Why do we love Farhan Akhtar? Not only because he is dishy, but also because he is a great actor, director and writer, serving as a good new-age role model for kids. Never mind that he is not so great as a singer – but his style worked really well for a film like Rock On!!. Writing, of course, is in his genes. Born on January 9, 1974, to two of Bollywood’s best writers – Javed Akhtar and Honey Irani – it’s not surprising that Farhan took to the vocation, and so well. But the journey hasn’t been easy for him. The man has really worked hard to be the multihyphenate that he is today. Believe it or not, he was an unambitious, sit-at-home college dropout once! His sister Zoya Ahtar, who is also a writer-filmmaker, had said in an interview that they were worried for Farhan seeing his laidback attitude. But we guess watching three-four films daily in those tough years of his life has really helped Farhan in making the kind of films that he does – the super cool kind. He started with directing Shankar Mahadevan’s Breathless music video with sister Zoya. that was 1998, and the video was a first of its kind.
Farhan established the 21st century cool genre of Bollywood films with his directorial debut, Dil Chahta Hai (2001) starring Aamir Khan, Saif Ali Khan and Akshaye Khanna. The film won a National Film Award for Best Feature in Hindi and a Filmfare Award for Best Screenplay. He followed it up with Lakshya (2004) starring Hrithik Roshan. The director in him came into his own with the remake of Don (2006). Farhan did a short film on AIDS, titled Positive, in 2007. But it was 2008 that was the ‘leap year’ for him. Farhan proved his mettle as an actor to watch out for in his production Rock On!!, garnering the Filmfare, Screen and IIFA awards for Best Male Debut and the National Award for Best Film. He also sang in the film, which itself was a brave thing to do, considering it was rock music and he is not trained in it. He also acted in Anand Surapur’s The Fakir of Venice in the same year.
Being the good brother that he is, Farhan came to Zoya’s rescue when top stars wouldn’t give her dates for her debut Luck By Chance (2009). Farhan not only played the lead with aplomb but also helped his sis with the film. He did that again with her second film, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011) which was not only a hit but touched the hearts of one and all. And Farhan’s performance – a combo of fun and poignancy – won over everyone. Before that, his 2010 film was Karthik Calling Karthik which fared average at the BO but showed how Farhan had matured as an actor. In 2011, Farhan returned as director, with Don 2 starring Shahrukh Khan again. His new film is with Sonam Kapoor, titled Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, where he plays the iconic Olympian athlete Milkha Singh.
Married to hairstylist Adhuna Bhabani Akhtar, Farhan is blessed with two daughters, Shakya and Akira. We wish Farhan a very happy birthday and a great year ahead!