Farhan Akhtar ‘couldn’t see himself acting’ back in early 2000s, refused a role in Rang De Basanti
It seems Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra is very fond of Farhan Akhtar. The duo worked together on Bhaag Milkha Bhaag and has Toofaan lined up next. But, in a recent interview, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra revealed that Farhan was also offered a role in his 2006 blockbuster Rang De Basanti.
According to the filmmaker, he had initially offered the role of Karan Singhania (which was later played by Siddharth) to Farhan Akhtar. The film, starring Aamir Khan in the lead role, featured a group of college students who turn rebels for a cause.
However, Farhan, who had made his directorial debut with the widely acclaimed romantic comedy Dil Chahta Hai in 2001, was working on his next project Lakshya when Rakeysh offered him Rang De Basanti. Farhan was reportedly left amused by the offer.
Rakesh was quoted as saying, “He was truly amused because he had just made Dil Chahta Hai and was finishing Lakshya. I told him I wanted him to act in my film and he could not believe it at that point of time! I had offered him the part of Karan, which was the only author-backed character in the whole film. Farhan was fascinated. I could see the twinkle in his eyes (sic).”
Rakeysh added that Farhan had loved the script, but could not “see himself acting” at that point in time.
Farhan won accolades for Dil Chahta Hai and Lakshya, and finally made his acting debut in 2008 with the musical drama, Rock On. He later worked with Rakeysh in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, a biopic on the late Olympian athlete Milkha Singh. The film earned two National Awards - Best Popular Film and Best Choreography. The latter went to Ganesh Acharya.
The two of them have now reunited for Toofaan, another sports drama that is set to release on Amazon Prime Video on July 16. Toofaan is about a disgraced boxer who becomes a street goon after his career is affected. The movie also stars Paresh Rawal and Mrunal Thakur.
Explaining what the movie was about and how he went about the story, Rakeysh said in the interview, “With Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, I could tell the story of a normal person stuck in partition, through sports, through conquering the losses of life and finding a larger meaning. Rather than running away from your demons, facing and beating them (sic). In Toofaan, I studied the psychology of boxers. I spoke to a lot of boxers, in India and abroad. One thing I found in common was that they could take a beating. Not just a physical beating, they’ve taken a beating in their lives. Deep down, the emotions are real. In each character, you’ll see your reflection. Through their struggle, you’ll relate with yours, through their fight and resolution, you’ll get inspired and feel that ‘even I can win the battle of life’ (sic)."
“It’s not just a boxing ring film, not about winning a bout but having a fulfilling journey in your life. Characters emerge when their backs are against the wall, not when the going is good. It’s a story of people and relationships,” Rakeysh concluded.