The son of scriptwriters Javed Akhtar and Honey Irani, and grandson of famed Urdu poet Jan Nisar Akhtar, Farhan Akhtar makes his acting and singing debut in Rock On!!, which tells the story of four friends who try to put together a rock band. Produced by his film house Excel Entertainment, the movie revisits themes like love and friendship, which he explored in earlier films such as the critically-acclaimed Dil Chahta Hai (DCH).
A coming of age film about four college buddies, DCH won him a devoted following among India’s younger generation and established him as a heavyweight in Indian cinema. His later films, Lakshya and Don—The Chase Begins Again , were also well received. With Rock On!! playing in cinemas across the country, Akhtar spoke to us about his five favourite rock bands:
The Beatles (See picture)
The 1960s’ pop phenomenon from Liverpool represents “a study in the creative evolution of a band” whose major body of work was done in a period of six years, from 1964 to 1970. “(They were) prolific songwriters, with the ability to create a hook within the first 20 seconds of a track,” Akhtar says.
Led Zeppelin (See picture)
Vocalist Robert Plant and guitarist Jimmy Page were behind what is regarded as one of the first heavy metal bands. It drew inspiration from many sources, including soul and funk. Akhtar calls the musicians “the greatest” of their time and an “inspiration for generations to follow”.
Pink Floyd (See picture)
The English rock band’s writing “transcended just being lyrics for a song (and became) storytelling”. Akhtar rates these rockers as one of the best acts to watch live, and describes their shows as an experience more than a performance. According to him, the musicians are “masters of creating soundscapes”.
The Doors (See picture)
Jim Morrison, the founder of the rock band behind iconic hits such as “Break On Through (To The Other Side)” and “Light My Fire” who died aged 27 under mysterious circumstances, was a “poet, thinker, philosopher, legend”, says Akhtar. “Died too early. Too early.”
Pearl Jam (See picture)
Fronted by Eddie Vedder, the poster boy for 1990s grunge, Pearl Jam was one of the most influential bands to emerge out of Seattle. Their debut album ‘Ten’ is Akhtar’s “top rock album from the last two decades”.