With shaven head, yellowing teeth, a ring in one ear and a pronounced limp - Saif Ali Khan essays his most evil character to date in Vishal Bharadwaj's upcoming Omkara, the Hindi adaptation of Shakespeare's Othello. And the role has given him the confidence to do tougher roles.
The promos of Omkara are out and Saif is looking quite deadly in them as Langda Tyagi, the role of Iago.
When the film offer came, Saif says, he was more than delighted. But then he was very disappointed when Bharadwaj offered him Iago's role as he was keen to play Othello.
Saif is all set to be seen as the villain in Omkara
"Me and my mom were discussing Shakespeare and she said I should do a movie on one of his plays. She said, 'You should either do
'. And the next day Vishal called and asked if I would like to work in his interpretation of
, and I said, 'Yes, of course'," Saif said.
"I was not so keen on Iago but he read out the first scene and it was like a Western movie. It was so well written. I just agreed on the basis of that first scene. The setting is somewhat based in western Uttar Pradesh."
For Saif, who is more comfortable with the queen's language, the dialogues proved quite challenging.
"The dialogues were a challenge due to the dialect. It was a challenge to get into that kind of character, which is not at all refined, but very crude.
"The character is not something that comes naturally to me. It is extremely removed from my own personality. The way he walks, talks and gesticulates are totally against my own behaviour."
Saif's character is called Eshwar Tyagi, nicknamed Langda Tyagi because of the limp.
"My character is disappointed over his not being promoted by Omi (Ajay Devgan, who plays a ganglord). He just destroys people around him. He has an uncanny hold over people around him and just manipulates their lives to his advantage. He uses them and their proximity to him to destroy them. A strong theme in this film is insecurity and jealousy, which is existent in any society."
Saif sports a rural look, and Bharadwaj had to really work hard to convince him to shave off his hair for the role.
"My long hair had to be shaved off. I was quite fond of it. Some scars of mine are made prominent and some others added. My teeth were coloured yellow, I grew a beard, have chapped lips, sport an earring and have a limp.
"The entire dressing style is different. Everything in my role is acted, not at all close to my real personality. In some films I have played a person closer to my nature," said Saif, who established himself as a metrosexual after the success of Hum Tum and Kal Ho Naa Ho.
Saif says his is one of the most evil characters in the film.
"Langda is most lethal, evil, dangerous and Satanic to an extent. He is the nastiest villain of Shakespeare. Some people believe that he is the devil himself. Some who have played Iago had to visit the psychiatrist. He is a psychopath and has no guilt attached to any of his actions."
When asked who is more tragic - Omi or Langda, Saif said: "Omi is definitely more tragic. He is jealous and insecure, believes in lies about one whom he loves. He just ends up killing his wife due to jealousy."
Saif confesses that sometimes he would forget to limp while emoting.
"Sometimes I used to forget to limp because I needed time to come to accept the character. He is a typical rural guy, and I am not! This film has given me the confidence to do tougher roles.
"I know I can do it now."
Saif is highly impressed with his director.
"Vishal is very open, ready to change things if he feels so. He is a writer of calibre. His dialogues are unique and deadly. It is a Western type of movie with a kind of earthy, sweaty and smelly kind of feel to it."
Saif's favourite song in the film is Bidi jalai le picturised on Bipasha Basu.
"It has romantic tracks, love songs and also the disco fun. My personal favourite is Bidi jalai le."
Saif and Ajay, who showed great on screen chemistry in Kachche Dhaage, team up after a long gap in the film.
"I am working with him after Kachche Dhaage, in which both our characters were tailor made for us. But in this film it is very different. There is a lot of space between us and we are very comfortable. Ajay is someone I look forward to working with."