Great banter with the one and only Farah Khan…
When we heard that the most vivacious director and choreographer in Bollywood, Farah Khan would be participating in this year’s London Asian Film Festival, we could hardly contain our excitement. We had the grand opportunity to share a few laughs with her and some pouting selfies which she herself insisted on taking, as well as listening to her thoughts and anecdotes about her journey as a choreographer thus far. We love Farah for being so real, fun and her fearlessness in speaking her thoughts. Be prepared for some laugh out loud moments, along with some exclusive insight into some of your favourite film stars that Farah has worked with. Warning: you may not see them in the same light again...
Rapid Fire Round
In true Koffee With Karan style, we couldn’t resist having a go at putting Farah on the spot, much like her good friend Karan does so well…
If you could cast one actress to do an item number to Farah Ki Jawani as an ode to you, who would you choose and why?
My jawani left me a long time ago darling! Does it have to be an Indian actress? No? So I would choose Jennifer Lopez.
If you were a heroine, which hero would you choose to be cast opposite?
Tom Cruise! I’m phir going for Hollywood! As you can see, I have no interest in Bollywood actors! I have worked with all of them, so it’s fine. I was happy working with Boman in our movie together. If I chose Shah Rukh, we would only be laughing the whole time and I don’t think we’d get any work done!
What are your pet hates that take your temper to another level?
Oh god, lots of things! On set, it’s inefficiency. People should know what they are doing. It really irritates me, people being lazy and inefficient at work, as a lot of money is wasted by just one person who has not done what they were supposed to do and then 5 hours are wasted along with lakhs of rupees. So people don’t realise, it’s a dominoes effect.
And to all those Bollywood couples who are so blatantly in a relationship now, but refuse to go on record and admit it – what would you like to say to them?
(Thoughtful/apprehensive silence). I don’t know, maybe they’re getting a kick out of denying it!
Even though they’re living together?!
I mean, each to their own, but they must be feeling that if it’s so open, the fun goes out of it. So maybe they’re doing it to keep it clandestine and there’s still some excitement to it, otherwise they are just an old married couple.
Who do you think is the best female and male dancer at the moment in Bollywood?
Out of the males, it has always been Govinda. Female….these girls are not dancing anymore! They’re all playing these hardcore sad and intense roles. There’s hardly any item numbers anymore – it could be the last of them.
You have to keep creating more, keep it alive! You’re so good at it!
Ok! Girls – Katrina has become a fabulous dancer. You have to push all of them actually. In terms of Katrina, she kind of pushes you, because she’s very driven and she’ll go on rehearsing and she’s never happy. But all the others, you have to keep pushing them. You have to keep saying, come on now, you can do better, put more energy in!
Other than those you have already cast, who would be your ideal hero/heroine duo?
Hmm…can’t be Tom Cruise and me no? (Laughs) Hmm…you’re making me think now! I think Hrithik and Deepika? I think they would look nice together, a good looking couple.
What’s next for you?
I have nothing right now, I am on a sabbatical! I was so exhausted after Happy New Year. It was two years of physical and mental hard work. First shooting and then promoting, editing. Then immediately after that, I got Big Boss and now Farah Ki Dawat is doing really well. But now, this is the time to do all the things I used to dream about doing whilst shooting, like having facials, I need to work out, I need to lie in bed and watch Game of Thrones season 5! So that’s what I will do for the next two months! And then maybe some idea will pop into my head.
Is Happy New Year 2 happening?
Abhishek clearly wants it to happen and has told Ed Sheeran that he is doing a role in Happy New Year 2. It is actually all Abhishek’s fantasy! So he is writing the script for Happy New Year 2, I’ve told him and the entire cast – if you come up with a good enough idea we’ll make it happen. We actually had a blast whilst making the movie. If you ask any of the actors in the film, what is the movie where you had the most fun in your entire career, they’ll all say Happy New Year.
As we all listened on in anticipation to Farah’s conversation with fellow choreographer Sonia Sabri for her Choreography Masterclass held at the Southbank Centre, initially there was a tinge of disappointment that Farah would not actually be leading a dance class! So gym gear and dance mode aside, Farah’s lovable personality made up for it, not to mention the array of scoops she indulged us with, regarding the actors she worked with!
It is always refreshing to hear a high profile talent admit that they are not perfect, and Farah did just that when she divulged that she was not happy with the choreography she did for Gaghra from the movie Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, and she felt that she let Madhuri Dixit down. Apparently, the soundtrack was completed so last minute, that it hardly allowed her any time to come up with the choreography, although the audience graciously reassured her how much they loved the dance to that song! We weren’t so surprised when she revealed that Hrithik Roshan is so painstakingly precise with every minute step, that it’s irritating! That reflects in his performances consistently.
Here are some more exclusive highlights and quotes from Farah herself…
The not so glamorous side of working in Bollywood
‘Whilst shooting for Chaiya Chaiya, I was hiding under a blanket atop the train covered in black soot whilst the filming was going on!’
‘Tabu is my best friend but she has two left feet.’
‘Ajay Devgan and Sunny Deol are really bad dancers.’
‘I loved choreographing Satrangi Re, even though behind the scenes everyone was dropping like flies due to the high altitude we were at in those stunning locations. Also, Manisha Koirala had gotten so fat that none of the costumes fit her, so we had to improvise with the costumes, like wrapping ropes around her! That’s also why we made what we called a giant red condom and put her in the middle of that large piece of cloth!’
‘Dance comes from the music, so when working with the likes of A R Rahman, you will probably hear the songs before we do, that’s how late we get his completed songs! This makes it very difficult to choreograph a song you have hardly heard or know.’
‘When I shoot my girls in my songs and films, I make them look sexy and confident, not objectified and voyeuristic. However, I admit that I love objectifying Shah Rukh by throwing water over him and making him topless and work out to get his eight pack – I think it’s high time, as women have been objectified for ages in Bollywood.’
‘I always feel bad for the girls who would appear in thin saris in snowy scenes, but what I hated even more were the boots that would be popping out underneath the sari! But let’s face it, who wants to see the heroine in a big bulky man jacket?!’
Changing perceptions of Bollywood
‘Everything is blamed on Bollywood these days, like vile acts of rape and sexual abuse. The good things should be also be taken from films shouldn’t they?’
‘The art film mafia has emerged, which rips to shreds entertainment movies. There are so many angst ridden, depressing, dark movies being made and not enough fun movies. If this continues, my kids will have no movies to watch. But I will tackle that by making another commercial blockbuster.’