'Online marketing is now integral to a films promotion'

Written by Sudipta Datta | Updated: Dec 7 2011, 07:23am hrs
Its been a great year for Farhan Akhtar. In his fourth outing as actor in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, after Rock On!, Karthik Calling Karthik and Luck By Chance, he delivered a hit. ZNMD ran in theatres for more than four weeks, in a month, which also saw the release of Delhi Belly, Murder 2 and Singham. Incidentally, all four films did well at the box office, making July one of the best months for Bollywood in 2011. This year, Farhan also gets to be writer, director and producer with the sequel of the Don remake, Don 2. With Shah Rukh Khan in the lead, it is one of the most anticipated releases of the year set to release on December 23 in both 2D and 3D. Farhan Akhtar speaks to FEs Sudipta Datta on how he came about writing a sequel to an iconic film, marketing Don 2 and why he doesnt want to over-excite the audience about the film. Excerpts:

What went into the writing of a sequel to an iconic films remake

It was written with a lot of excitement. I was intent on creating a second chapter in the life of this interesting and complex individual. When the remake of the original 1978 film released in 2006, we ended the film in such a way that people would second guess what is likely to happen if there is a sequel. That was a challenge, to write the film in such a way that the excitement is intact. The character has the potential to evolve, grow and I worked my script around that.

Shah Rukh Khan has a lot of mannerisms we have come to associate with him. How did you get around them for Don 2

As a director you have to come to an understanding with the actor that the character will behave in a certain way. There are certain ways in which a don would never react. So, Shah Rukh, too, stays away from certain expressions or ways of speaking. If you know Shah Rukh, he has a very interesting personality, a lot of style and he enthralls the audience. In Don 2, SRK has relentlessly pursued the character.

In the promos, we see a lot of red and orange hues. Is there a reason for this

I had a discussion with cameraman Jason West and told him I wanted it to look different. Don 1, if you remember, was grim and steel grey. While shooting Don 2 we had some amazing locations and many of them had red and orange hues thats how these colours find place in the film.

All this while Aamir Khan has been known to market his films very well but you arent doing too badly with Don 2 with teaser promos etc

There is a lot of anticipation around the film. I think its important not to overdose while promoting a film. We wanted to build up the film slowly. We are exploiting Dons philosophy into life and businesskeeping it calm and not in your face. Over-excitement will kill the film and I dont want that.

When you released the first look, it went viral on YouTube

Viral marketing has become a huge part of every film. There has been a great response to the YouTube promo and all other forms of digital publicity.

What do you enjoy more, acting or directing

I enjoy directing and I do enjoy acting. I enjoy writing as well, but thats an extension of directing. I am very excited and fortunate that I can do both.

What can we expect from Don 2

The film stays very close to the action thriller genre. It sticks to the plot. I am also very happy with the production qualities we have brought to the film.

Is the Hindi film industry going through an interesting phase How do you feel working in the industry right now

What is very encouraging is that different kinds of films are being made. This is a very healthy sign. Take for example the month Zindagi Na Milega Dobara released. Its a great example of the variety on offer now. ZNMD did very well at the box office, but so did Delhi Belly, Murder 2 and Singhamall different films.