Failures to fame, and from the slide down to tasting success, Saif Ali Khan has come a long way.

After being in Bollywood for a long period of time, he was able to give some solo hits in the form of ‘ Hum Tum’ and ‘ Parineeta’, a cool 12 years after the starson debuted on celluloid. More known as Sharmila Tagore and Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi’s son, Saif’s hits came only in the form of multi- starrers like ‘ Main Khiladi Tu Anari’ and ‘ Dil Chahta Hai’. Although he did win the Filmfare award for best male debut for his film ‘ Aashiq Awara’ ( 1993), the run after that was never so easy for the actor.

And Saif still hasn’t forgotten those days.

” Every time I watch my old movies I realise how hard I have worked to reach this position. With high waist jeans and a different haircut, I started a new trend in the industry. And with the emergence of cable networks and satellite rights around the same time, the trend spread like wildfire.

Watching them makes me feel that all the success that I am getting today is the result of the hard work of those days. Hindi films have now become a lot more cool and happening with recognition at many levels internationally,” says Saif.

This actor had to go through a string of flops just before some hope was sparked with Farhan Akhtar’s youthful movie ‘ Dil Chahta Hai’ in 2001. Speaking about his career graph in Bollywood, Saif says, ” I had started off in the industry on a very bad note. With ‘ Parampara’ and ‘ Aashiq Awara’ being moderately hit, ‘ Yeh Dillagi’ brought in some relief. With gripping music and an amazing love story, it turned out to be my first hit film. Immediately after that came ‘ Main Khiladi Tu Anari’ which was another good film. After this started the worst phase of my life with 17 flop films in a row! And then ‘ Dil Chahta Hai’ happened which changed the trend of Hindi cinema completely.

Farhan Akhtar came up with an amazing urban character which was much different compared to the ‘ desi’ version of a hero like Amitabh Bachchan.” And after playing this youthful act Saif Ali Khan was all set to experiment with roles and characters. Saif was open to playing characters even having a negative side… anything that was different appealed to this actor. With films like ‘ Being Cyrus’ and ‘ Omkara’ coming his way, Saif was appreciated for his acting. ” I believe that initially I didn’t have faith in myself. This is wrong and shouldn’t happen because your director has complete faith in you. Whether it is ‘ Langda Tyagi’ of ‘ Omkara’ or even the character of the 10th standard school teacher that I play in ‘ Aarakshan’, I must have complete faith. Similarly I played a Sikh lover boy in ‘ Love Aaj Kal’ while I had never imagined I would play a Sikh character,” says Saif. And once Saifu turned a producer with ‘ Love Aaj Kal’ and the forthcoming ‘ Agent Vinod’, there has been no looking back for him.

Perhaps so much hard work and long innings in the industry seems to have taken its toll on the star’s health. No wonder then he was admitted to hospital some time back. But Saif is singing a different tune.

” According to my doctor, my lungs are like those of a non- smoker athlete. In order to stay fit and healthy I have quit smoking two years back.

Also I have been doing yoga and following a proper diet because of which I have control over my health. Also I have reduced eating red meat so as to keep my body healthy,” he says.

This single father of two seems to have managed his professional and personal life well. Having experienced all the pressure Saif says, ” I have no complaints from my present situation. I make every effort so my children receive all the love and attention from me. I believe being a father one needs to create a strong connection with kids. I like talking for long and having fun with Sara and Ibrahim.” As his face lights up talking about his kids, we don’t interrupt. ” The birth of Sara and Ibrahim was the ultimate moment of happiness for me. Happiness comes out naturally the moment one takes their small child in their lap.

And the best part is that when they grow up, your values reflect in their behaviour. I believe, creating a strong bond with our children is extremely important,” he says without holding back.

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