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Free, frank and Fardeen

Fardeen Khan, in town to open the new Provogue studio in his role as brand ambassador, chatted about films, brands, communication and dad in this freewheeling interview.

Photo: P.V. Sivakumar

DESTINY'S CHILD: Fardeen Khan believes in tempting fate.

HE IS his father's son. Just as Feroz Khan embodied style in blockbusters like Apradh, Dharmatma and Qurbani (who can forget him leaning against the bar, lighting a cigarette while Zeenat Aman swayed to Baat Baan Jaaye?), Fardeen Khan, irrespective of the way his films have fared, has been noticed for his cool attitude.

Fardeen is no stranger to Hyderabad, "I spent about four months here on and off on work," he says. "I like the city, I have good memories of Hyderabad. It's a pretty city, a green city. I like the people - they are very warm and I love the food. It is something to die for!" he says eyes twinkling behind cool, cool shades. "I put on loads of weight every time I come here."

Ask him about a role he would die for and he exclaims, "There are so many -- I would like to do Al Pacino's character in Justice For All, Brando in Street Car Named Desire, Amitabh Bachchan's roles in Deewar and Amar Akbar Anthony, Dad's role in Dharmatma, Shah Rukh Khan's role in Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge ... you see what I mean? There are so many... "

Talking about the changes in cinema, Fardeen commented, "movies these days cater to a contemporary taste. Earlier, the characters were larger than life - the villains and the heroes were etched in 70 mm. There is a whole new generation watching films, who prefer a more realistic approach."

"Now people relate to a believable milieu. Take Dil Chahta Hai for example. I cannot imagine anyone of dad's generation playing the three characters in the film. The film found acceptability mainly because of its characters who were rooted in reality and still did all these fun things that most of us would like to do. On the other hand, it is a fact that we go to the cinema to be entertained and it would be nice once a while to have these huge, wide screen experiences that would just blow the mind," he says a tad wistfully.

Commenting on the phenomenon of stars as brand ambassadors, Fardeen says, "I do not think one loses one's star aura or anything like that. I have not overdone it. I am very careful of the products I have endorsed and I feel it has been mutually beneficial. Both Provogue and Pepsi have capitalised on my image so it is not as if I have done anything totally out of character. It has been a great synergy."

Fardeen says, "It is difficult to zero on one thing I have learnt from dad. I learnt heaps from him - to be strong, not give easily, be a survivor, live in the now, live life king size... We are more friends and I can talk about anything with him without feeling awkward."

"Dad was very keen that my sister and I study abroad. He believed it would broaden our horizons. He wanted us to discover ourselves. He believed that once we discovered who we were, we would have a better idea of what we would like to do. He encouraged us to be our own people. So my sister became an artist and I became an actor."

Fardeen did Business Administration and Film at the University of Massachusetts. It was while he was doing a couple of acting courses that he was "bitten by the acting bug."

Does he suggest a change of dialogues if he feels it does not go with the character? "There are no hard and fast rules. Film is all about communication and each person has a different way of communicating. I would make a suggestion but finally it is the director's call."

As far as music, books and movies go, "I listen to all kinds of music -- acid, jazz, fusion, house, rap - anything. I think each kind of music has its uniqueness. I used to read a lot - Hugh Prather and Ayn Rand. Now there is no time. I enjoyed Monsoon Wedding as it was a refreshing and honest movie."

A Piscean, Fardeen grins as he says, "I do not go by zodiac signs. I believe in tempting fate. Let's see what happens." What was that about fortune favouring the brave? Did not say anything about charming, chilled, cool and funky, now did it?

MINI ANTHIKAD-CHHIBBER

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