Extraordinary Artists - Zoya And Farhan:
When it comes to family legacy in the Indian film industry the obvious names come to mind. You think of the generations and decades these families have spent building this legacy. And their current generation is taking this heritage forward. And then there are the Akhtars... revolutionaries in their own right. (Vidushi Talwar)
They do justice to the creative inheritance and talent bestowed upon them. The Akhtar twins have played an integral role in redefining the face of the Indian film industry with their craft. Talented, versatile and unpretentious – Farhan and Zoya keep it real. Twins Zoya and Farhan have a prominent family background in the film industry. Born to lyricist Javed Akhtar and screenwriter Honey Irani in Mumbai, their stepmother is a veteran actor and activist Shabaza Azmi. All just a foundation to embark upon remarkable journeys.
It was in 2001 when Farhan made his writing and directorial debut with Dil Chahta Hai. Zoya was the casting director for the movie. The youth immediately connected with the film, giving it a cult status. The film was fresh and urbane. It gave the cinema experience then a much needed make-over. The characters, their chemistry and the overall look and feel of the film were untailored and easy-going. Farhan gave the audience a taste of a kind of cinema which left them asking for more.
He further made Lakshya- another film which the urban youth related to and the remake of the 1978 Amitabh Bachchan starrer Don with Shahrukh Khan playing the role of the notorious criminal.
The world got a chance to witness Farhan’s multi-faceted personality with Rock On! The movie marked his acting and singing debut. Not only did people and critics fall in love with his portrayal of Aditya Shroff but he got the entire country singing their hearts out to the tracks of Rock On! In a way the music of the film and Farhan’s unconventional, inhibition-less voice promoted the rock wave in India. He’s also written lyrics for Gurinder Chadha’s Bride and Prejudice and hosted a talk-show called Oye! It’s Friday.
Zoya worked on several ad films and studied Film Production at New York University before making her directorial debut, with the 2009 released Luck By Chance, with Farhan playing the male protagonist. The film got critical accolades but was appreciated by selective audience, mostly in the urban sector. Though the movie didn’t fare well at the box office, Zoya’s directing style and story-telling finesse put her in the limelight.
July 2011 saw the release of Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara – Zoya’s second directorial venture. Starring Farhan Akhtar, Hrithik Roshan, Abhay Deol, Katrina Kaif and Kalki Koechlin – the film was appreciated by the critics and the masses. It was a hit at the box office as well. This time again, it was Zoya’s effortless and unique story-telling style which won the audience over. And, the commercial success cemented her filmmaker status.
2011 will see Farhan don the director’s hat as the release of Don 2 is awaited this year – the sequel to 2006 released remake Don.
The Akhtar twins revolutionize, reinvent and redefine their craft. It is one thing to be gifted and a whole other - to take that talent, believe in it and shine through. It is the year of the Akhtars.