Farah Khan hasn’t directed a film since Happy New Year (2014), and it looks like she is not going to take up one during the ongoing pandemic. The filmmaker-choreographer says she finds it pointless to announce new projects when last year’s films are yet to release and there’s no clarity on when theatres will reopen.
She told News18 during a recent conversation, “I have decided that the day I start the shoot is the day I will announce the film. Because you announce and then something happens, or you don’t announce and the press leaks it, and then it looks like arey yeh ho raha tha, fir nahi hua. Even now when I see people announcing movies – coming next Diwali, coming next year – where are they coming? When will the theatres open? I just find it stupid now that you’re going on announcing, but what about last year’s movies that are yet to release?”
She has been making ad films in the meantime, and kept busy with shoots pretty much since the lockdown rules relaxed last year. She’s been also shooting at home with her three kids helping her.
“I’ve been directing a lot of ads, at least 12-15 of them since last year. I’ve also done a lot of digital shoots at home. My kids have become very good at all this because they shoot, so it has become a class in filmmaking for them. They’ve worked with me on ad shoots, earned their own money and actually paid for their own school fees this year,” Farah says with her trademark wit.
She’s glad to be able to shoot from home, because going on sets during a pandemic has its own dangers. “Once you go on the set, the danger is that you forget there is Covid. Everything becomes normalized within 1-2 hours. You always need to have at the back of your mind that you’re going to wear masks, that you can’t lower your guard. You can’t go hugging and kissing people and sitting with them in meetings, etc,” she says.
Farah is also one of the most popular judges on reality shows, and this time she is assessing digital creators online for a contest on Roposo, a short video platform. She, alongwith two judges, Neha Dhupia and Mukesh Chabbra, are mentoring contestants for the #MadeOnRoposo talent hunt and deciding winners at the finale on YouTube on June 25.
“It was very interesting and educational to see what content they had created. What was nice is that the contest wasn’t limited to singing and dancing, they had almost every category possible. Food, acting comedy, fitness, fashion, lifestyle, yoga – it can be anything. They have basically five broad categories that kind of put all these talents together. Why we are getting such great content is because there are so many people in small towns, villages, who can’t come to a metropolis to take part in big reality shows. All they need is a phone to connect with a platform like this,” she says.
From Indian Idol to Nach Baliye, Farah has been a judge on various TV shows for several years now. Ask her how she still finds the job interesting, and she says, “I take it as a blessing that these are the perks of being in the industry for 30 years and ragrao-ing and ghisao-ing to create a certain brand for myself that stands for some integrity and work ethic. While I’m judging, I’m also learning a lot from them. When you see new kinds of things people are doing, it opens your mind to what is happening in our country.”
“In my 29th year as a choreographer last year, I won a Filmfare award for a song that is unlike anything that I probably do. It was nothing like a Bollywood number, and you can only do that if you are abreast with the times ,” she adds.
Do you wish you had these social media platforms and these chances when starting out? Farah replies, “It is a double-edged sword. It is definitely a way to get ahead faster, but I am happy we learnt it on the job. We made our mistakes, but never got trolled. In the last 10 years, you have had to be careful about what you say and what you look like. We got some kind of freedom, that people may not have now. My kids may not have it. I maybe have had to work 10 times harder, but that made me 10 times stronger now.”
Last year Farah had put out a video aimed at people who were flaunting their privilege on social media, while thousands in the country were suffering. But during the Covid second wave this year, she has adopted a calmer approach.
“Last year the lockdown happened suddenly. And there was one tragedy after the other. Whether it was the migrants, pregnant women walking along railway tracks, families dying on the tracks… All that was just getting to me and that’s why I had the outburst. This year I have decided to live and let live, jisko jo karna hai karo. I don’t need to be the social media police,” she signs off.