In only the last 13 years, Farhan Akhtar has carved out not only one of the most successful and uniquely varied careers in Bollywood, but the entirety of cinema as a whole. He first burst onto the scene at the ripe young age of 27 as writer/director of what would become one of the most influential films in Indian film history, 2001's remarkably assured and polished romantic dramedy Dil Chahta Hai, which set a standard for contemporary Bollywood balance of narrative and character focus and Hollywood-level technical sheen with India's unique, more fancifully freewheeling cinematic storytelling traditions. That out-of-the-box success naturally led to a healthy career as not only writer/director (most notably for the action-packed Don franchise) but an even more prolific one as a producer under his shingle Excel Entertainment. However, 2008 saw his career take a more unusual turn for someone so well established behind the camera: a turn to the front, with the film Rock On!!, in which Akhtar starred as the lead but also (in a most uncommon move in the typically lip-synched world of Bollywood) lent his own voice to the soundtrack. Thus not only was Farhan Akhtar the film actor born, so was Farhan Akhtar the rock star, and now he and his band regularly tour throughout India and the world while still maintaining a fully-loaded docket of film projects in all his many capacities.
At this weekend's 15th annual Videocon D2H IIFA Weekend and Tata Motors IIFA Awards in Tampa Bay, Florida, Akhtar is one of the main star attractions, serving as co-host of the latter but also making his live musical debut in the States at the IIFA Rocks music and fashion extravaganza held on the second evening of the four-day event. To commemorate the occasion and in recognition of one of the film world's most versatile and accomplished talents on the eve of his largest global spotlight to date, I offer this excerpt from his MTV Unplugged episode from this past November--a spirited rendition of the wildly infectious, Latin-flavored tune "Señorita" from the 2011 buddy comedy Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, in which Akhtar co-starred, produced, and provided vocals.
The 15th Videocon D2H IIFA Weekend and Tata Motors IIFA Awards take place this April 23-26 in Tampa Bay, Florida.
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