Posts Tagged ‘Dil Chahta hai’

In the UAE Friday to be honoured by a luxury watch company, Bollywood heartthrob Saif Ali Khan opens up about his lineage, his career and ‘Saifeena’

It calls for a certain amount of class and breeding to be gracious while grappling with a personal loss. And Saif Ali Khan, just coming to terms with the death of his father, legendary cricketer Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, on September 22, has that in spades.
Graciously accepting my condolences with a polite “thank you, ma’am”, the award-winning actor — whose royal lineage is well-documented, with his ancestors ruling Pataudi, an erstwhile princely state near Delhi — spoke haltingly as he talked about the rich legacy left behind by his famous father.
“I looked up to my father tremendously — in almost every way. He was a remarkable man,” said Khan in an exclusive interview with tabloid! as he waited to board a flight to Mumbai.
Often referred to as the Chhote Nawab (junior prince) by the Indian press, the Aarakshan star is aware of his rich inheritance — more so than before. India, a nation full of cricket lovers, was plunged into grief when its beloved “Tiger” — a nickname his father earned for his aggressive sporting prowess — died.
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“He was so dignified and inspired so much respect in all of us. I will not emulate him, but I will try and absorb the very special qualities that made him the man that he is. I would like to carry on the good work that he was doing. I don’t know how to word it, but in whatever way I can I will take his legacy forward,” said Khan, adding that his father supported several charities.
Perhaps it’s this quality that made the Delhi-born, UK-educated star the ideal ambassador for Swiss luxury watch brand Jaeger-LeCoultre. Friday at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival, Jaeger-LeCoultre will decorate Khan with the inaugural Glory To The Actor Award in a nod to his sizeable contribution to Bollywood. But when you ask the recipient whether it was his pedigree that won him this account, he demurs. Khan believes it was a healthy mix of Bollywood and blue blood.
“I think it’s hard to differentiate one from the other. If it’s just my family background, I don’t think they [Jaeger-LeCoultre] would have ever heard of me. The fact that I am an actor in Indian films has advertised my name and made it known to the world. My job and my profession is obviously something that I am proud of. I am equally proud of my family background. I think one complements the other in a way. It’s hard for me to separate the two.”
The 41-year-old, who made his debut in the family drama Parampara in 1992, found Bollywood the best leveller. Film folklore has it that showbiz did not mete out the royal treatment to Khan — whose mother is legendary actress Sharmila Tagore — as he struggled to gain a place in the highly competitive industry. In the early ’90s, he was panned for his effeminate voice and was mostly a part of ensemble films such as Yeh Dillagi and Main Khiladi Tu Anari, which had far more established stars leading the projects.
Cinematic coups
But the 2001 box office hit Dil Chahta Hai — a coming-of-age film about three friends — put him firmly on the Bollywood map. In recent years, he has topped up his account with several cinematic coups. Be it playing the jealous Langda Tyagi in Omkara, Bollywood’s answer to Othello, the commitment-phobe Jai Vardhan Singh in Love Aaj Kal or cold-blooded murderer Karan in Ek Hasina Thi, Khan has aced the acting game.
“It’s been 19 years and I am very happy that I found something that I love and it’s wonderful to be loved so much in return. I feel I am better at [acting] now than I was before. But, I have a strong feeling that the coming months will be my best phase in my career, starting with Agent Vinod.”
The highly anticipated spy-thriller is the next film from his production house Illuminati Films, which he started in 2009 with the blockbuster Love Aaj Kal. Khan plays the title role along with Kareena Kapoor, his longtime girlfriend. Shot on a massive scale, his magnum opus has been in the works for the last two years.
“Agent Vinod, as my director Sriram Raghavan puts it, is a little bit Bond and a little bit Tin-Tin. It’s ultimately an action adventure. This guy is not a copy of James [Bond] or Jason [Bourne]. I am amazed that Sriram has come up with an original character, because it’s so easy to ape a Western spy considering the number of Hollywood films that have been made in that genre.”
Though the plot is intriguing to industry insiders and Bollywood buffs, it’s the on-screen pairing with Kapoor that’s grabbing headlines. The divorced father-of-two began dating the Bollywood A-lister in 2007 and has been attempting to stoke some on-screen chemistry with thrillers like the terrorism drama Kurbaan.
Though it didn’t ring any bells at the box-office, the Saifeena (the tabloid title bestowed on the power couple) chemistry in the film was much applauded. And as expected, the impending marriage plans of this dynamic-duo are debated, scrutinised and analysed to great lengths. Khan is a tad irked by it all.
“At the right time next year, we can comment on our future plans,” said Khan, adding that working together on Agent Vinod would naturally put the spotlight on their personal lives.
“People generally tend to be more interested in our personal life than our professional lives. And that one question in a long-drawn interview ends up grabbing headlines. It negates everything you are trying to put across or talk about. While I understand it, I hope people also realise that I respect my relationship tremendously. Therefore, I try and avoid answering certain questions. There’s so much more going on.”
Dutiful son
The rough cut of Agent Vinod has already been submitted to the Berlin Film Festival programmers. Khan is convinced that it will make the cut.
“Agent Vinod is a very special film. And I know it has been stretched over two years, which could have been avoided, but it’s got some superb action sequences. Though it’s a bit premature to speak about it, I have a good feeling about it,” said Khan.
He will be flying straight to London after the Jaeger-LeCoultre awards ceremony in the capital on Friday, to shoot the last leg of his epic. Apart from Agent Vinod, which is tipped to release in February, he’s also planning a zombie comedy (yet to be titled), plus Cocktail, a romantic comedy with Deepika Padukone.
Surprisingly, his professional commitments have not forced him to turn his back on his personal life. Khan was on his way back to Mumbai after visiting his mother Tagore in Delhi when tabloid! caught up with him over the phone on Tuesday. As he put it, it’s all about striking a fine balance.
“When your father is alive, you can afford to be a bit negligent, even careless. But after he’s gone, I have to take care of my mother and my sisters as well.”
Saif on…
His watch collection: “I love watches. In fact, I collect them and I have a fair amount of them. But I have only limited myself to buying one watch a year and I look forward to it. Also, Jaeger-LeCoultre have very kindly given me a personalised edition of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Reverso Grand Taille with the Pataudi family crest engraved on the reverse of the case.”
On the term Bollywood: “I am not massively proud of the name. I know, I am nobody to complain. But it really doesn’t do much for our international image. There are certain people who make very corny movies and have notorious dealings with people. They generally colour the reputation of everybody. But the people I have worked with are well-organised and in touch with the world cinema.”
On marketing blitzkrieg that has become the Bollywood norm, such as the RA.One promotions headed by Shah Rukh Khan or Aamir Khan for his rural drama Peepli Live: “Aamir [Khan] has the best cinematic mind in the business. He’s an inspiration and I would love to follow some of his clever strategies for Agent Vinod.”

