A few important dates in history: 1st January-New Year, 15th August- India got independence, 26th January- India got its Republic Day, 2nd October- Mahatma Gandhi's birthday, and in that same breath….16th August - Bollywood got its 'Prince' Charming in the form of Saif Ali Khan! Having born in a royal family of 'Nawabs' and with Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi and actress Sharmila Tagore as parents, he couldn't have asked for anything more!
Nature justified its justice by having got this dashing young man in Bollywood his debut film Parampara. What followed after that were hits and superhit films like Kal Ho Na Ho, Parineeta, etc…which only reaffirmed the fact that Mother Nature can never go wrong with her decisions and that Bollywood is the place where Saif Ali Khan rightly belongs! Bollywood Hungama gets you an exclusive interview with the Man-Fit-To-Be-King, Saif Ali Khan, as he gears himself for the release of his forthcoming blockbuster Tashan!
What do you think about the music of Tashan?
I think it's a great album, it's got varied amount of music because I think our director is also like that. It's a classic Hindi film in the sense that after a long time there is a film that covers a wide range of commercial kind of emotions. Its also very modern and contemporary in terms of there is a song like 'Dil Dance Maare' which I think is a great song ,almost funny but at the same time quite hip. There is this really romantic number 'Falak' which I think is a wonderful song there is also 'Dil Haara' which is my song which I think is also very romantic, quite Sufi and intense. Kareena's solo song 'Challiya' I think is also very cool, I love the lyrics so over all it's a great album really nice and different
What was it about this film that made you decide to do it?
Actually it's quite funny, the first time Victor narrated it to me over one an a half hour in Adi Chopra's study and I said no because I didn't understand some parts. I am not very good with narrations; I would rather read a script. So I was told to take the script home and read. I loved it and I started laughing my head off at 2 am in the morning at some of the dialogues because I just thought it was very unpredictable. It's a classic Hindi film story in a way but at the same time the treatment is so different with a lot of new technique. But the basic plot is a classic revenge story but it doesn't look like it because it starts of as a love story and moves into a road movie and then goes into a full on revenge drama so that was exciting and also very funny. It was the script that made me want to be a part of it. It's definitely going to be the hottest film of the year.
The look in the film is really appreciated can you tell me something about it?
I think it was the title Tashan, which required everybody to have a little bit of Tashan. Like the red belt which my character wears through out the film, the kind of moustache that he has and the haircut everyone is a little off in the movie but at the same time like I said that's the film everyone has a Tashan. Everyone is a little bit off so this was the look Aki Narula came up with some really nice clothes like Cargo's and T-shirts and decided that I would never wear jeans, slightly an off kind of guy but without being weird so there is this fine line which I think was very nicely handled.
Can you tell us something about the character you play in Tashan?
I am playing this guy called Jimmy who is a bit of an odd character. He has had a strange sort of childhood where his father used to dress him up in white clothes like Jeetendra and make him dance publicly. Because of which he is a little bit off. He works in a call center, very romantic, lives alone and he keeps picking up chicks from the call center. But eventually he falls desperately in love with the Kareena Kapoor's character and his life ends up turning into utter hell, which in the end actually turns out to be the best adventure he has ever been on. And that's what makes a film like Tashan extremely special because unlike a lot of Hindi films, its about what we lack the most in our lives, which is adventure. That's why probably we go to the movies to feel and go to another world and be carried away into that kind of a rollercoaster ride by getting shot at and being in lots of trouble, finding love and loosing it, money, gunfights. Basically an unpredictable life. It was good fun.
How was your experience working with Vijay Krishna Acharya?
Victor is a great man, he is a loyal friend, and he is an old school kind of a staunch gentleman in many ways. But when you look at him in his moustache he may seem a little odd. Although is not mundane and his film is unpredictable even his brief to us different. As actors personally we got along very well, he makes me laugh to no extent, it's like therapeutic to sit with him because he really does have a big laugh. Neither of us take ourselves too seriously we share quite a unique bond I think, he understands me, expects the best from me and brings out the best and I like to give it to him. I think of him as a mentor and I somehow confess all my sins to him. The second I saw him I knew I could trust him that way and as a director he would just usually ask me to surprise him and to not let the performance be expected. What the character is going to do next, the lines also should sound like they just happened and weren't prepared. He's a cool guy and he's made a very cool film.
What according to you is your Tashan Factor?
I think as an actor I would like to think that I try and play things naturally and not really try and play hero but to try and play a character and let the situation decide whether he is heroic or not. And the Tashan of anything would be no matter how many times you are doing it, to make it look like its been done for the first time ever. That moment should be real I suppose that's what Tashan is. My cowboy boots is my Tashan.
Can you tell us something about your experience shooting for the song 'Dil Haara'?
