Fardeeen Khan who was spotted in Mumbai at casting director Mukesh Chhabra’s office, is all set to make a comeback to the Indian entertainment industry. He was last seen in the film Dulha Mil Gaya in 2010 in the august company of Sushmita Sen. In a candid interview with Subhash K Jha, Fardeen comes clean on his last ten years.
You’ve been completely off the radar, and now you planning a comeback?
Yes, I’ve been away. And yes, I am planning to return to cinema. This is such an exciting time to be working again, don’t you think?
Yes, there is so much happening?
Indian cinema has evolved so much. I guess it was long over-due. Technological advancement is part of that growing process. Whatever the reason, the maturity and diversity in the kind of films being made is definitely something to be happy about.
What kept you away for so long?
Subhash, it wasn’t planned. I never thought I’d be away for so long. But it happened.Initially my wife Natasha and I had to move to London because we were having challenges(to face) in having children. In 2013 we finally had our daughter. Four years later our son was born. Each time there was a bundle of joy in the house it just took over our lives. I didn’t even know how when so much time flew by. I had to be up and down between Mumbai and London. Because we had chosen the IVF route it wasn’t easy for my wife Natasha . I had to be by her side.
So time just flew by?
Initially we thought we’d be away from Mumbai for only 2-3 years. If only life were that simple! Being away wasn’t planned, I was dealing with circumstances. Now I am blessed with two beautiful children.And the time I’ve spent with them away from work has been so beautiful. My children and I share an amazing bond.I count my blessings every day, Subhash. I have a lot to be grateful for. Now I see the children a little more settled.I feel it’s time for me to get back to work.My return to work happened organically. It happened when it was meant to happen.Having returned I find the entire landscape of the film industry has changed.
Are you back for good now?
Subhash ,I’ve always been going back and forth between Mumbai and London.I spent half my time there and half my time here.This time I’m back with a purpose. I want to do good meaningful work. I think this is the new golden-age of cinema. It’s encouraging to see such a diversity of cinema happening. Recently there was some publicity over a picture that someone clicked.
You mean the body-shaming over your overweight?
That’s a closed chapter in my life,Subhash.It happened when it had to happen.I was never aggressively active on social media. That was a shocking introduction. Social media is a whole new reality. Everyone is learning how useful or damaging it can be. I think we’re all on the learning curve regarding the social media.We just have to be responsible with it.
Is your family with you in Mumbai?
No, my children have school in London .My daughter is 7 so all our decisions have to be according to her school calendar. So the move to Mumbai will have to be in June next year.I am now heading back to London for the holidays. Will be back in January. I’ve been in Mumbai for a month now.The response has been very encouraging. It’s very heartwarming that people still remember me after ten years.I’m looking forward to working again. I am exploring the new landscape in our film industry. The old landscape is being re-defined. Work ethics have transformed. People are far more professional. With all these new movie-making platforms it’s all very exciting and new to me.
Have you been in touch with friends like Ram Gopal Varma?
I have had a few interactions on the phone.With Covid , I have to be careful because I’ve my mother living nextdooor to me in Mumbai. Hopefully next year with the vaccine it will all be better .
So you are determined to return?
I am up for all challenges. Of course I’ve years of experience behind me,and the older you grow the wiser you get. But my mindset is that of a newcomer. I feel I am just starting out.I am excited, Subhash. I am not coming back with any assumptions or any sense of entitlement . I just want to do good work.The new platforms have made our cinema relevant and progressive. We are such a rich country. I mean India and US are the two biggest experimental democracies of the world. There is so many stories to tell in these two countries.
I can see your father (actor-filmmaker Feroz Khan) smiling down on your enthusiasm?
Well, yes. I have his blessings and hopefully some of his experience.