“Being an actor is individuality” : Saif Ali Khan

It has been almost 25 years since he started his career (with Parampara; 1992). And in all these years, Saif Ali Khan has witnessed a number of actors come and go. Probably, that’s why he has an interesting take on ‘competition’. “We are all different personalities, so rather than competing to be the same, we should compete with ourselves to be different from other people,” he says. Admitting that competition does exist, Saif feels one should be the “most interesting version of oneself, the fittest and best person that you can be on-screen.” “More than being competitors, others should remind you to work harder as they could be looking better or acting better than you, so it should push you [to do even better],” he says.

Push Yourself
Admitting that competition does exist, Saif feels one should be the “most interesting version of oneself, the fittest and best person that you can be on-screen.” More than being competitors, other should remind you to work harder as they could be looking better or acting better than you, so it should push you [to do even better],” he says.

Talent notwithstanding, Saif feels what makes an actor “is the choices he makes, the cinema he is promoting and all that he stands for.” “You might have many actors play one role differently and all of them will be correct. It’s that difference [in interpretation of characters] that the audiences would enjoy,” says the actor, citing Aamir Khan’s latest blockbuster.
“Aamir’s choice for Dangal is a nice thing for cinema, and that’s what makes him brilliant. Of course, he is a great actor, but it’s the choices he is making that actually does more than half of the job. Like Robert De Niro said that an actor’s genius isn’t on the sets, but in his drawing room when he chooses the script. That’s what I also need to focus on,” he says.

Being an Actor is about Individuality
As Saif’s daughter, Sara prepares to enter Bollywood, the actor admits he is always there to guide her. “Definitely, Sara asks many questions, and I tell her that she has to decide a lot of things herself. She has to decide what kind of an actor and a person she wants to be, and what does she want to be known as. She has to find that out and go for it. Also, this job (Being an actor) is about individuality and not to be worried. I can go on and on about what I tell Sara but I have learnt certain things over the years and I am happy to share those things with her,” he says.

Kids’ stuff
Saif ’s daughter, Sara Ali Khan, is also preparing to make her Bollywood debut and Saif is “happy” about it. “I remember when I went for Sara’s graduation at Columbia University in New York, USA. There were so many parents who were proud, and you could see that they wanted this. They were like, ‘My daughter or son should do this and that.’ Parents can be pushy, and they can want to live their dreams — after their own failures — through their children. That’s dangerous; I don’t like it. My father never pressured me to play cricket,” he says.

Saif feels the same for his son, Ibrahim. “As long as he is happy, he can do whatever he wants. It’s good to have a job and have something to talk about in your life. You can become a teacher also,” he says.

The actor adds that the quality of life is important too. “Sometimes, we don’t have that quality [life] in Mumbai. I love the city but we pay a price [to stay here] too. Maybe, you can get a teaching job in Dehradun, which could be cleaner and nicer. So, you can live however you want to but please think about it and decide. That’s my advice to my kids. You can’t blame anybody later. You should know what you want. Try and figure that out, and then stick to it,” he says.

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