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The Rediff Interview
'Khushi has everything going for it'
February 01, 2003
Fardeen Khanhas no big hits to his name. Yet the cool Khan continues to be in demand.
His latest film, Boney Kapoor's Khushi, opposite Kareena Kapoor, is kicking up quite a lot of pre-release dust. Shooting, television interviews, and a live concert in Lucknow have made him tense and tired.
Khan spoke to Subhash K Jha about his film, which releases on February 7.
Tell us about your Lucknow concert.
It was great! Earlier in my career, I had decided I would go on stage only if I had a really successful song. When Kambakht ishq happened, I had the confidence to go onstage at the Filmfare Awards last year. I think I made the right decision. Then, I gave a live performance for the Screen Awards and some more for Sahara recently. In a way, these concerts are dress rehearsals for my world tour this summer.
I am at a very exciting juncture in my life. I'm looking forward to my three releases this year: Khushi, Janasheen and Bhoot. I have also signed Govind Nihalani's Dev with Amitabh Bachchan, Om Puri and Bebo [Kareena]. It is a very interesting subject. But I cannot talk about it yet. It is a very topical and serious subject. It is a privilege and honour to have a subject and director like this and to work with fine actors like Amitji and Omji.
Did Govind Nihalani seek you out?
First, he asked Bebo about me. Then we spoke on the phone, met, and worked it out. He is a really nice man, looking forward to working with me. On the one hand, I have the commercial films, and on the other, Dev. Of course, Govindji would want his film to work commercially, too. Films like this can only help me grow as an actor.
Have you grown as an actor?
Yes. Confidence in myself and the material I am getting makes me push the envelope. I'm trying to do something different from the usual mushy stuff. Not that I think the romantic genre is dead. But someone must give a new take on it. That's why I'm excited about Khushi.
The way [director] K J Suryah has treated the romance, I don't think there has ever been a love story like Khushi. The film is about the innocent politics of love. It involves the process and discovery of love, acceptance, and understanding.
Tell us more aboutKhushi.
Though the film shows Kareena andáme fighting a lot, we are also tender. That is how the relationship is. The USP of Khushi is that it isn't the usual 'boy meets girl' kind of story. Karan, that isáme, accuses Khushi, Kareena, of constantly misunderstanding him. They separate.
Ironically, we help two of our friends get together. But we cannot address our own relationship. Isn't that how it is in real life? Khushi is about star-crossed love.
Your acting comes across as aggressive, opposite scene-stealer Kareena.
That is because the character demanded it! I followed the characterisation as per the director's instructions. I gave the character what Suryah asked from me. I would have done the same kind of acting elsewhere if required.
I did a bit of comedy in Love Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega. Yes, Aftab [Shivdasani] had more comic scenes, but I was with him in almost every scene to respond to his comedy. That helped me develop my own comic timing.
But Khushi is not about comedy. Bebo and I may look funny to the audience. But our characters are dead serious about our differences.
How is Kareena as a co-star?
Since we were together in almost all frames, it was essential to share some chemistry, trust, and rapport. We developed a professional relationship based on trust and mutual understanding. I am very fond of her.
Before Khushi, we would only acknowledge each other whenever we met. But we got close in the film. It was a memorable experience. Besides Khushi and Dev, we are doing another film for Boney Kapoor. Suryah will direct the Hindi version of his Bali. I play a double role for the first time.
I'm steering away from popcorn romance. I'm sure the audience is as bored of watching it as I am of doing it. It's been done for too many years now.
A Hum Aapke Hain Koun...!, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai will make history even today. But filmmakers have been making these repeatedly. I want to explore new genres and characters.
How has your father Feroz Khan'sJanasheen shaped up?
Pretty well. It's a very Feroz Khan kind of film -- chills, thrills, larger-than-life characters, songs. We are acting together for the first time. I do not want to categorise my dad's character as a villain. He plays a ruthless man, but he is not an out-and-out villain. He simply lives by his own principles.
In Ram Gopal Varma's Bhoot, I play a man whose moral values aren't too high.
You have sported a new look for Bhoot.
That was needed. I have a soft face. That did not go well with my character, which has grey shades. I was required to project a lot of maturity.
Bhoot was a piece of cake. In Ramu's films, everyone is really into the work. So many stars in the cast and yet you never feel it. Everyone was relaxed. Ramu clues in everyone during scripting itself, everyone feels like a part of the project. I worked with stalwarts like Rekha, Tanuja, Nana Patekar, Ajay Devgan, and Victor Banerjee for the first time. A lot of hard work was involved in Bhoot. I'm also doing another Varma production, Darna Manaa Hai.
No. I'm getting offers, but not the kind of stuff I want to do. The audience needs a change as much as I do. They want honest, contemporary films. There is an acute shortage of good and honest scripts.
Any plans to direct films?
Direction is my first love. I am confident I can swing it. Whenever I get the chance, I will. But you have to kick ass in one field before going into another. Right now, I'm focused on my acting career. I might co-produce films.
What do you think of cousin Zayed's debut?
I haven't seen his film Chura Liyaa Hai Tumne. But I've seen a song -- Mohabbat hai mirchi. It's really popular. Zayed looks confident. He seems very excited about his debut. I don't like giving advice. But yes, I do share my experiences with him.
We have to work harder than our fathers [Feroz and Sanjay Khan]! They are still so popular. My father's films are still shown on television. Wherever I travel, I am asked about him. It is a challenge to be his son. It's double-edged sword. I have to force the audience to see something beyond my father in me.
But you are different.
Yes. His strengths were style and flamboyance. I have a different take on acting.
Do you see Khushi as another turning point like Jungle?
I hope so. It has everything going for it. Khushi will find its audience. If it does, then it will be a turning point for me. I hope it takes a good opening. That is very important in today's milieu of piracy and rejection.