'In the mist of all the hungama created on screen, we should not lose sight of the fact that it's about the story.'
'The audience is telling us we are spending a lot of money to watch a film, give us something that is worth it.'
Farhan Akhtar braves the freezing temperatures at Mumbai's Mehboob Studios under a warm jacket.
"I am confident it's a good film," Farhan says of Lucknow Central.
"I am happy and proud of the film Ranjit (Tiwari, director) has made as a first-time director."
"Nobody sets out to make a bad film or a film that won't work," Farhan tells Rediff.com's Jahnavi Patel.
"Somewhere, something gets wrong in translation and the film doesn't turn out as you expected."
As a director yourself, did you have suggestions for Ranjit Tiwari?
When I direct films, actors give me suggestions. That's how it is.
You collaborate with people and everyone gives suggestions.
You can get them from the cameraman, the production designer or the costume designer.
That's a part of filmmaking.
I give suggestions not because I am a director myself, but because I am a part of the film.
Qaidi Band, a film with a similar story, released recently. Was that a matter of concern?
I have not seen that film, so I don't know what happens in it.
With the trailer, it's not clear.
How did you prepare yourself for your character? We don't see someone like this in our everyday life.
That's true. It's a new milieu, and I can't remember the last time there was a film like this.
It was a nice change for me to play somebody from a small town, from UP.
There is a certain connection that my family has with Lucknow, although not with the jail! (laughs)
I didn't want to do much research about the jail because my character Kishan Mohan goes to jail.
I wanted the innocence and the element of discovery to be intact.
Is it easy to focus on singing when you have so many roles to play -- actor, director, producer?
I have always enjoyed music and singing.
Rock On!!, on a huge level, was the tipping point for me as it gave me the opportunity to sing professionally.
With singing, or rather anything in life, if you want to really want to get good at it, it's a discipline you need to create within yourself. You have to keep practising.
My schedule does not permit me to practice much, but I do take my guitar along so that I can play something even if it's for an hour.
I do feel sad that I can't practice every day.
When will we see you direct again?
When I am ready.
There is no script in mind right now.
Films are failing at the box office. Where do you think we are going wrong?
There is a demand from the audience to tell good stories.
Film-making is actually story telling in an audio visual format.
In the mist of all the window dressing and all the hungama created on screen, we should not lose sight of the fact that eventually, it's about the story.
Maybe that gets a little diluted.
Like, (people feel) let's just create a spectacle.
The focus on story and writing will not as dominant as it should be.
The audience is telling us we are spending a lot of money to watch a film, give us something that is worth it.
The story should be human, relatable and understandable.
Dil Dhadakne Do just broke even despite a lot of acclaim.
As a company (Excel Entertainment, which Farhan and Ritesh Sidhwani run) we don't want to compromise on the director's vision.
Producers lose money on films.
You only have your belief to go on.
Today, it may not work with a certain film, but tomorrow, you may score big.
Eventually, in life, it may balance itself out.
Nobody in this industry sets out to make a bad film or a film that won't work.
Somewhere, something gets wrong in translation and the film doesn't turn out as you expected.
Actors have been refunding losses made by distributors. What's your take on this?
If there is a substantial loss to people who have believe in your film, it's a good gesture.
You don't want someone to be miserable because of the work that you've done.
They've believed in you, so it's important to look out for them.
Photographs: Kind courtesy, Farhan Akhtar/Instagram