He came, he sang, he conquered. Farhan Akhtar proved he is a complete entertainer at a recent show in the city

He sang what people’s Dil Chahta Hai. His unrehearsed high-energy moves reiterated his belief that Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. His 50-odd push-ups and a mock display of an exercise routine showed that he took his role — that of a sprinter in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag — seriously (the athletic frame is intact too).

Farhan Akhtar and his band kept the ecstatic audience at the Wesley Grounds rapt as they sang and danced along during a more-than-two-hour show in the city recently.

Unlike larger-than-life rock stars, Farhan looked dressed down with a just-out-of-the-classroom look in a pair of plain trousers, jacket and T-shirt. There were no costume changes either. That his heart lay in the art and the causes he espouses, and not mere showmanship, was evident enough. While his T-shirt had ‘Equal Rights’ with a struck-out 377 printed on it, halfway through his singing he stopped to recite verses he had penned on crimes against women — ‘What is this country that I live in’. No wonder, he delivered enough warmth for the huge crowd to proclaim their love for him (and he unfailingly replied ‘I love you too’) even as they madly clicked pictures when he was at close range on the ramp. The makeshift mosh pit had more crazy fans than it could hold.

Though not especially resonant, his voice didn’t waiver throughout the concert. He is not a trained singer, but there was nothing unconvincing about his presentation. Besides growing up with rockstar dreams and a diverse musical diet of Led Zeppelin, U2 (one of its tracks ‘One’ featured in this show), Guns-N-Roses and R.D. Burman, there was enough creative influence at home (he is the son of child actor-writer Honey Irani and celebrated lyricist Javed Akhtar).

As happens at such gigs, the songs were drowned in the heavy orchestration. But the guitarists and drummers shone with the individuality they lent to the hit numbers that Farhan belted out from his films. The actor-writer-director-singer’s staggering spontaneity and vigour showed that beneath the labyrinth of personas is a consummate musician. Not afraid to showcase raw emotion, he conveyed the true spirit and intensity of numbers such as ‘Maston ka jhund’, ‘Senorita’, ‘Socha Hai’, ‘Main Aisa Kyon Hoon’ and more. And every time he pointed the microphone to the fans for them to join in the singing, they did so excitedly.

Towards the end, Farhan was joined on stage by Siddharth Mahadevan (son of composer-singer Shankar Mahadevan) to render the high-voltage ‘Zinda’ from Bhaag Milkha Bhaag.

Though the performance was generic, what mattered was the pure joy that it brought to its listeners all of whom had a spring in their step as they walked out of the premises.