I have this tendency to go on a holiday during Christmas and New Year and since I work with Adi Chopra so often that he knows this. Christmas and New Year is a good time to eat and drink so one tends to put on a little bit of weight. And Adi said he wants this song to be the item of the movie and he wants to shoot it in Greece. In his exact words, "If you are going to party over New year's and Christmas and going to come back looking like a Papa I will shoot the song in Bombay on some set and I will be very disappointed." So unfortunately, I had to starve for the greater part of my trip to Hong Kong while I don't think it is a six pack which is a bit much to expect but I will get there soon. I did try and did manage to lose a fair amount of weight, luckily I ended up looking good and they were happy because they are used to seeing me fat. The song was it at this beautiful Greek island called 'Milos', it's a beautiful island which has underwater caves and of course being a movie we ended up going there in the middle of winter and worked in freezing cold weather in the water so it was hellishly torturing in that sense. We had some great dancers, Aki Narula styled it really well, shot fantastically well by Bose one of the most talented cameraman I have worked with and Vaibhavi in fine form. I think everyone was quite happy at the end of it.
So what do you say about Vaibhavi Merchant's choreography?
Vaibhavi is great; I have been watching her for a long time. I have been working with her on and off for a while. I think one of her first film was with me; she used to assist Chinni Prakash at one point. We have all been around. She is great and lots of fun to work with, and thoroughly professional and expects you to give your best and so does she and I think she is quite happy also with this song. I think after a long time we have got something quite special together.
Tashan has a lot of action sequences. How was it learning action with Peter Hinne?
I have a Tashan war wound which happened to me while kicking a can in the middle of an action sequence with Peter. On the set he just gets everyone into the mood to do great stuff. I would love to work with him again and I simply love him. The action in the film is much larger than life, it's like a comic book action, its bigger, its not just a few gunshots; its thousand bullets going off and cars skidding on fire using cables, its great fun, very exhausting but great. Everyone got banged and hurt everyday, which is what it was all about. I love action films, love watching them and love working in them. Haven't worked with Akshay Kumar in a while but there is bound to be a bit of action unless we do one of those slightly romantic films together which I am happy we didn't do.
Any one memorable incident during the shoot of the film.
I had rented an Enfield in Ladakh, I used to ride it to work everyday .It was one of the most exhilarating and liberating experiences of my life. It's a very beautiful countryside up there, so some good music on the headphones and riding the bike was fantastic. It was a great one-month schedule.
You are sporting a moustache for the first time. What was it like and would you like to have one?
I think I would, i enjoyed the moustache, I was a little uncomfortable with it initially because I thought it looked funny. Then I grew into it quite well and I have seen many people now with a similar kind of a moustache so it is cool now. I would like to keep a heavy stubble and longer hair once.
What is it like working in a multi starrer film as opposed to a solo film?
You get to get a little bit worked up about what the other person is doing which is always exciting. I always enjoyed a multi starrer when I was a kid. I think, if you are confident about your role, it doesn't really matter. In fact, sometimes it's a bit more fun to work off other peoples energies. I think Akshay and I have a tremendous complimentary sort of quality with each other on films because we come from different worlds. So it's interesting when you put us together, it always has been with different body types and different screen presences. We work very well off each other, its like Terrance Hill and Bud Spencer - one short and one tall guy, so its an interesting pad. I like to work in films that I would like to watch so it really does not make a difference.
This is probably your sixth film with Akshay. How does it feel pairing up with him?
Akshay Kumar has become one of the best actors, when I worked with him first he use to say that you do the acting and I will do the action but now I think he is doing both almost better then anyone else. A remarkable sense of comedy and acting, I haven't worked with him in a while, I really enjoyed it this time, and I am dying to see what it looks like. It's always great and we compete quite seriously with each other, which is really good. He makes up things sometimes that are not in the script so it drives me mad and then I would make up things that is not in the script and then eventually we get a good scene or we just start doing shit and the director says what's going on but its always fun.
Anil Kapoor is a super class-apart actor. Any comments on his performance.
Anil Kapoor is not only one of the most talented actors I have ever worked with, he is also one of the least selfish and most giving person I know. I think he is at a point in his career where he can share so much of wisdom to juniors and he is so positive about everything. He is one of the most positive people I know and he considers working in films a privilege, which it is. He feels that if you are working in 80 degrees heat and you have to wear a suit he say's don't think about it as you are unlucky and it's a job in fact consider it a privilege and think it's great. He is super to work with and you learn a lot from him. He is very professional.
Kareena Kapoor as an actor has grown a lot your comments.
True, I am working with Kareena after LOC for the first time. It was great, she is really good, very easy to work with, and very spontaneous she kind of moulds herself to whichever actor she is working with that I think I have noticed. If you want to rehearse she rehearses if you don't then that's fine too.