As an actor, director or producer, Farhan Akhtar has broken new ground with every project - and his winning streak continues with "Bhaag Milkha Bhaag". He says the film's "biggest" knock-on effect, however, is that filmmakers now won't see him just as the "cool urban guy".
"Of course 'Bhaag Milkha Bhaag' has earned great success in terms of its box office, but I'd like to believe that it has broken, in a lot of people's heads, this perception about me...that I can only play the cool urban guy. That's been the biggest fallout and achievement for me from 'Bhaag Milkha Bhaag'," Farhan told IANS.
His past films as an actor - debut project "Rock On!!" in 2008, followed by "Luck by Chance", "Karthik Calling Karthik" and "Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara" - have seen him in a young, chilled out and debonair avatar.
In Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's high-on-passion-and-emotion biopic "Bhaag Milkha Bhaag" on ace athlete Milkha Singh, Farhan's raring-to-go portrayal of the Flying Sikh made the audience and industry members sit up and take notice of the multi-talented star's evolving acting acumen.
"It (the film) has proved that 'he (Farhan) can apply his talent and do a character of this nature and that he can go out of his comfort zone'," said the 39-year-old, son of veteran lyricist Javed Akhtar and writer Honey Irani.
But, if harping on past laurels was his way, "it would the beginning of my end", says Farhan, who is readying to surprise the audience once again with his next romantic comedy "Shaadi Ke Side Effects".
"You can't be sitting and thinking about past successes. I can just hope to again meet someone like Rakeysh, or Abhishek Kapoor, who has a story which can inspire me enough to take it up, and say, 'Yes, this is one thing I must do.'," he added.
Farhan says the variety in his work is not a conscious, but an obvious thought.
"More often than not, an actor is bound to want to do two different kinds of projects back-to-back so that one can explore other avenues. But really, that's not what an actor goes out looking for...like I said, it's about meeting people, hoping something wonderful will emerge out of it," he said.
His own personal interactions with the legendary Milkha Singh milked his life's learnings for Farhan.
"In all honesty, I've latched on to his life's philosophy. He is so simple in his approach, and just believes that if you work as hard as you can, you will be noticed and people will recognise you for that," he said.
For Farhan, that's worked precisely - be it in his visible six-packs, Punjabi accent or the way he has immersed himself so deep into the character's skin.
But plain hard work with simplicity - is that a possible combination in a celebrity life?
"Well, your life is your life. It is, after all, what you make out of it. Simplicity is an attitude... it's just about committing yourself to everything - be it your work or relationships," said the actor, who has two children with wife, celebrity hairstylist Adhuna Akhtar.
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