Indo-Asian News Service
He wishes he were taller and his noise were shorter. But even though these wishes remain unfulfilled, Saif Ali Khan has carved a niche for himself in Bollywood.
In an interview, Saif speaks about the success of â€˜Kal Ho Naa Hoâ€™, rumours linking him to Preity Zinta and how his wife says such Bollywood rumours can often be true.
Were you fearful of Shah Rukh Khan upstaging you in â€˜Kal Ho Naa Hoâ€™?
Iâ€™ve never needed to be insecure about two-hero films because all my successful films so far have been formatted that way. Whether it was â€˜Main Khiladi Tu Anariâ€™ with Akshay Kumar or â€˜Dil Chahta Haiâ€™ with Aamir Khan and Akshaye Khanna, Iâ€™ve always got a good role.
When I did â€˜Kachche Dhaageâ€™ with Ajay Devgan I was also given a protagonistâ€™s role. Though there were so many stars in Sooraj Barjatyaâ€™s â€˜Hum Saath Saath Hainâ€™, I think I had the best role.
Even if â€˜Kal Ho Naa Hoâ€™ is a Shah Rukh Khan vehicle Iâ€™m as prominently on the posters as him. Karan Johar has shown me so much respect. He has put my name before Preity Zinta. Thatâ€™s the way it should be because Iâ€™m senior to her.
What do we see of you in 2004?
â€˜Hum Tumâ€™ is almost ready. We shot non-stop for two months. One of the reasons why producer Aditya Chopra signed me was because I hadnâ€™t signed anything recently and was free to shoot at a stretch. He wanted it to be my next release after â€˜Kal Ho Naa Hoâ€™.
My co-star in â€˜Hum Tumâ€™ is Rani Mukherjee. Sheâ€™s shorter than me. Thatâ€™s makes me
feel really good! Iâ€™d like to have been taller. And for the record, Iâ€™d have also liked my nose to be shorter.
â€˜Hum Tumâ€™ is a remake of â€˜When Harry Met Sallyâ€™?
The narration is episodic like â€˜When Harry...â€™ but I donâ€™t think â€˜Hum Tumâ€™ is copied from any Hollywood film. ...
Are you indecisive?
No...well, yes! I change my mind. I wasnâ€™t sure about doing Aparna Senâ€™s â€˜Gulelâ€™ because she hadnâ€™t given me a script. Then she got Amma (mom Sharmila Tagore) to command me to do the film. If I hadnâ€™t done it Iâ€™d have been in trouble! My mom said anyone advising me not to do â€˜Gulelâ€™ is not my friend. I play a Parsi alcoholic. Thatâ€™s the edge to it.
How close are you to your parents?
Very, though I havenâ€™t spent enough time with them recently. I want to spend some time with them. My father isnâ€™t well. Now, after phase one of my career, I can afford to sit back and spend time with loved ones. Being part of a good set-up is important for me to grow as an actor. I need to chill and find my own groove. I do get fiercely competitive when I work. But not in any unhealthy way.
Is your sister Soha planning to come into films?
Yes, I think sheâ€™ll be doing a couple of films. Sheâ€™s taking it very seriously. Of course, Iâ€™m supporting her. But itâ€™s amazing... sheâ€™s a very educated girl. She was meant to work in a bank in London. Yet she wants to do films. The attitude to acting has undergone a huge shift since Ammaâ€™s time. Acting doesnâ€™t seem such a bad career option in todayâ€™s times.
How did your wife (Amrita Singh) react to the rumour linking you with Preity Zinta?
Because sheâ€™s in this line she knows such rumours arenâ€™t always rubbish. Obviously it caused problems. But I hadnâ€™t behaved in an unbecoming way. I thought we had crossed that era when a girl and boy couldnâ€™t sit together without being linked together. Apparently not.
Evidently someone from the â€˜Kal Ho Naa Hoâ€™ unit carried back this gossip from New York
to Mumbai. Fardeen Khan was the first to SMS me about it. We all laughed! Such gossip does affect me a lot, but as long as I can sleep with a clear conscience no one can hurt my family life.
People had given your marriage 12 days. Now itâ€™s 12 years.
Donâ€™t cast your evil eye. Who knows tomorrow! Iâ€™m very happy with my life. I canâ€™t imagine it being any different. I love Dingy (Amrita) to bits.
And now you play a Kargil soldier in â€˜LoCâ€™.
What an honour! Back in my ancestral town Pataudi, itâ€™s the only film theyâ€™ll look at and say, "Heâ€™s our boy". To be playing a Kargil soldier is certainly a privilege. The story of Kargil had to be told. In fact another film, â€˜Dhoopâ€™ tells the story of my character, Anuj Nayyarâ€™s, family after he dies in Kargil.
That films based on such contemporary subjects are being made is wonderful. â€˜LoCâ€™ is a glorious epic. I wanted to be part of it. I had a blast shooting it.