The Queenstown campus of Global Indian International School (GIIS) was abuzz with excitement. Students were gripping their camera phones, singing and chanting Bollywood actor, producer, director and singer Farhan Akhtar's name as they awaited his arrival.
More than 800 students and parents from the three GIIS campuses - Queenstown, East Coast and Balestier - filled the school auditorium on April 12 to see the star. Farhan had been invited to attend the GIIS Leadership Lecture Series and it was an opportunity for the GIIS students from across the South-east Asian campuses, including Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Noida, Surat and Indore, to interact with him through a live video conference.
When Farhan finally appeared, he garlanded the statue of Mahatma Gandhi at the school entrance and was treated to band and dance performances before being invited to the stage and accompanied by chairman and co-founder of Global Schools Foundation Atul Temurnikar for the interaction session.
The star touched on various topics ranging from his relationship with his elder sister Zoya Akhtar, his children, his inspiration behind making path-breaking films, the roles that he has played, his personal experiences and his passion for music. Farhan's message to students was to "stay true to your goals and to listen to your inner voice".
He also advised students to "inculcate discipline and dedicate the time to anything you want to do and eventually everything will fall into place". This helped him achieve success for his critically-acclaimed and National award-winning directorial debut Dil Chahta Hai, he said.
A cute moment occurred during the interaction when six-year-old Jeenal Agrawal praised him for his multiple talents and asked him for tips on how to be like him in everyday life.
"If I was six years old and told to ask anyone a question with a mike, I would have failed. You are so brave and confident," Farhan replied.
"I strongly feel if you really want to do something, you will always find the time, no matter how busy you are," he added.
Jeenal got to go on stage, where the actor hugged her and wished her well. "I was a bit nervous but I felt better after hugging him. I was so excited to see him," she said.
Class 11's Rujuta Khanapurkar was at the right place at the right time as she managed to get three hugs and a handshake from him.
"He smells so good. He is so humble and had spent a good two to three minutes answering each question and giving us good advice. I hope to sing with him one day. I really admire him and I cannot wait to meet him again," she added.
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