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|October 10, 1998||
If looks could thrill...
V S Srinivasan
Right now there are three such aspiring actors in the reckoning there -- Abhishek Bachchan, Hritik Roshan -- and Fardeen Khan. But Hritik has already admitted that of the three, Fardeen is indeed the most handsome. But while looks are a necessity, there are other factors too that make for success, not all of them definable.
And it's Fardeen again whose will be the first to be tested, in the film launched by father Feroz Khan, Prem Aggan. And once there, he will be competing with two other star sons with films behind them who are nowhere over the hill yet, Akshaye Khanna and Bobby Deol.
Meeting F K Junior isn't hard. Unlike some star products, he is accessible, at least far more so than either Akshaye or Bobby. But then, he isn't there yet, is he?
We met the man at Feroz Khan's office at Lokhandwala Complex, Andheri, Bombay.
After a few preliminaries, Fardeen sits back and lighted up a Marlboro Lights. And he alternated puffs of smoke with snatches of autobiographical detail. The lad is one relaxed number. He doesn't look tense and the odd time you throw in a surprise question, he fields it with the dexterity of a pro. Dad has a worthy successor, we see -- at least in real life.
Well, besides, Fardeen and his heroine, Meghna Kothari, there three more youngsters making their debut in this film. Despite a few hiccups, Meghna too is pretty confident about the future. And she has clearly cast a spell on Fardeen.
"She's a very talented girl. She knows acting quite well. She has been trained under the famous Ebrahim Alkazi, and she was terrific on screen," he tells you with ardour, adding that they vibed well during the film.
"It started off with the photo session we did at Madh Island. We were supposed to look romantic, passionate and all that. Now, there were a couple of crabs and a few starfish on the sand, and suddenly they would tickle either Meghana or me, and she would burst into laughter. After some time, we began concentrating, managed a straight face and did the shoot well." Of course, the girl could take enthusiasm to excess, he admits.
For instance, during another scene, when she was supposed to run in at him and hug him.
"But she lunged at me. And I felt a tremendous blow on my face. I thought there might be blood all over it. But there wasn't. She was just being natural.... I managed to do the shot, but I can't forget it...
So he is satisfied with his work in the film?
"But can any true actor be satisfied with his work? He will keep finding faults in whatever he does. But then, on the whole, the film looks good; it looks young and alive, to cater to the college-going audiences," says this lad, who learnt the ropes of film-making at the University of Massachusetts, USA, after doing his FY B Com in Bombay.
"I just wanted to learn direction. But I also had to learn acting as art of the course. It was when I started acting, I guess, that the bug bit me." He smiles.
Entering films, says Fardeen, was his own decision.
"My father has never forced me to do anything. He gave me the freedom to do what I liked," he says. But brought up on a staple diet of movies, it was a natural step for him too. But unlike other star kids, he missed the pampering.
And before he faced a desi camera, he had to relearn his basics. There was a stint at Kishore Namit Kapoor's acting classes and lessons in dance from Shakoor Sheikh to go through. What about diction, we asked.
Fardeen says he is privileged to have Feroz Khan as father and mentor. "His contribution to my grooming is incalculable. An experienced actor and director, he knows how to extract performances. And though I get lot of love and affection from him, he doesn't do me any special favours." Though his father has given him a break, filmdom did not begin and end with your father, he said.
"You need exposure. And to get the maximum you must work with different directors," he says earnestly. "A few directors have approached me. Though I haven't signed any other film till date, talks are going on for a few projects." And once his first film is out, he says, he's willing to work with other directors too.
"I'm treading cautiously. I just cannot do any film that comes my way. I have to be little bit choosy."
Is Prem Aggan a typical Feroz Khan film, we inquire. "Oh, it looks a typical Feroz Khan film, with all the glamour and glitz," he laughs.
But how was it adjusting to Indian cinema after learning the art in the US?
"See, it is nothing more than a cultural bias. They taught me some things exclusive to them and their culture. The body language, certain things about baby-sitting... All these aren't found here. But then, the method of acting is more or less similar." Just because they are subtler did not mean that they were better actors, he says.
"You grow by working with directors of art films. We have many actors in our industry who came from theatre and art movies but are now doing equally well in commercial films."
He says he still owes a lot to the time he spent with Ed Golden.
"I learned the basics of acting from him. Besides, I learned film-making. I spent some of the most important years of my life in America learning all about the trade while I completed a course in business administration." So is he considering business too?
"No. I'm much more focussed now. I know what I have to do. Things came to me on a silver platter but I have to learn to act, dance, fight and do everything that other newcomers do. Then, depending on this film's fate, I might get other roles too..."
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