Aarakshan is behind him now, but Saif Ali Khan admits that the film was a lot of hard work and an eye-opener of sorts. “It was discussed on so many talk shows and different forums even as we tried to convince everyone that it was a ‘safe’ film and unlikely to upset anyone, yet it was banned in three states (Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Punjab). The ban was lifted in AP and Punjab after a couple of days and in UP after a week following the Supreme Court’s decision, but it still hurt us badly not being able to open across the country on Friday. If something like this happened with my own production, Agent Vinod, I’d be anguished. I can imagine how Prakashji (producer-director Prakash Jha) feels,” he sighs.
Is he going to do Jha’s next film on India Shining? “Nothing has been finalised,” he says. “At the moment, I’m looking to do slightly more commercial stuff. The films I like are more of the escapist fare and it’s tempting to steer clear of controversies. But I’d want to do a socially-relevant film like Aarakshan once in a while if something exciting and entertaining comes up.”
For now though, Saif has only an Agent Vinod, Cocktail and Race 2 on his plate. The thriller should wrap up by mid-September and Cocktail by the year-end. The Race sequel will roll by October and he’s in talks with Kumar Taurani of Tips for another film. There’s also a ‘comic book’ collaboration with Twentieth Century Fox that should be announced soon and another home production in which he plays a zombie hunter that will flag off around October. “That’s a lot,” he smiles. “And the bulk of it is commercial cinema.”
He’s supposed to be one of the actors in contention for the role of an eccentric in the quirky comedy, Ghanchakkar, and going by Rajkumar Gupta’s previous two films, Aamir (2008) and No One Killed Jessica, it’s unlikely to be a mainstream movie. “Yes, the script of Ghanchakkar came to me a month ago. I read it and thought about it for a while,” he says. “But two days ago, I decided that though I wanted to work with Rajkumar Gupta, whose films I’ve liked, Ghanchakkar is not the kind of film I’m looking to do now. I didn’t want to make the news public because I don’t like to influence the decision of other actors. It’s an interesting script and will suit someone else better. Meanwhile, I’m hoping Gupta and I will collaborate on another project in the near future.”