Archive for the Interview Category
Saif Ali Khan says his wife Kareena Kapoor Khan’s comments about him on a chat show were “very sweet”.
Ever since his debut, Saif Ali Khan has been considered one of the most suave and polished personalities around. And it looks like his wife Kareena Kapoor Khan agrees with that notion. During a recent appearance on Karan Johar’s chat show, Koffee With Karan, Kareena said, “There’s no one like Saif (since) the combination of being so mentally and physically sexy is not possible. I think he was the last of that era.”
When asked about Kareena’s comment, Saif says, “I think Bebo is being very kind. That’s a very sweet thing to say. She is my wife, so it’s obviously nice if she thinks that. But I am sure there are lots of [other] amazing people everywhere, and it’s not just me (laughs). I think, at 46, you are aware of the history and you are quite contemporary, too.”
Insisting that he doesn’t believe in ‘nazar lagna’, Saif Ali Khan says his youngest child is “already a bit of a popular chap” so they will have to teach him to be “grounded”.
Being under the spotlight isn’t new for Saif Ali Khan. It, therefore, comes as no surprise that the birth of his third child, Taimur Ali Khan, became national news. However, the news was also coupled with a number of controversies. We catch up with the actor to talk to him about his son, wife Kareena Kapoor Khan and more.
You are set to complete 25 years in Bollywood. How do you look back at your journey?
When I started doing films, I was completely clueless. I had no idea (about anything). I don’t think I was taking it seriously. I thought I was being earnest. But now, in retrospect, I think I wasn’t taking anything seriously. However, over the years, I have been lucky in the sense that the audience, directors and producers have been very patient and calm. I also worked with amazing stars like Salman (Khan), Shah Rukh (Khan), Aamir (Khan), Akshay (Kumar) and Ajay Devgn. I have learnt something from all these guys.
IN A CAREER SPANNING over two decades, Saif Ali Khan has gone from being the boy no one took seriously to a poster boy for the urban Indian man, to a man finding his comfort zone as an actor- producer. His sharp wit, worldly intellect and sobering realness reflect the many worlds he has traversed personally and professionally. The 46-year-old father of a newborn, Taimur, takes time out to discuss his legacy and why acting like a twit to promote a movie is the worst part of his job.
Do you ever think about your legacy? About how you’d like to be remembered as an actor?
I’d like to be remembered as an actor who took some chances. And someone, who did a mixture of commercial stuff as well as films to promote something independent and interesting. (Pause) I’ve not thought of my legacy as an actor, but I think, I do represent a section of the audience, who are not 100 per cent mainstream, but a little more urban.
The reason I ask is that you started off doing ‘masala’ films. Then, in the early 2000s, you were one of the first actors to experiment with ‘multiplex’ films like Ek Hasina Thi, Dil Chahta Hai and so on. But then you turned producer and veered away from a content-driven niche.
I think you’re absolutely right. Perhaps I got a little waylaid, or bored, or side-tracked with other things; my personal life took preference and maybe I did not focus so much on being an interesting actor as I did on the commercials. And I think I have paid a price for that. I had a bit of a wake-up call, and I’m certainly back to thinking the way I was. If you look at my films this year, the first thing I turned to was a Vishal Bhardwaj movie, and thank God I did (chuckles). I’m lucky to get the chance, despite the mess of the years before. To be Vishal’s first choice, Akshat’s (Verma) first choice, Raja Menon’s first choice is like an achievement, and I need to prove myself and the credibility of my acting with these three movies [Rangoon, Kaalakandi and Chef, respectively]. And I think I have the capability of doing it. I know times are changing fast, and nothing can be taken for granted.
The last time Saif Ali Khan was seen on the big screen was in August 2015. The film was Phantom. Post that, Saif took a conscious call to pick up diverse genres. One such film was Rangoon. Even though he was well aware of the fact it would be a while before the film hit the screen — given that it was made on an epic scale — he was game for it all. Excerpts from our interview…
Rangoon is your 50th film as a lead actor. Comment.
These milestones are nice to know. Good to see one achieve it. When I look at my contemporaries like Akshay or the three Khans who started before I did — they’ve raised the age barrier — that’s something impressive for me. Internationally, too, artistes are doing that. They are working harder and looking better. I am looking forward to doing that as well.
You seem to be enjoying the era.
I enjoy this time period. The ’40s was a stylish era. Today, the world has become casual in some departments. I wasn’t always comfortable playing a part like the one I play in Rangoon. The truth is, over the years I have grown and evolved as person. I am more sure about what I like and what I don’t. I have been in the industry for a while now. I have been reading and travelling. So many things have added to this persona of mine that you see today. All of that combined has made me much more comfortable slipping into the world of Rangoon. I know it better now.
You have gone back in time for films like Parineeta (1960s) and Hamesha (’70s) though. What can you tell us about doing the same for Rangoon (’40s)?
Even though I was born in the 1970s, I was exposed to the life and times of the ’40s. At that time, many films based on World War II were being seen. The Guns of Navarone, The Bridge on the River Kwai, A Bridge Too Far — these were very popular films and I grew up on them. There are so many heroic stories of that time. With Rangoon, that era is being revisited, and I am glad to be part of it all.
This will be your first film that arrives after the birth of Taimur. Does that make it special?
I don’t really think in those terms. As much as possible, personal life goes on and works goes on, too. There isn’t really any connection. Moreover, he is also far too young to realise that his dad has a film releasing this Friday.
The last time Saif Ali Khan teamed up with filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj was for ‘Omkara’ in 2006, when he played Langda Tyagi. His portrayal of the character was widely appreciated by his fans. Now, the two are back together with ‘Rangoon’, which also stars Shahid Kapoor and Kangana Ranaut. timesofindia.com caught up with Saif and got him talking about the controversy that blew out of proportion when he named his son Taimur, his daughter Sara’s film debut, his views on social media, movies and more.
How would you describe this phase of your life?
I am content in every way. I’d like to balance my life – I am healthy, I have a good personal life, good friends and I am financially secure, touch wood! I am missing doing some creative work. I would definitely like to do some creative and good work.
Vishal Bhardwaj has the talent to create a world of his own, give his characters fascinating quirks and draw you out as a performer. His upcoming film, Rangoon, took me to the jungles of Arunachal Pradesh, into huts where you lived out of a sleeping bag. It gave me a chance to wear the stiff-as-cardboard shirts from my Winchester college days in England and the Trilby hats I usually get to dust out only when Kareena and I are at Gstaad during New Year’s. It also gave me a chance to research cufflinks and ties, inhabit the world of Hollywood’s ’40s heroes like Fred Astaire, Douglas Fairbanks and Errol Flynn, and my grandfather Iftikhar Ali Khan
I loved this journey into the past and my only regret is that I forgot the white gloves lying in my wardrobe which would have looked so good with the black dinner jackets. Rustom Billimoria is an action hero-turned-studio boss. The physicality of the role was a challenge because Rusi’s lost his right hand while doing a stunt and this meant I had to do everything left handed, even a sword fight. That wasn’t too difficult actually since I’ve had some practise playing cricket left-handed.
A couple of days into the first schedule, Vishal who’d asked me to bulk up for the role given the guy’s action background, felt I should cut down a bit. I told him it was too late, besides I’ve seen guys in the gym working out with one hand so it was okay. During our earlier film, Omkara, Vishal was less busy. This time, he had his hands full and I had to prep up more though he still contributed to my performance. And the artistic integrity I found on the sets of Omkara I discovered again only in Rangoon. That, I’d say, is the magic of Vishal Bhardwaj!