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On Farhan Akhtar’s Birthday, Why His Fashion In Rock On!! And Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara Is Interesting Too!


In hindsight, Farhan Akhtar actually brought a certain degree of coolness to the Hindi cinema. The actor, singer, screenwriter, director, and producer Farhan Akhtar with his 2001 cult-film Dil Chahta Hai popularised not only Goa-road trips or spiky hairstyle but also captured the sensibility and sensitivity of the youth, which was highly disregarded back then in the family drama movies particularly even if there were young adults in those movies. He captured the vulnerability of young men with his three iconic characters played by Aamir Khan, Saif Ali Khan, and Akshaye Khanna. The three characters were contrasting and because Dil Chahta Hai was a character-driven film, we enjoyed watching their respective character arcs too. Aamir Khan went on from being carefree to serious and responsible in the movie, Saif Ali Khan in the movie is seen as a hopeless romantic often finding himself in serious troubles like getting robbed by the girl he liked in Goa to actually being one of the most sensible and balanced characters. Akshaye Khanna is the most contemplative and philosophical (a stark contrast from Aamir Khan's character) in the movie who, falls for an older woman and later finds peace in letting go.

Farhan Akhtar might not have acted in the movie but he certainly captured the urban reality with each frame and actually subverted the stereotypical trope around romance particularly - which back then was mostly cringe-worthy, stereotyped masculinity and femininity, had to do a lot with damsels in distress, and the Hercules-kind of men who finally win over women who actually detest them, to begin with. Dil Chahta Hai was nothing like that. These were well-thought-out characters brought to life by Farhan Akhtar and their fashion in the movie with plain t-shirts, floral patterns, shorts, polo-necks, and denims was as natural as the characters were. Subsequently, Farhan Akhtar also acted in the movies and each of his movies is unique and doesn't fall into stereotypes so far. With Dil Chahta Hai, he redefined urban men with his nuanced writing but with his two classic movies, Rock On!! and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, he actually showed us the realities of urban men on-screen with his strong acting prowess. Apart from his acting skills in the two movies, we also witnessed the very real fashion and also in some instances, the kind of fashion we had all waited for somewhere in our sub-conscious but never realised. Born on 9 January 1974, on Farhan Akhtar's birthday, we would be certainly talking about his roles in the two movies but with more focus on his fashion in these two epic movies.

Farhan Akhtar's Fashion In Rock On!!

The moment we say Rock On!!, that song comes to the mind - such was the power of that movie. The 2008 movie Rock On!! is about a rock band and follows the story of its four members. Farhan Akhtar belted out some of the most goosebumps-giving songs in the movie and in his own distinctive voice (which is quite unfairly criticised at times). He also played the guitar in the movie. As a singer, he wore the typical skin-tight t-shirts with graphic prints inspired by the different cultures and distressed denims, statement belts, sports shoes, edgy armbands and of course cool shades. His t-shirts, we saw in the movie, were bright in colour with oranges, greens, and yellows dominating. There was a certain rebellious streak to his look and the effect was enhanced by curled locks. His fashion, along with the four band members in the movie, was definitely what was perceived non-conformist. Farhan's fashion was in a way woke, which sort of ridiculed the existing conventional notions around dress sense. With his fashion in the movie, he was actually giving it back to the moral policemen and societal norms which aim at defining 'what is decent' and 'what is not'.

Cut to the part, where the actor is seen married and doing a conventional corporate job. The marriage changed his fashion sensibility too. While as a rock band singer, he wore what was unconventional, as a married man he is seen dressed in crisp shirts and pants. The hair is chopped and impeccably-combed too and one gets the idea that now he has 'fit in'. While there's nothing wrong about being conventionally fashionable but in this character's case, it is the story of a character, who himself finds this transformation suffocating. But his fashion in the second segment also shows us that this is the character, who doesn't necessarily find merit in wearing loud clothes to give it back and make a point. So, somewhere, Farhan Akhtar's character is at peace with himself in the movie, somewhere not. And this transition can largely be studied from a fashion point of view.

Farhan Akhtar's Fashion In Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara

Yes, the movie did popularise Spain but why was it such an issue particularly when the story was as refreshing as Spain locales? Someone out there has to address issues pertaining to rich people without showing them as either villainous or too much drowned in 'sanskaar' family values, and strutting around in formal suits and embellished sarees. Zoya Akhtar, the director of the 2011 movie Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and also Farhan Akhtar's sister, gave us a peek into the real problems of people irrespective of the fact whether they are rich or not. Reema Kagti was also the writer of the film along with Zoya Akhtar. The movie has three characters, who are best friends and go on a trip to Spain because one of the friends is engaged and wants one last trip as a bachelor. Much like Dil Chahta Hai, this movie also featured three contrasting characters and road trip, with Farhan Akhtar as the super cool friend with a carefree spirit and flirtatious. At least, the first half of the film showed us that. Apart from the fact that Farhan also made handbags famous with the word 'Bagwati', he also made a strong case for casual mismatched-fashion. He wore striped t-shirts, plain shirt-jackets, and shorts all at one go and with hats and shades. Farhan Akhtar wore V-neck t-shirts in the movie making it a big hit among men post the release but most of all, he absolutely slayed the muffler look. Even in the wedding part of the movie, while his two friends are dressed in conventional suits, Farhan is seen dressed to impress in his casual aquamarine suit paired with an un-tucked long white collared shirt. The movie showed coolness and vulnerability of Farhan's character but his fashion is pretty much the same. However, unlike in Rock On!!, his dress game in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara has more to do with his fun-loving and slightly aloof attitude and personality than challenging the norms. There's a hint of recklessness but also larger-than-life (in a light way though) aspect to his clothes in the movie - unlike the toned-down clothes his friends wore.

So, in which of the following two movies did you like Farhan Akhtar's fashion more? Let us know that.

Happy Birthday, Farhan Akhtar!

Story first published: Saturday, January 9, 2021, 9:00 [IST]