Saif Ali Khan talks about Kalakaandi

The actor opens up about his upcoming film which showcases the different faces of Mumbai and takes him on an acid trip

On Tuesday, Saif Ali Khan took a helicopter ride to Kolhapur for an event and while returning looked down, and through the haze and heat, saw the City of Dreams spread out below him, with its looming sky-scrapers and its pockets of slums, from the Mahalaxmi Race Course to the Sea Link and Bandra’s Otters Club and was overwhelmed by love for it.

“I’ve lived in Pataudi, Bhopal and Delhi, I have family in Kolkata and have schooled in England, but Mumbai is where I belong. It’s where I was born, where my wife was born, where all my three children — Sara, Ibrahim and Taimur — were born. This is my home,” he says emotionally.

Interestingly, one of his upcoming films is about the city and showcases its diversity through three different stories encompassing three different sections of society, their different lifestyle, attitudes and even language. Earlier titled Kalagandi, it has now changed to Kalakaandi because the “legal department contended that the earlier title was a little rude, even naughty”. “Kalakaandi with its slightly Maharshtrian twang, talks about the many kaands that go on here, the mix-ups and the snafus. We’re currently working on the music and after seeing the film, one of the coolest I’ve done, I’ve started loving the city even more. It’s the city of hope, of dreams and opportunities for young people struggling to make a name, place and life for themselves alongside the rich and the famous,” he asserts.

Saif’s character goes by the name of Rileen. “It’s a weird name but then it’s a weird script,” he quips. Rileen is a straitlaced banker who has never jumped a red light or smoked a cigarette in his life. Life’s rolling down a straight road when he learns that he has cancer and not long to live.

“His brother is getting married and at his party, Rileen pops acid that one of the guys there offers him, and it turns out to be the best night of his life as he interacts with two mafia guys (played by Deepak Dobriyal and Vijay Raaz) and an upwardly mobile couple (Kunaal Roy Kapur and Sobhita Dhulipala) who’re dating but the girl is set to fly off to the US for further studies and this could mean the end for them,” Saif informs. “If Dil Chahta Hai cracked the surface of reality and normality, then Kalakaandi celebrates it.”

Is there something on his bucket list that given a chance he’d like to try, you wonder, and he retorts, “No, unlike Rileen I have no regrets, I’ve lead an unrestricted, carefree existence,” he confides. And what kind of prep did he need to do to play Rileen? “Nothing really, I was pretty much playing myself, right down to the Hindi- English dialogue. Unless it was recalling what it was like tripping on acid as a teenager,” he smiles.

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