The last time Saif Ali Khan was seen on the big screen was in August 2015. The film was Phantom. Post that, Saif took a conscious call to pick up diverse genres. One such film was Rangoon. Even though he was well aware of the fact it would be a while before the film hit the screen — given that it was made on an epic scale — he was game for it all. Excerpts from our interview…
Rangoon is your 50th film as a lead actor. Comment.
These milestones are nice to know. Good to see one achieve it. When I look at my contemporaries like Akshay or the three Khans who started before I did — they’ve raised the age barrier — that’s something impressive for me. Internationally, too, artistes are doing that. They are working harder and looking better. I am looking forward to doing that as well.
You seem to be enjoying the era.
I enjoy this time period. The ’40s was a stylish era. Today, the world has become casual in some departments. I wasn’t always comfortable playing a part like the one I play in Rangoon. The truth is, over the years I have grown and evolved as person. I am more sure about what I like and what I don’t. I have been in the industry for a while now. I have been reading and travelling. So many things have added to this persona of mine that you see today. All of that combined has made me much more comfortable slipping into the world of Rangoon. I know it better now.
You have gone back in time for films like Parineeta (1960s) and Hamesha (’70s) though. What can you tell us about doing the same for Rangoon (’40s)?
Even though I was born in the 1970s, I was exposed to the life and times of the ’40s. At that time, many films based on World War II were being seen. The Guns of Navarone, The Bridge on the River Kwai, A Bridge Too Far — these were very popular films and I grew up on them. There are so many heroic stories of that time. With Rangoon, that era is being revisited, and I am glad to be part of it all.
This will be your first film that arrives after the birth of Taimur. Does that make it special?
I don’t really think in those terms. As much as possible, personal life goes on and works goes on, too. There isn’t really any connection. Moreover, he is also far too young to realise that his dad has a film releasing this Friday.
Here are seven memorable roles of Saif Ali Khan:
1.Dil Chahta hai – Sameer
Dil Chahta Hai is Saif Ali Khan’s big-screen breakthrough. It stars Saif as Sameer who is confused about his love life. He believes to be in true love every time he meets a girl. The film is a heartfelt comedy full of great gags. Saif Ali Khan bagged the Filmfare Award for Best Comedian in 2002 for the film.
- Kal Ho Na Ho – Rohit Patel
The goofy friend of Naina (played by Preity Zinta), Rohit Patel is the perfect BFF. Even though the film was a cheese-fest, it gave us memorable characters and some really foot-tapping numbers by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy.
- Hum Tum – Karan Kapoor
Loosely based on the Hollywood romantic comedy, When Harry Met Sally, Hum Tum won Saif Ali Khan the National Award for Best Actor. Paired opposite Rani Mukerji, Saif played the character of a cartoonist- Karan Kapoor. Who can forget Saif’s dialogue “It’s my Tom Cruise look yaar!” when he gets a new haircut. So much cuteness!
- Omkara – Langda Tyagi
Omkara is Saif’s most widely appreciated film. Saif gave a brilliant performance in this Vishal Bharadwaj film, which was based on the Shakespearean tragedy Othello. The actor was seen in a totally different avatar in the film- with kohled eyes and a buzz haircut. The performance earned him the Filmfare Best Villain Award in 2007.
- Go Goa Gone – Boris
Saif Ali Khan enjoys experimenting with his looks. For Go Goa Gone, India’s first zombie film, Saif played the character of the bada$& zombie slayer, Boris. The versatile actor was seen in a wacky blonde avatar for this trippy film.
- Being Cyrus – Cyrus Mistry
Ever wondered how letting an outsider into your world can turn it upside down? Homi Adajania’s Being Cyrus is a stylish thriller. Saif gave a refreshing performance in the film as Cyrus. The film also gave Saif a chance to go for more and paved the way for him to enter offbeat films.
- Kurbaan – Ehsaan Khan/Khalid
Kurbaan is a classy thriller which dealt with terrorism, Islam and love. Saif essays the role of a terrorist with style. The Kareena-Saif chemistry in Kurbaan is still talked about. The movie got generally positive reviews, and Saif received further acclaim for his acting skills.