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Updated: May 20, 2010 18:20 IST

My first break: Farah Khan

Anuj Kumar
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Director Farah Khan. Photo: Rajeev Bhatt
The Hindu Director Farah Khan. Photo: Rajeev Bhatt

How it happened

My father Kamran Khan was a film director and my mother is the sister of Honey and Daisy Irani. He made some B-grade action thrillers, mostly with Dara Singh. Some of them did well but during the latter half of his career he suffered heavy loses. Perhaps that's why he didn't want his kids to join the industry. But if something is in your genes you can't resist it for long. I had a natural flair for dancing and during my college days at St. Xavier's I used to have a dance group. We used to perform in college fests but I didn't take it too seriously. My aim was to become a director. I started assisting Mansoor khan. One day during the shooting of “Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar” in Kodaikanal, Saroj Khan, didn't turn up. She had taken up some assignment. Mansoor was in no condition to cancel the shoot. So he asked me to choreograph the song. I was already working with Sarojji on the song. That's how I got “Pehla Nasha”. At that time the industry was changing and for a youthful film based on student life, Mansoor didn't want pelvic thrusts. He wanted a fresh feel to it and we complemented each other. We decided to shoot in slow motion. It was something new for the industry which relied on pre-determined steps. It became a rage and I arrived on the scene.

How did it feel

Success has many fathers. Suddenly the industry started looking at me as a choreographer and my dream to be a director took a back seat. For some years I didn't mind it. I introduced a new work ethic. As I am not a classically trained dancer, I didn't carry a chip on my shoulder. Instead of pushing actors to learn my style, I worked around their strengths. It didn't work always but mostly it proved effective. It gave a natural feel to the songs. I don't tell dancers what to do. I jump among them and have a big party. This way the songs look fresh and casual.

How life changed

With a lot of work, financial security was no longer an issue. I wanted creative satisfaction. I started shooting songs on my own. I choreographed “Chaiyyan Chaiyyan” in four-and-a-half days because we had the train for only five days. Shah Rukh and I used to talk about cinema and he largely agreed with my conviction that cinema is primarily about entertainment. I grew up watching Manmohan Desai's films and wanted to reinvent the genre with modern sensibilities. In the 80s middle aged heroes used to play college boys without reason, I invented one. That how “Main Hoon Na” happened and my life changed for real.

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