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Saif Ali Khan’s Vision of the World | March 2020

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He came. He saw. He conquered. A man that walks with a dazzling charm, a nonchalant attitude and an air of self awareness. Our March cover star is someone who many look up to for his poise and sophistication but as we sat down for a conversation about everything from cricket, movies, social media and cars, I discovered something more. Saif Ali Khan is one of the wittiest and most honest men I’ve come across. He is confident and sure of what he wants and there is a beautiful version of the world through his eyes which I was lucky enough to get a peek into.

Ex: You have been on a roll with Tanhaji and Jawaani Jaaneman. – what other projects in 2020 are you looking forward to?
SAK: I am currently shooting for the sequel of Bunty Aur Babli for Yash Raj Films in Abu Dhabi which is great fun. I am also going to do Bhoot Police with Pawan Kriplani. These are two projects I am most excited about in the foreseeable future. Both are fun comedies – one’s a horror comedy and one’s a family comedy with both the roles are exciting and fun.

Ex: Is there a role you want to give us an insight about?
SAK: Um, I don’t want to say anything about that, you’d probably have to go watch it for yourself in the theater [smiles].

Ex: Let’s throwback a little, yes? I know you have a strong connection with cricket. Did the sport have an impact on you as a kid? Any memories you’d like to share?
SAK: I think cricket is a part of my life – it’s a part of my culture and upbringing. It’s a very strong part of who we are as a family. The game is something I have the highest respect for because I can’t think of a game that is more charming and sophisticated than cricket. I could go on and on about it [laughs]. The fact that my grandfather and father, both being cricketers makes me believe that there is something about Pataudi and the love for this game – like a family heritage. Unfortunately, I am not much into the IPL and the new-age tamaasha of cricket. I have always been into the most classy version of this. Test cricket is amazing sometimes, you know. It’s like when you cook a biryani – you have to give it time to cook and that’s going to be so much better than what you cook up in half an hour. Similarly, cricket takes its time to prepare and build up and nothing can beat the excitement on the last of a test match. It’s the functional influence of cricket and the impact it has had on Pataudi spans a couple of generations from about 1920 to about 1975.

Ex: That’s a lot of insane history right there! Did you have any favorites from back in the day?
SAK: Yeah, I liked a few – Michael holding, Jeff Thomson, Dennis Lillee. There have never been more dynamic personalities than these guys even today. These players come along once in a lifetime, not once in a decade.

Ex: Speaking of childhood, do you have a gadget or a game that takes you back to those days?
SAK:
The first game that I owned was a small Battlestar Galactica – Space Invasion video game. As a kid, I used to go to these game arcades (that were bigger back in the day), and they had all these machines to play Pinball and Pacman. I never really got into Playstation but I did have a lot of computer games when I got my first computer system that came out in the 90s. 

Ex: Are you into gaming now?
SAK: I have seen and I am quite aware of the genesis of gaming and how it started. We had always heard that computers are for nerds while we were pushed into playing sports. Little did we realize that the money is going to be on the other side [laughs].   

Ex: On that note, technology has seeped into every sphere of our lives. Do you think technology has impacted the world of cinema, since you started out to now?
SAK:
Of course it has! We keep trying to change and better the viewing experience of a movie which has typically always been two-dimensional. I used to be quite against three-dimensional but Tanhaji was an amazing and immersive 3-D experience. The change is amazing and constant with this kind of technology. Who knows, there might be an holographic movie experience at one point in time at the comfort of your home.

Ex: So, I cannot fail to notice that you’re not on any social media and to many, including me, that seems a little unreal. How do you manage to keep up with the digital promotional activities of your films?
SAK: Well, it comes as a part and parcel and I know it’s painless and fun for these guys. But the thing is that the kind of subculture below the regular programming in India is more interesting to me than the regular stuff. Back in the early days, TV was more fun. I really don’t think an artist can promote himself because to be honest, why should anyone believe us? It’s a 360 degree thing where a lot depends on how much the actor is going to go out and talk about the movie. I do think it’s important and is a big percentage of running a good film.

Ex: You said something that really hit hard – why should anyone believe us..
SAK:
Yeah, like we are going to be somebody else in the movie anyway [laughs]. If you see a guy standing there and he’s saying my movie is amazing, I mean, obviously what else is he going to say? If you have to put forward to the audience that they should see the film, it comes from hoardings, TV commercials and internet commercials and the trailer of course. You know, the marketing of a movie should be more than somebody standing on a show and talking about how great his movie is.

Ex: But still, you being on Instagram – is it a distant dream?
SAK: You know, maybe I’ll do it! It might happen. I love taking pictures and communicating with my fans. But, I just think there is a lot of chaos out there and sometimes we just need to streamline our lives and live healthily. I was talking to a young actor the other day and he was excited about how many million followers he’s got. So, I don’t know if I want to get into all of that. I don;t mind the idea of publicizing my life, I mean, there are a lot of pictures that I’d love to share and let people in a little bit into how I see the world. But if you get competitive about how many likes and followers, it just takes you away from the reality of the situation. Take time to look around you, breathe in the world, take pictures in your mind and have experiences that change you. I get why people are on social media but I don’t think I have embraced it just yet.

Ex: If  we talk hypothetically, do you think you’d start a YouTube channel?
SAK: Oh, I’d love to start a YouTube channel, I think I’d be fab on YouTube. – I love my life and I’d love to share it with everybody. I could totally do it if I don’t have to be consistent, I think that would be great fun!

Ex: What would you name it?
SAK:
Saif’s YouTube Channel [laughs].

Ex: Talking about hypothetical situations and you had to plan a road trip with me, where would it be?
SAK: I had the most amazing time driving around Rajasthan – the highways are amazing, the views are amazing, the people are amazing – so that would be my choice of location. But frankly, anywhere outside these crowded cities would be fun.

Ex: What would be your choice of vehicle?
SAK: A motorbike would be amazing,  probably an Enfield. Or even a Jeep, or a convertible. There are many options but we’ll figure it out. The last time I went on a road trip was in a Fortuner and I drove around Rajasthan, listening to Deep Purple, stopping for lunch on the side of the road. So you’ll get to do a lot of that on the road trip.

Ex: And if one person, dead or alive could join us, who would it be?
SAK: I think it would have to be a young Raquel Welch, but then that’s in the fantasy world when I am not married [laughs].

Ex: If you had to give advice to your younger self, what would it be?
SAK: Oh, so many things, but he probably wouldn’t listen to me anyway [laughs].

QUICKIES

  • Who’s been the most influential woman in your life?
    My mother.
  • What’s been your biggest fail in the kitchen?
    When I was a kid, I tried making a hamburger which for some reason shrunk in size and my parents thought I was making kebabs!
  • A reality check that the world needs right now?
    There is a difference between the virtual world and the real world.
  • Your favorite wheels in your garage?
    Mustang GT500
  • Your favourite Saif Ali Khan movie?
    Probably one of the recent ones – Jawaani Jaaneman maybe!
  • Is there a book that you keep close to your heart?
    The Oxford Collection of Ghost Stories
  • If you had to describe yourself in a hashtag?
    #HashSmoker #JustKidding
Smriti Raizada
A wanderer of sorts - in her thoughts and otherwise. She's a caffeine-fueled carefree soul who takes life one sunset at a time. She has a lot of opinions of her own but loves to lend an ear to others and put out their stories in the world. Over a cup of chai, of course.

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