Starting Anew: Saif Ali Khan ...


By Subhash K. Jha, Indo-Asian News Service

Mumbai, April 30 (IANS) Saif Ali Khan, who was rushed to hospital in

February after he complained of chest pain, has sent off a letter to all his

producers saying that he is fully recovered but will not work on Sundays


"I'm hundred percent fine. But strictly forbidden from smoking, and

even if I wasn't, I'm smart enough to know smoking is damaging my

health," Saif told IANS.

Saif dismisses as "absolute rubbish" the rumour that he has started

smoking again.

"Am I crazy to start after I've quit? See, the first three weeks is really

tough for anyone who wants to quit. Once you get over that phase, you're

home and free. Luckily, I was in hospital and under medication for those

three weeks. By the time I came out of the hospital the addiction was


Saif did suffer the usual withdrawal symptoms, like the trembling of the

hands, in the hospital.

"But it wasn't that bad either. The real ordeal starts now. When I'm in a

bar watching friends smoke, the urge is bound to hit me. I wouldn't call

quitting smoking a sacrifice. It was a necessity.

"I've been in hospital and I had a very strong motivation to give up

smoking. Either I quit, or I'll fall ill again. I almost had a heart attack

because of my smoking. Other people have probably just heard about how

bad smoking is. I know."

He pauses to think about what he has gone through.

"Smoking adds to the chances of your falling sick. It's like adding a

bottle of whiskey to fast driving. That's what my cardiologist compares

smoking to."

At the moment, Saif's cardiologist is almost a divine figure in his


"I wasn't afraid when I fell ill. I've always had a fatalistic attitude to

life... never store it up, because you never know what's going to happen

tomorrow. I want to enjoy the day. It might be all over tomorrow. Anything

can happen at any time.

"If you look around you, you're bound to be petrified by what you see

and hear. I mean, some kid falls out of the window and I say, 'Thank god

mine are safe.' Every day that passes without something awful happening to

me and my family, is a blessing."

Saif does worry about his kids and their future, more now than


"I do spend more concentrated and focused time with my children

after my illness. That was possible because I've been at home. But look,

it's a beautiful world. And most people are nice to me.

"Unless I'm stupid, or expect too much and mess it up, there's nothing

for me to feel scared about. I want to approach my work and private life

with a mixture of confidence and humility. If a relationship doesn't work

out, who knows it may work out the next time."

He sighs and takes a deep breath.

"Inshallah, I'm getting good offers. Now I know whom to work with

and whom not to... I feel a whole new phase starting. I've started exercising

again. I don't want to work too hard. I never have. I don't want to burn

myself out."