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'I don’t consider myself a rock star at all'

Saif Ali Khan who has become the gossip tribe’s delight talks to Hiren Kotwani about friends, family, rumours and his upcoming movie Race.

entertainment Updated: Feb 29, 2008 14:56 IST
Hiren Kotwani

He's all over the place.. except where he should be. But wait that should change with a line-up of slick-‘n’-chic movies expected this year. Meanwhile, he has become the gossip tribe’s delight. Over to Saif Ali Khan in an interview mode with Hiren Kotwani.

You’re in the public mind more for personal than professional reasons.
There are different departments in a star’s life.. one is personal. People do want to know what is happening in a star’s life. But that’s irrelevant when his film releases. Every thing is forgotten when the lights go out. All the reports of a fight in a night club or whatever disappear from the public mind. They stop connecting to Saif, they relate to the character he’s playing .<b1>

Have you ever felt the need to sit down with your children and explain to them about what’s being reported?

Explain what to them? In the first few months, at times as in every family there is a need to explain. My children (Sara and Ibrahim) are cool, not that offended. If it’s interesting journalism to say that Saif was talking away on his phone in the lobby of a hotel, then I don’t know what to say.



I’m starting to see the point — that I shouldn’t be on the phone. I’m a free type of a guy, I like to wander around. I talk to people. I don’t think of myself as this huge exclusive movie star.



Are you a friend to your children or a strict father?

I strike a balance. I’m quite cool. They treat me like a friend.. but there’s also respect. Sara says I get angry fast and I cool down fast. Amrita takes a while to get angry.. and it takes a long time for her anger to cools down.



Have your kids seen your films?

Yeah, recently they’ve been watching.. not many from the 1990s though. They tell me what they like, what they don’t.



Any favourite father-children activities?

The usual.. bowling, swimming. I’ll be getting two months off soon.. so I will get more time with them. <b2>



Your plans of producing movies has been in the news for a while now.. but there’s no sign of a film yet.


We’ll be making an official announcement soon.



So who will directing the first movie for your banner Illuminati Films? Sriram Raghavan or Imtiaz Ali?

Imtiaz will make the first film. Sriram’s movie will come later.



What kind of movies will you be producing?

We have some idea about the kind of movies we want to make. They will be related to some of the things we believe in.



After

Salaam Namaste

and

Ta Ra Rum Pum

, where does

Race

fit into your scheme of things?


I’ve been working in a cocooned environment with Yash Raj Films, selling the NRI

Salaam Namaste

kind of stories. So it’s interesting to do a sexy music video.. with a team that works across the board, instead of only targeting the multiplexes. I’ve learnt a lot.

Race

is a smart sexy thriller.The girls are looking hot, the guys cool. You’ll enjoy your popcorn.



Okay, why have you gone in for stunt

giri

—like jumping off the 26th floor and horseback chases?

Allan Amin, the action director, made us do a lot of things. Not action per se, I’d say action is combat fighting. This is more of a thriller. We trained on race horses in South Africa. It’s like the difference between driving a Ferrari as opposed to a Fiat.. when you take off, you do so at many miles an hour more. <b3>



When I got up to the 26th floor, I was a bit nervous. But I ended up doing that stunt four times. Now I’ve become an expert in cable jumping. Everything unattempted before is exciting challenge.. like the long complicated lines of dialogue in

Omkara

. By comparison, I had just about five lines in

Dil Chahta Hai

.



Since 2007 was a

thanda

year for you, do you intend to steam up your act now?

Last year wasn’t meant to be

thanda

.

Ta Ra Rum Pum

was backed by Yash Raj Films.

Eklavya

had many experienced names but it didn’t work.



Whom would you count as your friends in the industry?

Fardeen Khan, Salman Khan, Aamir Khan, Ajay Devgan and Sanjay Dutt..



And what about the girls?

A friend is someone you hang around with, have dinner and drinks with. (Smiles) Preity is the only girl I’ve shared dinner and drinks with.. never dated her. I’ve a pretty good rapport with every one. Now since I’ve turned a producer, everyone is a potential client.



Do you think you have changed much?


I’ve become more understanding, caring, patient.. but I’ve been a little less disciplined about my health of late. I need to be careful now. <b4>



Apparently, you’ve started smoking again?

I have not really started smoking again. If I drink somewine, I take a drag or two from someone’s cigarette. I believe that’s okay.. probably it’s not.My daughter doesn’t like it. At times, it’s difficult not to.



Are you trying for the image of a rock star nowadays by playing at gigs?

I love playing the guitar, but I don’t think of myself as a rock star at all. There are many talented musicians in the country, but they aren’t known here. In the US, they would be superstars. Here only the actors. And to a certain extent, the cricketers matter—not all that much, compared to say, Shah Rukh Khan



So, how do you react to the stories written about you?


Yeah, I understand it’s part of the job.. part of your job. At times, it does get a bit embarrassing.When it’s written that I call my father ‘Dad’ or ‘Pop’, it bothers me.. because I call him Abba. And if I’m quoted, using the kind of language I never would, then it bothers me. It makes me seems like a twit. Plus, there is too much exposure at times.. like now this tabloid has taken over my life. Now they are writing about me talking on the phone while in a hotel lobby. I’m casual when I go to places. Usually you keep your head down, knowing you’ll be recognised.