He belongs to a rare breed of actors, who aren’t afraid to take risks, and want to be free from the constraints of any ‘image’. Just when you thought there was nothing more to actor Saif Ali Khan than the suave and stylish characters he played in many films in recent times, he dared to go the web way, when no other major film star was keen on it. And it won’t be wrong to say that Sacred Games in a way resurrected his career and he is all set to reprise the same magic again.
Saif, currently in London for the shoot of his next film, takes out some time for a chat with HT:
You started off with masala films, reinvented yourself with Dil Chahta Hai, and went on to do Omkara, Race, etc. Do you feel you have got your due as an actor?
Yes, of course! More than my due. I feel very satisfied, doing the kind of stuff that I enjoy doing. I feel my life is quite well-balanced, between working and spending time with my family, and experiencing life as it rushes by. I’m certainly not, in any way, grumpy about the situation. I think people have been kind and patient, watching me and accepting what I do. Normally, if I’m good, I get reviewed well, and if I’m not paying attention, I get reviewed badly. So, it’s pretty straight! It’s not the other way round. If I work hard, that gets noticed, and if I don’t, that gets noticed too.
Of late, we’ve seen big films bombing while smaller ones made numbers. How have you adapted to the unpredictability of the business?
It’s rather one of the nice things about the business. You never really know who you are talking to — it could be tomorrow’s Christopher Nolan or Johnny Depp! You work hard, make the best of what you get, and live in the present. That’s the only healthy way to approach this profession where unpredictability is not something to be feared.
Do you agree the industry on a whole has undergone a change?
To me, it’s the greatest profession in the world. I was just telling young Alaia (F., co-star) who I am shooting with for Jawaani Jaaneman, that she’s lucky she’s coming into films at a time like this, when the Indian film industry is probably at its most creative. It’s in the midst of some kind of renaissance, like it was in the 1950s or 60s. I don’t think there’s been a better time. And it’s only going to blow up huge from here. Everyone’s kids want to join [Bollywood] now, and that means it’s going to be different types of looks, roles, people. The fixed stereotypes we had in our mind are constantly being broken. The film industry is really going to benefit, and there’s a lot of room for everyone. I’m thrilled it’ll be out of control of the film mafia, where people try and control… it’s just going to be too big, and become like Hollywood.
Your kids, too are following in your footsteps. While Sara is already a star, there’s talk about Ibrahim, who looks exactly like you, also making his debut soon…
He should, he’s looking good, better looking than I am! He’s a very charming guy. I definitely think all of my children would be interested in acting. We’re an acting family, the whole bunch of us are in the industry. So I’m sure. He’s still a little young, and I’m keener that he does university first. Then, of course, we’ll support him in whatever he wants to do.