A highly respected and well-known figure in Bollywood, Farah Khan has established herself as a sought-after choreographer, director and now actress. She is set for her acting in Bela Bhansali Sehgal’s Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi, opposite Boman Irani. IndiaGlitz.com chatted to her about the venture...

What was your reaction when Bela approached you for the role?

I was so very perplexed. I am over 40 so I couldn’t imagine why. I was surprised, how could she conceptualise this character for me? I must confess, the film is exuberantly comical, but it is equally emotional, too.

Taking orders as an actor and not giving them as a director, what was that like?

I was bored. I am not used to being pampered, but they started pampering me on set on the first day. I felt out of place, but it was fun being pampered. I hope people pamper me all the time like that (laughs).

Did you take any acting workshops?

No. Boman and I had a reading together. Bela’s only instruction was “be natural, don’t make it caricaturist”. I didn’t even bother about how I looked in the movie. The character was easy in some places, but also not all that easy. It was not just comedy, there are scenes which will bring tears to your eyes. Especially in the climax, there’s dialogue with Boman where I cried, where he tells me about love, and I would think of my children. But many who have seen the film say I am natural in it.

Did you have any inhibitions taking up a role at this age?

Yes, I was worried, but the story was so interesting. When we had a narration, she told us that I was 35 and Boman 40 years old. We wanted to look our age so we told Bela to increase the age of the characters.

What do you feel is easier: directing, choreography or acting?

After doing this film I did understand how difficult it is to face the camera; I was out of my comfort zone. I had to work on it. I don’t like a conventional actress. I think I am only a debutant heroine at the age of 47. Age should not define you. Choreography is simple. Direction is something I love. I am a writer, director, choreographer, actor and producer all rolled into one.

Was there a moment when you directed your assistants on set?

I would tell them take a particular shot a particular way They were nervous, but I would quietly tell them that I couldn’t dance or do a particular step and they would change it for me.

Were there any scenes which embarrassed you?

Bela wanted to add a kissing scene. She tried convincing me every day during the shoot, but I told Bela that if she forced me to do kissing scenes I would walk out of the movie.

I will never perform a kissing scene as I am not comfortable doing so. I am a married woman and have three children and I don’t want to embarrass them. So Bela put in a scene where Boman tries to kiss me, but cannot for some reason or the other. She turned it into a comic scene.

There was this one scene where Boman sits in a towel and that very day my mother, my mother-in-law and my three children came to the set. Poor Boman was so embarrassed. The film is a rom-com and contains nothing vulgar at all. It is all fun-filled and an entertaining film.

Did you obey Bela to the hilt?

I did, but at times I would ask if I could make some changes with respect to my dialogue or dresses.

Now that you have debuted as an actress do you realise how actors feel? Was it easy to give up the control?

Yes, I do realise how much stress they undergo, how insecure they feel, or why they are moody. The shot, the edit, the camera, nothing is in their control. They don’t know the details of what they have enacted, or how much will be edited. Actors also want their performances to be the best and at times, they demand retakes if they are not happy. To give up that control was a little difficult.

Did Bela ask you to lose weight for the role?

She had no such demands. I am so fat in the movie. When I saw myself on screen I realised I had to lose weight so I underwent surgery. I am trying to maintain this weight now. I feel I am looking good and can carry off the clothes I wore in the film.

Did you ever feel you had acting potential and how have your loved ones reacted to this role?

Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan would always laugh at me when I would enact a scene for them. Sajid always makes fun of me. My mother was shocked and said it would be a disaster. Now after watching the film she has started saying I am good. My husband Shirish has said he will never watch the movie. But most of my industry friends have appreciated my work.

What is your take on romance at this age?

I am a very romantic person. I don’t believe there is age for romance. In fact, you are more mature at this age and your love will be true, not frivolous. I believe romance lies in simple things like going out for dinner, or an outing with your beloved, this signifies a true love. I am very middle class in my thoughts. I have those ethics in my upbringing. I can never think of romancing any man but Shirish. I thank God that I married at 40. If I had married younger I would have been divorced by now. I was very brash at that age.

Will you take up more acting assignments?

Why not? if the role is good and the money is good I will definitely do it. – indiaglitz.com