Interview with Saif Ali Khan


Saif Ali Khan is happy changing his image with Omkara. Vishal Bharadwaj calls him the Gabbar Singh of Omkara where he plays the role of Langda Tyagi. Pataudi Junior has had a fabulous streak in recent times and Omkara will only enhance that career which is sky rocketing after Hum Tum where he was a solo hero. Excerpts from an interview…

Who is Langda Tyagi?
Iago was the first literary psychopath. He has no motivation for what he does, except insane jealousy and disrespect for the colour of Othello. So Langda Tyagi is a man for who people lack respect and that motivates him to be extremely dangerous. He reads peoples mind so well that he can misguide them easily.

What kind of preparations did you have to do for your character in Omkara?
I had an interesting time preparing for the character. I had to shave off my hair, and since I am a Leo I am quite attached to me hair. So I went thinking that why don’t they shave off Ajay’s hair instead. I also had to attend the workshop and to learn the dialogues. And once it was prepared it was a pleasure.

Bipasha and Ajay both seem to love your character in the film. What is so special about it?
Firstly the fact that I am playing it. (laughs) It is a pivotal character and things happen in the film because of him. Ajay is how you would imagine him to be but perhaps I am not.

Have you read Othello?
I was an English major in school and at that time I had read about 6 plays. But I read Othello now. There is a concept to this film. This is Shakespeare’s play so it was worth doing my homework for this film. May be there are some additional inputs that I could get.I didn’t read Parineeta and more things which I was supposed to. I don’t think it’s necessary to read these books. What’s important is that your interpretation should be unique.

How was your experience dancing to the song Beedi Jalaike?
Dancing is anyway tough for me and then dancing like Langda Tyagi was like a nightmare. In the first dance shot the choreographer told me that it’s not a trance party. But I finally got it and I am proud of it. I find myself unrecognisable but enjoyable.

How was the shooting experience?
It was rather tough. It was a daily one hour drive to Panchgani. It was so different from shooting for Yash Chopra or a Dharma Production in New York. It normally takes me 10 minutes. Getting ready for the role everyday took me a long time. There were times when I used to forget to limp for a shot, so they actually made my one shoe higher than the other. But unfortunately I sprained my ankle because of that and it still makes some weird noise. My tooth is still yellow. The pan stains have not gone.

Why did you have to let go of Qurbani?
I got excited and said yes for Qurbani at one point but I later realised that I already had commitments with Omkara. There were date problems, my hair was too short. Besides when one has to do a role like Langda Tyagi, then you have to be prepared to let go of other things that come your way.

Has there been any strategy you follow while signing films.
After I did Kal Ho Na Ho I thought I want to extend this image of urban, real, non hero image. Then Hum Tum came to me when I was ready for it and Aditya Chopra made a great investment. Then I kept it going with Salaam Namaste. But Omkara, Parineeta and Ek Haseena Thi are the keys to offset that image.

Do you like watching your mother’s films?
No. I never really liked her films. They were all so depressing. She would always keep crying and I never liked to see her that way. Mausam was so depressing.

What are your forthcoming films?
I am also doing one film with Yash Raj which is directed by Siddharth. I am doing a thriller film with Abbas Mustan and Tips, which will start in January. Ekalavya is ready, depends on Mr. Chopra when he wants to release it.