A gentleman-actor,” says three-times Academy Awards nominee Vidhu Vinod Chopra for his dearest actor, Saif Ali Khan.
From a 20-something Vikram Sehgal in Yeh Dilllagi to a rustic Uttar Pradesh goon Langda Tyagi, Khan took 14 years to prove his acting prowess. Now, he is ready to play a new role that of a producer with Eros International and friend Dinesh Vijan for their new project Agent Vinod.
Touted as a sleek action flick, Agent Vinod is on the lines of Bond films.
The idea germinated on the sets of Being Cyrus in 2005. Three like-minded men — US-educated MBA financier Dinesh Vijan, scuba-diving instructor Homi Adajania and Khan — came together to make Bollywood’s first English-language dark comedy. Khan and Vijan laid the foundation of Illumnati Films, a joint production house.
“Dinesh and I share a like-minded perspective of cinema. Ever since we met on the sets of Being Cyrus, we clicked,” Khan says.
“What excites me about the job is not the financial incentive alone. My input will primarily be creative,” he adds.
Together, they intend to produce “original entertainers”. Khan says the collaboration made sense, since he could relate to Vijan’s ideologies. “With films like Rang De Basanti, Bheja Fry and Munnabhai, the sensibilities of the audience are fast changing. It’s a challenge to be able to cater to the fast-changing mindset of viewers. Thankfully, we agree on scripts.
Even our idea of an entertainer is the same.”
Khan has dabbled in characters of all hues. Be it the cutie Oley..Oley boy of the 1990s or the metrosexual cook of the millennium clad in a pink vest, Khan has done it all. He went off-beat, with the shades of grey with Sriram Raghavan’s Ek Haseena Thi, and played a scheming Parsi in Cyrus. As he goes behind the camera, Khan’s vision is clear. Vijan says: “I could not have had a better partner. Not only is Saif an evolved actor, he has a very fine taste of cinema.”
However, Khan will not be seen in all the films he will produce.