Farhan Akhtar

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Farhan Akhtar : biography

09 January 1974 –

Akhtar’s first project in 2011 was the drama thriller Game, directed by Abhinay Deo. The lead cast consisted of Abhishek Bachchan, Kangna Ranaut, Boman Irani and Jimmy Shergill. Akhtar wrote the dialogues and produced the venture. The film received highly negative reviews after release, with critics panning almost all the aspects of it. At the box office, it had a poor opening, and later resulted in giving losses for the distributors, due to a heavily negative word-of-mouth. It was described as a "washout" by trade analysts.

Akhtar produced and appeared as one of the three leads in his sister, Zoya Akhtar’s coming-of-the-age film Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara along with Hrithik Roshan and Abhay Deol, starring opposite Ariadna Cabrol. He was also credited as the dialogue writer for the film. He was the first actor to be cast in the film, and described his role as a "fun character" and a "guy who for the longest time takes nothing seriously." He essayed a youth named Imraan, a copy writer working for an advertising firm in Delhi who goes to Spain to find his biological father who he had never met. His father, Javed Akhtar created his voice-over as poetry in the film. His performance was favourably received by critics, with Shaikh Ayaz of Rediff highlighting his dialogues as "gentle, they won’t make you ROFL; they are more like tender dig in the ribs." Kaveree Bamzai of India Today called his acting as "sensitive, soulful", further saying that he was "perfectly capable of reading out his father’s poetry." The film made 153 crore worldwide and was declared as a commercial success at the box office. It also became one of the highest grossing Bollywood films overseas, earning around US$7.25 million. It won two National Awards, for the Best Choreography and Best Audiography.

Later that year, he wrote, produced and directed Don 2, a sequel to his 2006 Don. It marked Akhtar’s return to direction after a gap of nearly 5 years. His decision of making a sequel was explained by him in an interview, "I am wary of sequels having to be made. With Don 2 I could finally make an action thriller the way I wanted to. Good story, classic action and simple plot which has one goal and work towards it effectively and dramatically." The film was a major success in India and went on to become the year’s highest-grossing Bollywood production abroad with a worldwide gross of 210 crore. However, it received mixed reviews from critics, with Khalid Mohammed stating, "Throughout, you can’t help feeling that Farhan Akhtar could have made three far more valuable films out of the budget squandered on this thriller where cars are smashed as if they were tea cups."

Following Don 2, Akhtar was signed up for the biopic Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra. He essays the role of Milkha Singh. For his role, he had to undergo a training phase at the gym and study the character of Milkha Singh by researching his body language. He also had to prepare his looks to depict a 17-year-old army recruit and endure an on-the-spot preparation at an army cantonment. In the meanwhile, Akhtar has also been contracted for the romantic comedy Shaadi Ke Side Effects alongside Vidya Balan, a film to be directed by Saket Chaudhary and produced by Pritish Nandy. It is a sequel to Pyaar Ke Side Effects, which had Rahul Bose and Mallika Sherawat in the lead roles.

Non-film work

Akhtar appeared as one of the nine judges in the beauty pageant, Femina Miss India (2002). He was the judge on the first season of the dance-reality show, Nach Baliye (2005). He hosted a TV show on NDTV Imagine, called Oye! It’s Friday! in the same year. He has endorsed several brands as a part of his career, especially after the release of ZNMD. These include Hindustan Unilever’s water purifier product titled Pureit, Vijay Mallya’s alcohol firm United Spirits, and watchmaker Titan Industries. His endorsements are managed by Atul Kasbekar.

Men Against Rape and Discrimination

Men Against Rape and Discrimination or MARD is a social campaign launched by Akhtar. The idea came to the mind of Akhtar when in August 2012, Pallavi Purkayastha, a lawyer by profession, was sexually assaulted and then killed by her home watchman.