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Happy Birthday Farhan Akhtar: Films that prove he’s a force to be reckoned with in front of the camera and behind it

The actor-filmmaker has not only put up some stunning performances on screen but has also made his mark as a skilled director with films like Dil Chahta Hai.

  • Shilpa S

  • OTTplay

Last Updated: 06.16 PM, Jan 09, 2022


Throughout his two-decade-long career, Farhan Akhtar has been a busy bee. The star seems to have tried to pack a lifetime’s worth of filmmaking experience into those years, trying his hand at all that the industry has to offer, from acting to directing to producing to writing and even playback singing.

Getting his start assisting on 1991’s Lamhe, the script for which was written by his mother Honey Irani, Akhtar started to venture into directing and writing, helming his first film in 2001, Dil Chahta Hai. Not one to be limited, he next made his mark in front of the camera with his on-screen debut in Rock On and has not looked back since. His work spanning across genres has earned him numerous accolades, with his films becoming hits with audiences and critics alike.

As the star turns another year around the sun, here is a look back at some of his most memorable works to date.

Rock On!!
After making strides as a filmmaker, Akhtar ventured into acting with Abhishek Kapoor in 2008, on which the former also served as producer. This musical drama revolves around the story of a group of friends who start a band, which unfortunately disbands just as they are on the verge of "making it". A chance encounter almost a decade later brings them all together yet again, and past feelings start to bubble up. Akhtar stars as Aditya Shroff, a man who initially left behind his wealthy lifestyle to pursue his music passion, who finds himself living a dull existence when his band breaks up. With a large following, some marvellous musical performances, and a solid debut performance by Akhtar, the film makes for an entertaining watch no matter what your music tastes are.
Bhaag Milkha Bhaag
Milkha Singh etched his name in Indian history to become one of the most iconic athletes of our time. In the 2013 film, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, Akhtar reminds us just how Milkha became the revolutionary athlete that he is. Based on the late track star’s autobiography, The Race of My Life, it follows his tragic childhood and meteoric rise as a world-class gold medal-winning sprinter through his hard work and perseverance. Akhtar portrays the titular athlete, and his performance as the Flying Sikh is lauded by fans and critics alike.
Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara
Farhan teams up with his sister Zoya in this delightful comedy-drama. The film tells the tale of three friends who decide to take a long trip together on the heels of one of them getting engaged. As the trip progresses and each of them takes part in life-changing experiences together, their bond becomes stronger than ever and they start viewing life from a new perspective. Akhtar stars as Imran Qureshi, a copywriter grappling with his inner demons, which he slowly starts to vanquish through the course of his trip. The acclaimed film made waves among fans and critics, with some highlighting Farhan’s nuanced and layered performance as standing out from the pack.
Dil Chahta Hai
With his 2001 directorial debut, Dil Chahta Hai, Akhtar seemed to have hit it out of the park on his first try. The coming-of-age film depicts how when love and friendship collide, it may lead to some unexpectedly poignant results. The message is hit home through the story of three young men, thick friends through college, whose friendship becomes strained when they start to embark upon romantic relationships. Akhtar, who wrote and directed the film, was commended for his efforts, with many calling the film a groundbreaking coming-of-age story with a fresh take on the genre.
The Sky Is Pink
A poignant drama based on the life of Aisha Chaudhary, The Sky Is Pink tells the heartbreaking story of parents whose daughter becomes afflicted with a debilitating illness. The story is narrated by their deceased teen daughter and traces the trials and tribulations the parents face grappling with their youngest daughter’s illness, the disease to which they have already lost their first child. Akhtar gives a memorable and raw performance as the grieving father and worried husband, whose anguish becomes palpable after he finds his wife and grows more distant after his daughter’s death. The hard-hitting drama deals with some very difficult themes in a sensitive, yet authentic way.

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