India's premier luxury lifestyle women's magazine
Verve People
January 02, 2015

Finding Farah

Text by Sitanshi Talati-Parikh. Photograph by Rohan Shrestha

11 things you didn’t know about Farah Khan Ali including her tenacity, life crises and birth….

DEFORMITY SCARE “I was an 8-month premature forceps baby, who at birth looked deformed because the doctor used the forceps incorrectly to deliver me and had dented my face, particularly my nose and the back of my head in doing so. He then had the gall to tell my parents that I was a ‘mongoloid’ baby. My parents were horrified and could not believe that their first child was disabled. My face came back to its original shape within a month.”

REAL WORLD “I had never travelled by any form of public transport before I was 15. My parents wanted me to sit next to the common man and understand the frustrations he goes through on a daily basis. The first day as I stood at the bus stop attempting to get on, the bus arrived and I was left watching the bus drive away. In those three years that I travelled by train and bus I turned into a tigress from a domesticated cat, having been subjected to pinching, feeling and dirty stares of men who I learnt to kick and slap in the event of having been eve teased.”

BOLLYWOOD FRIENDS “In their growing years, Sussanne and Zayed looked up to me along with their friends that included actor Kunal Kapoor, Abhay Deol, and producer Goldie Behl because they all considered me ‘cool’, as I was the one who partied the most. I also have great memories with Tina Khanna and we practically grew up together. More than half the people in the industry today are my childhood or school friends or family friends and Bollywood is a very essential aspect of my everyday life.”

CRUSHES “In school when I was 9 years old, in the 4th grade. I’ve had many crushes in the span of my growing years that were relegated to holding hands and stealing kisses. My filmy crush was Bobby Deol when I was 15 years old, where we wrote cards to each other and held hands. Thereafter my other filmy crushes were Kumar Gaurav and Sanjay Dutt and there was a time I would dream about them. You can only imagine how heartbroken I was when Kumar Gaurav got married.”

FOOD “I don’t eat to live, I live to eat. I associate food with memories, moments. I love health food.”

TV PRODUCTION “I used to assist my dad in his television production and I ended up being executive producer on many of his television shows. I dabbled with it alongside my jewellery design career and I produced the two-part series on Hrithik Roshan titled Hrithik – The Man Behind The Star, which was showcased on Sony television.”

HRITHIK ROSHAN “I have known him since childhood and there is so much more to him than just his superstar status. If there is one person who is good from within, it is him. He has risen, he has flown, and he has made his mark. He has faltered, he has fallen, and he has forgiven. He is a real person and someone I love dearly as my brother no matter what. He will always be a very important part of my life. I am very guarded about my relationship with him because he is my family and there are some things I will not share with even my closest friends about family because my family means my world and I will always be there, by their side no matter what the consequences.”

AQEEL “My meeting with Aqeel was purely accidental at an anniversary celebration of my close friend. He was the DJ at a very snobbish society event with all my south Bombay friends. I was 25 years old. After which, I met him at a traffic signal and then at a popular discotheque at the Taj. My relationship with Aqeel was the talk of a lot of gossip in my social strata because we both came from different economic backgrounds. It was after two years of dating that we decided that we wanted to formalise our relationship. I told my father that I was in love with a DJ, who had long hair, wore a ponytail, was not a college graduate, who smoked and drank. I figured that if I told him all of Aqeel’s shortcomings first, he would not be disappointed any further. As soon as he met my father, he flashed his 120-watt smile and I think that broke the ice because my dad embraced him in a big hug and said, ‘Welcome to the family’.”

CRISIS AT WORK “In 2009, I tied up with a friend’s cousin to manufacture jewellery and he became a 50% shareholder in my company. We opened my first retail showroom under my brand name Farah Khan Fine Jewellery in the year 2010 (17 years after I had first started off my jewellery career). By the middle of 2011 I realised that no matter how much we sold, we were always short of funds to manufacture more pieces of jewellery. I realised then that my partner was in a financial mess and that it was time for me to move on. He did not take it well and took me to court to prevent me from using my own brand name because it was registered under our company’s name.

I could not believe that the brand I had so lovingly built all these years was on the verge of being taken away by someone else. I had very negative thoughts about him till until one day when I decided that if all failed I would restart my life because I had the talent, I had the will and I had the tenacity to see it through.

The day I forgave my ex-partner, as if by miracle, during our arbitration session, the odds that were against me turned in my favour. He asked me for an out-of-court settlement and I agreed. I had spent hours, days and weeks with many lawyers and law firms. My life changed overnight from just a designer to a businesswoman.”

PRET LINE “Last year I launched FK Prêt line, which is a line of beautiful jewels in a range that starts from Rs 25,000/- and was a huge success. Presently we retail only in Mumbai and are also available online on www.farahkhanfinejewellery.com but this year we hope to have international presence in at least two new cities.”

PERSONALITY “I am a positive person by nature and believe the glass is always half full rather than half empty. Even in the darkest hour I look for the light because I believe light follows darkness. There are no perfect situations and we all must make perfect lives of what we have. Life isn’t about giving up; it’s about hanging on, for success comes to those that never give up.”

Read the full cover story from Verve‘s print edition with Sussanne Khan, Farah Khan Ali and Simone Arora here.

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