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HindustanTimes Wed,22 Oct 2014

Cocktail is too international in its palate: Saif Ali Khan (Part 1)

Devansh Patel, Bollywood Hungama   July 09, 2012
First Published: 03:07 IST(9/7/2012) | Last Updated: 15:03 IST(10/7/2012)
 There'€™s something so aristocratic about Saif Ali Khan even when you spot him dressed in white pyjamas and a kurta. Hair ruffled and beard well kept, almost in a ‘wake up’ look.

He really doesn'€™t wonder how a journalist's sudden feeling will be at that given point in time. But that’s how he is. He is himself, always and that’s what you relate to. “Everyone’s been Gautam once in their lifetime,” he says as he refers to his character from Cocktail. He may look unsteady sometimes but yet terrific is just what he has usually been, uncommonly free of narcissistic mannerisms even in movies that hyperbolize his presence.

He gets up, orders his coffee and walks towards his open balcony after greeting me with his contagious smile and a definite handshake. He turns and tells me, “Isn’t it a beautiful sight outside? Green, all green. Sometimes I like Mumbai more than U.K.” The moment was spontaneous, unexpected. Then this comes out, “I think forty is still young enough to play such roles”. Ok, girls are drooling already on social networking sites over ‘Daaru Desi’ and ‘Tumhi Ho Bandhu’ videos. When a rage for authenticity meets a passionate personality meets a working man’s attitude, you get this guy. An actor of great dimension - just don't call him that. I call him smart, perceptive, gracious, ballsy. Bollywood’s best case for itself, 42. Presenting you Part 1 of this special tete-a-tete with Saif Ali Khan on his views on friendship, his musical motivation, his vulnerable characters, his elderly opinion, the birth of Homi Adajania and his brat pack days in the U.K.

You’ve been a part of a cult film on friendship called Dil Chahta Hai. How did you look at friendship then and how do you look at it now?
What’s changed about friendship for me is that earlier it was something I took for granted. I was a bit too conscious about being too caring and guys don’t show that, do they? School was like playing practical jokes at each other. Today it’s more about being more understanding and a little more loving, at the risk of sounding bit girly (laughs).

India is wired in to ‘Daaru Desi’ and ‘Tumhi Ho Bandhu’. Are you always wired in too?
Music is the most incredible thing. It’s a mood changer, it’s an inspiration. We are a different world to America but I still love western music compared to Hindi film music. I connect to Quentin Tarantino music than Cocktail music but the impact should be the same. I like popular music also but just to unwind and to read, music is constantly playing in my apartment. I am looking forward to the OST of Django Unchained now more than The Dark Knight Rises (laughs).

Do you think you’ve played characters that are more vulnerable since Dil Chahta Hai days?
Over the last decade or so, I have done characters that are vulnerable. Gautam from Cocktail is quite vulnerable too. When I started off my career, we were all being offered films that were just a re-work version of Amitabh Bachchan-Shashi Kapoor or Amitabh Bachchan-Vinod Khanna kind of movies. So there was a big hangover of Mr Bachchan back then. When Dil Chahta Hai came about, I played a character not too heroic but real and not fictional. It’s more reflective of us people. Salaam Namaste, Hum Tum, Cocktail had a certain kind of a city sensibility. There is connectivity to them as a viewer and that’s where we score as a character and as an actor.

You look too elderly compared to Deepika and Diana. Is that a conscious decision?
Gautam in Cocktail is elderly to the other two ladies, I agree. But I guess Homi wants him to be even more mature. Gautam is a guy whose mother wants him to settle down now because everything is getting a bit much. She thinks the overextended kind of youth doesn’t help. It’s important to play age appropriate roles. The idea is to look good. If you look tired and sleepy, it really doesn’t help. I think forty is still young enough to play such roles. I guess we’ll see what happens in the next five years (laughs).

Little did you know that the birth of Illuminati films will give birth to a sensational new director called Homi Adajania, did you?
The birth of Illuminati Films was through Being Cyrus. That’s where I met Dinesh Vijan. I wanted to act in it, Vijan wanted to produce it and Homi directed it. Dinoo wanted Homi to direct a Hindi film but Homi didn’t want to. I thought Homi would never pull it off if he isn’t interested in the first place. You have to believe in it. Cocktail is too international in its palate. Homi is surprising in every way, including his looks. He is a dapper dude. You stereotype him as a conscientious and a sensitive filmmaker. Honestly, he is. He is himself, he is Homi. Cocktail is a remarkable film and he will be a star after the release. Directors can’t be the ones who’ve watched the world cinema in their bedrooms. They should’ve travelled the world, they should know what the world is about, they should have ear for music, etc. They should have a little flavour of the whole world in it. Homi has given just that to Cocktail.

Recall your brat pack days in the U.K
I can’t recall any of my brat days back in the U.K. That’s because back then I didn’t used to have that much money as I have today. All I had was some beers with friends in a pub. That’s about it (laughs). Those days were precious. It’s nostalgia.

Watch this space for Part 2
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