘web-based’ entertainment is?
‘Internet’ is where the future of entertainment lies. Over a period of time, people would watch everything on their own. My husband and I are working on two web series. We would surely be working on more of those. Everyone needs content. You would always find the person providing the content as ‘busiest’. No matter how much you howl, you place your phone elsewhere and just ‘work’. Villages, trains, people are watching content at their discretion on their handsets. Walking up to a theatre for appointment will be limited to event films or odd movies only. Once a year the audience would wait to watch a big-budget movie. Even I wait for a month watch the film online unless it is worth watching in a theatre. This is the reason I take time to make my film once every two to three years which is worth enjoying on the big screen.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced as an entrepreneur? How have you overcome?
I do not feel an entrepreneur yet. Though I would slowly get there. It is only recently that I have thought of investing in small potential projects. When I first began, the first challenge was to break a mould of a ‘lady’ making the big budget film. Foremost, I had to convince Shahrukh. The idea of a woman making a certain kind of movie is still a challenge. Onlookers would apparently accept a lady making a 20 Cr movie much easier than a 200 cr film. Though the industry has witnessed tremendous change, a change is mindset is still awaited. For me, now that everyone is used to see me working only on humongous budgets, announcing a small budget film coming from me might be a shock to many.
How do you choose products to be endorsed by you?
I do not sign a show unless I do not believe in or feel excited about. If marketers approach me to tweet or post on my social media about something, I first try, test on myself before telling my audience to use it. For instance, since last two years, I am the face of IVF in India. Before I signed the contract with them, I studied on all legal possibilities on them and before entering the contract.
Even though the censor board gave them a green signal, films still face opposition from certain groups. How do you think the industry should react to it?
I do not believe in the idea of ‘censorship’. Though, I believe in the censorship board. You are preaching to fire. In Britain and America, nobody ‘censors’ a film. They have a rating for a plus 16 or 18 years age group. There are certain disadvantages with reference to satellite rights etc. that come with it. It surely provides the movie makers a free-hand to what they want to film and portray. All of which is watched at the discretion of the audience. Policing a film’s content only corrupts the creative culture of film-making. Whatever happened with Padmavat, the industry wanted to raise their voice against the groups. The makers of the film requested everyone to stay calm and handled the matter themselves.
What is one thing you would share with the girls who aspire to come, stay and rule the entertainment industry?
Before you enter the industry, you have to be clear about what you want to do. You got to be clear if you want to be an actor or a heroine before you want to be a Katrina or Deepika. Start from the Botton of the ladder, watch films. The industry does ask for odd hours and hard work. Be patient and work dedicatedly.
Male and female actors you think are going to rule the industry :
Rajkumar Rao and Deepika Padukone
A dish prepared by you that your kids love to devour on?
My girls love ‘Dum roast chicken’ and my young boy love to see me cook (•laughs•)
A sport you think needs more promotion:
One place you wish to explore:
I have explored many though, Turkey is one place I would like to go
A brand that rules your closet:
Mantra of happiness:
Gratitude. Be grateful for what you have. You will be a happy person.