‘I never forgot that question’: Farhan Akhtar recalls ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’ director being asked why ‘Punjabi actor’ was not cast

Bollywood director-turned-actor Farhan Akhtar, who is all set for the release of his second film with director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, recalls how a question during the media interaction of their first collaboration "Bhaag Milkha Bhaag" in 2013, stayed with him over the years.

In an interview with RJ Siddharth Kannan, Farhan spilled the beans about the times he was judged.

The actor spoke about a press conference during the announcement of "Bhaag Milkha Bhaag", when a journalist asked Mehra, "How come you cast Farhan in this film? Why didn’t you take some Punjabi actor only? How will he do it?"

Farhan said, "Rakeysh, of course, being Rakeysh and he had his belief, answered on my behalf and said why he chose to work with me. But I never forgot that question, it stayed with me. That question honestly fueled me so much during the making of that film, that why should anyone have this question about someone, firstly, who is an actor and without knowing what it is that they are capable of. From my point of view, it felt like someone is being judgmental not knowing what this person is capable of doing.”

Meanwhile, Farhan's upcoming film "Toofaan" promises a cinematic storm with its high on adrenaline boxing sequences.

Akhtar underwent intense training to prep for the role of Aziz Ali aka Ajju Bhai, a goon who goes on to become a national level boxer.

The film also stars "Super 30" actor Mrunal Thakur, who plays doctor Ananya and Aziz's love interest, and veteran actor Paresh Rawal as Nana Prabhu, his boxing coach.

Akhtar said the "driving force" of "Toofaan" is the incredible journey that Aziz, Ananya and Nana Prabhu are on.

"There's a lot that happens. The sport is really the backdrop... it's very exciting, of course, it's cinematic, there's adrenaline, all that stuff. But the heart of the film lies in the relationships between these characters," the 47-year-old told PTI.

"Toofaan", produced by Akhtar and his work partner Ritesh Sidhwani of Excel Entertainment and Mehra's ROMP Pictures, is slated to be released digitally on Amazon Prime Video on July 16.

Written by Anjum Rajabali and Vijay Maurya, the film also features Supriya Pathak Kapur and Hussain Dalal.

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