Filmmaker Kundan Shah’s Kya Kehna, which released in 2000, was touted to be a film way ahead of its time. Starring Preity Zinta, Saif Ali Khan and Chandrachur Singh in the lead roles, it was about an unwed girl who gets pregnant. Saif played the role of Preity’s lover in the film who leaves her on learning about her pregnancy. The actor says it was this bad boy character that made him come on board.
“The unique part about my character was that it was a slightly negative role, which was quite dynamic. The role was that of a bad boy. The girl falls for him and he dumps her,” says Saif.
Talking about how filmmaker Kundan Shah made it interesting for him to make sense of the character, Saif narrates, “He is not your typical commercial director. He needed to find a story for the guy. He said a person who treats girls like this must have an issue with his mother. So, he wrote a scene where my character confronts his mother, and in a Freudian way, accuses her of being with other men. It was a different angle, but later, one of the producers found it too much and cut it from the film.”
Shedding light on his experience of working with actor Preity Zinta, the 46-year-old says that he remembers her being very energetic on the sets of the film. “Preity was great fun to work with—so bubbly and energetic—she kept talking about her cheques and career. She talked non-stop throughout the film’s shoot. Kundan almost had a heart attack at that time, not directly related to her I hope, and she asked him, ‘Sir, how is the heart attack?’ and he said, ‘Very good,’” laughs Saif.
Recalling some anecdotes while shooting the film, Saif talks about an incident when he had a wardrobe malfunction. “We were shooting in Switzerland and I was giving a shot while rolling down a hill or something, and I tore my black leather pants and you could see my white underwear. I think they printed it because they couldn't get it again. I was hoping no one would notice,” says Saif.
The actor adds, “Another funny thing happened during the dubbing. In one of the scenes, my character says ‘haramzaada’, and they were like ‘we can’t dub that because it’s an expletive and needs to be changed.’ So, they changed that to ‘nawabzaada’, which is apparently as offensive as ‘haramzada’ in post Nehru India. But being a nawabzada at that time was quite entertaining. The title had become a gaali.”
Ask him if he likes to watch the film when it’s aired on television, and he says, “I had too bad a hair cut to do that (watch the film). I very rarely watch my films again.”
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