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There is a screening of Dil Chahta Hai today at Cinemax(Versova) at 12pm to celebrate 10 years since the release of Dil Chahta Hai. Farhan Akhtar will be present for Q&A after the screening.

Here are some wonderful moments from the movie.

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.

They are regarded as two of the leading Khans in the industry. A look at their movies together…

Aamir Khan and Saif Ali Khan in Parampara
Saif Ali Khan made his debut with Aamir Khan. They first starred together in Parampara (1993). The second movie they worked together was Dil Chahta Hai (2001) – often regarded as the game changer movie in Bollywood.

Parampara was directed by Yash Chopra. Aamir and Saif Ali Khan played Ranbir (Aamir Khan) and Pratap (Saif Ali Khan), half-brothers who are separated because of a family feud. Ranbir and Pratap had the same father, but he has been killed in the family fight.

Ranbir is brought by his maternal grandfather, while Pratap is brought up by his mother and paternal grandfather. The two young men join college and become close friends. They do not know their relationship with each other. The movie traces their discovery of their past.

The movie did badly and the two did not work together for nearly a decade.

Aamir Khan and Saif Ali Khan in Dil Chahta Hai

If their first movie together flopped, their second movie together, Dil Chahta Hai was a critical and commercial success. Directed by debutant Farhan Akhtar, it was one of the first Hindi movies that showcased the life of Gen X. The movie looked at the lifestyles and aspirations of the young in India. Aamir Khan played the role of Akash while Saif Ali Khan was Sameer. The two along with Siddharth (Akshaye Khanna) are fast friends and college mates. All of them have different dreams and ambitions. Aamir Khan and Saif Ali Khan were excellent in the movie.

We reveal how the controversial Nawab tranformed into one of the hottest Khans in T’town

Prince Charming
Then: Saif entered the industry in the 90s with a lot of hype. After all, he was Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi and Sharmila Tagore’s son. But despite being signed by good banners, his early movies were disappointing. His styling was weak, his voice was unimpressive and he couldn’t dance. He was careless about his appearance and seemed to be insincere towards work.

Now: Saif’s fortunes changed with Farhan Akhtar’s Dil Chahta Hai (DCH). Saif had a makeover – a new hairstyle, a leaner and fitter body and, overall, a cool new look. DCH was followed by films like Ek Hasina Thi, Kal Ho Na Ho and Hum Tum which reiterated his ‘urban cool’ appeal. He started taking care of his looks and health. A few years ago, when he was admitted to hospital because of chest pain, he even gave up smoking. Now, he gyms and practises yoga regularly. “I’d like to believe I am looking good and I am not being vain. For what it’s worth, I wasn’t born with a face that has ‘hero’ written all over it. At times, people have even called me a ‘funny-looking guy’. It’s taken a lot of effort to look like the typical hero; a man the youth can identify with,” he says.