Choreographer Farah Khan was at her wittiest best at an in-conversation session at the ongoing International Film Festival of India (IFFI) Goa. She spoke to journalist Rajeev Masand about her journey of choreographer and then as a director. You wear many hats...Rajeev started the conversation with. To which Farah answered, “Primarily I am a mother to my three children. I have directed only 4 movies in 12 years. So that is something I have done the least.”
What are the challenges when it comes to choreographing the song, “it is easy to choreograph when a director has clear vision, how the song has to look. Mani Ratnam has great clarity he pushes the technicians to give their best.” “Kundan Shah, Mansoor Khan...they all are great.”
On being accused of making masala films, Farah said, “Please don’t leave your brain or any part of your body behind. A general perception is that a film that has entertainment that has no value. Unfortunately, we all are prejudiced.”
“I love all sort of films...I love them (Art films) for their serenity. I admire movies that let you be. The only thing a film shouldn’t do is to bore you. I don’t expect a film to educate you...at least in a preachy manner...because I went to school. I loved the film Munna Bhai that has entertainment along with a good message.”
Do films really have an impact on society? “Gandhigiri would have been a big thing or India Pakistan treaty would have happened after Main Hoon Na if that was the case.”
When asked about being addressed as a female director, Farah said, “It’s not a gender specific job. Don’t slot me. Lot of women directors accept and revel in that bit I reject that.”
Why don’t we make more women-centric films?
“Because there is a business module. A big ticket film with big hero tends to earn more. Audiences don’t go to watch the films with women in lead. They want to go and watch a big hero film over a female centric film.”
On being blamed for making masala films, “No director should be told what to make or not make. In all my movies I make sure that the woman has a job, they r not only there because they want to get married. You won’t see any obscenity or vulgar scenes in my films.”
Talking about Item songs...Farah said, “in the 90s and early 2000 we did a lot of songs. When we look back, we wonder if that really happened. Now as you grow and learn, you realise you shouldn’t do these kind of songs where you objectively women. Now you are careful...sometimes people also get touchy about frivolous things but a lot has changed too.”
Talking about the song Deewangi from Om Shanti Om, when asked if she managed to get all the actors she wanted, Farah laughed...
“Aamir drove me crazy for ten days but he couldn’t make it because he was editing Taare Zameen Par...After 4 years he told me he didn’t want to do the song.
Shahrukh told me he would bring Saira ji and Dilip ji...I am still waiting for that day. Dont leave a thing on a man to do she said with tounge in cheek.
Talking about the iconic Chaiyaa Chaiyaa song, Farah said, “We couldn’t get the permission to shoot at the station, so we managed to shoot it on top of a train and without rehearsals, we did it in 4 days...no one fell.” she laughed.
We approached Shilpa to Raveena... lot of actors but no one did it. Malaika did the song and became a star after that.
I got lot of international films because of that song...Bombay Dreams, Vanity Fair even a Chinese film Perhaps Love.
“The idea of Om Shanti Om in fact germinated because of Bombay Dreams even the end credit things (songs where the technicians are introduced) came from there.”
Talking about how there are less song and dance numbers now a days, She said, “Lot of songs today are non lip Sync. Soon You might not have songs to dance on.”
Talking about remixes, “I am fed up of remixes. I don’t know why they are making them..it’s a call the music company has taken. Because it is nostalgic. A retro songs catches fast.”
She also spoke about her web show called Back Benchers. “It is a quiz show...sometimes we dumb it down when we know which celebrity is coming she said with a wink.
Anything that you wish to do in say next 5 years?
I definitely want to make Tom Cruse dance