Farhan Akhtar on his role(s) in Karthik Calling Karthik and his twin responsibilities as filmmaker and actor

Filmmaker-actor Farhan Akhtar is all smiles at the promotion rounds for his upcoming flick Karthik Calling Karthik. In a breezy chat, Bollywood's new hit machine talks about acting, his leading lady Deepika and, of course, Rock On which made it to the National Awards list. Excerpts:

Considering there are two Karthiks in the title, do you play a double role or do you have a split personality in the film?

I play Karthik, who is someone with confidence issues. He's always in the corner. There is a girl in his office, Shonali (Deepika), whom he likes a lot. But then some phone calls start and change his life. After you see the film, we will talk about who the other Karthik is.

You are paired with an actor, Deepika, who is taller than you. Was that embarrassing?

It is a myth that she is taller. She isn't. Even if she is taller than me, there is no question of embarrassment. It is who you are.

So what was the most embarrassing thing about Karthik …?

I'm very embarrassed about the fact that I had to learn how to ride a bike. It is something you should know from your growing up years, but I never took to it. When I was a kid, I was very accident-prone, and mum extracted a promise from me that I wouldn't ride a bike. I was happy driving my car till I signed the film where I was told that I would need to ride a bike. I finally learnt how to ride; and got a licence too.

And what about those intimate scenes with Deepika? Did you prepare yourself?

How do you prepare yourself to do romantic scenes? Should I have stood in front of a mirror and given romantic looks? Deepika and I are very comfortable on the sets and before we acted intimate, we did hang out a lot.

Your transformation from director to actor is quite unique. How would you evaluate your acting abilities?

The stories in which I act are those I love and those that challenge me, so in a way my work is made simple. Fortunately, I don't have to do anything I'm not excited about. Karthik's director, Vijay Lalwani, and earlier, Zoya Akhtar and Abhishek Kapur, have all done their first film with me, but they were very focussed and clear about what they wanted, which in turn helped me because I'm still learning the craft of acting.

Your production Rock On has won the National Award. That's a major affirmation of your filmmaking abilities.

Last year, we had a couple of new directors in Abhishek and Zoya, and now we have Vijay Lalwani who has made a fantastic film. Karthik Calling Karthik is a very special film. Every time we work with somebody new, it has been special.

What is more alluring to you — acting or directing?

They both serve a common purpose — making a film.

Do the roles overlap? Will you ever direct yourself?

When I'm acting, I don't think about directing and vice versa.

How do you decide that you want to produce a film, or you want to act in it?

Simple. When someone comes and says I want you to produce a film I become the producer. If someone comes and says ‘I want you as an actor', I become the actor. For example, right now we are doing a film with Abhinav Deo which has Abhishek Bachchan in it. He said he wanted us as the producer and we were more than happy as our aim is to make films.

You have this fascination for new directors…

It is not that I'm working only with new directors. After Zoya's second film, I will be working with Sudhir Mishra on a very powerful script.

Is it Farhan calling Farhan? Whom do you call the most?

My wife and kids.

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