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'Omkara will silence detractors'

Saif Ali Khan talks about world concerts, future projects and his rustic character in Omkara.

india Updated: Jul 18, 2006 18:50 IST

Bollywood's current heartthrob Saif Ali Khan says his world concert Heat flopped because of lack of rehearsals and innovativeness.

"I have always said preparation for these concerts requires as much care as our films and ads. The concerts need to be more exciting.

"Last time when we had a super-successful show it was with Shah Rukh Khan called Temptations. It was the way he put it together that made it a lot classier than the other shows that I had done," Saif said.

The concert wasn't a big success, but his acting career is going places and Saif is of the view that his performance in Omkara will silence his detractors.

 

 Saif will be seen in Vishal Bharadwaj's Omkara, which is releasing on July 28

"I said yes to

Omkara 

because of the language and script. If people thought I couldn't carry off the stark rustic UP (Uttar Pradesh) lingo and attitude then I had to prove them wrong. A lot of people feel I can only play the rich pampered boy. That has fuelled my desire to prove I can do the unexpected," said Saif.

"What co-stars and directors said didn't matter as much as friends or critics saying I am not capable of playing the male lead, or that I could just be the comedian or the supporting actor."

Excerpts:

The latest world concerts by Bollywood were a disaster. Any second thoughts?

I have always said preparation for these concerts requires as much care as our films and ads. The concerts need to be more exciting. At an average we attract 5,000 people when it ought to be 300,000 tickets. Why? Last time we had a super-successful show -- it was with Shah Rukh Khan called Temptations.

It was the way he put it together that made it a lot classier than the other shows that I had done. It was just his stardom. Shah Rukh wanted all of us -- Saif, Arjun and the girls (Preity Zinta, Rani Mukerji and Priyanka Chopra) -- to be at our best. I think we need to give more time to prepare for these world tours.

You were offered Feroz Khan's Qurbani?

I think the timing was wrong. My plate is so full. Siddharth Anand's film requires all my attention. I met Khan sahib in Dubai and apologised. And Fardeen is a friend.

Saying no isn't easy for me. And finally you end up being more offensive than you ever meant to be. Now I have learnt my lesson. I need to make my intentions clearer at the start.

You are shooting for Anand's new film. How is the experience?

It is a Yash Raj Film. So I can't say much about the project. It is designed to be as widely appealing as possible. Working with Anand and Rani is great fun. Anand and I have been bonding from the days of Hum Tum, which he was associated with. Preity was the new one during Salaam Namaste.

After Omkara, Anand's film is a different territory. It generally doesn't take me long to decide whether it is right to do a film.

Anand told me he'd 'never make a film without you'.

That is a refreshing compliment. There are other filmmakers who say the same thing about other actors. But no one has said it about me. I feel inspired. Anand's faith in me kind of wakes me up and gives me the impetus to be one of the fittest heroes in town.

Do you need to lose weight?

Yeah, I have lost some weight due to viral fever. I had recently put on some weight. I need a push from the outside to be competitive again. I become competitive in spurts. That's a Leo trait in me.

I saw portions of Vishal Bharadwaj's Omkara. It will take you to a completely new level.

I said yes to it because of the language and script. For some strange reason I like to do the forbidden. If people thought I couldn't carry off the stark rustic UP lingo and attitude then I had to prove them wrong. A lot of people feel I can only play the rich, pampered boy. That has fuelled my desire to prove I can do the unexpected.

Is defiance a strong trait in you?

I don't know. Professionally a lot of my energy has come from my detractors.

Earlier co-stars and directors have been unfair to you?

That didn't matter as much as friends or critics saying I am not capable of playing the male lead or that I could just be the comedian or the supporting actor.

You were often compared with Shashi Kapoor.

And that was flattering because he is a great achiever in art, theatre and cinema. I have nothing in common with him except that my mom says we have a similar smile. Shashi Kapoor was classically handsome. I am not. But I can be quite sexy if I want.

Oh yes?

(Laughs) But in Omkara, I am sexy in a different way. I had seen other actors getting their UP-Bihar accents and attitude right. So why not me? It is not as if my colleagues are from that area of the world. We are all from Mumbai, a city where your language is often corrupted.

When I spend time in my father's hometown Pataudi (in Haryana) or my mother's city Bhopal, I have noticed that their language is similar to what I had to say in Omkara. I just fell back on my roots.

Did Bharadwaj help you?

Oh yes! He taped the dialogues. I remember jogging in Switzerland while listening to dialogues on my walkman. This role required maximum preparation. After that, it was the easiest role to play. In my other roles all I had to do was to get the clothes and makeup right and then learn the lines.

I think he wanted my character to be a wheezing-singsong evil. That was a style I wasn't too comfortable with. I thought it to be too slimy. I wanted to have my evil character to have a certain dignity and strength.

Bipasha Basu thinks you are very cute?

Does she? I am looking forward to working with her. Though we are working together in Omkara, I am opposite Konkona (SenSharma). But this word 'cute' is a very safe expression.

Saif expression?

No safe. I'd rather be called plain positive handsome.

There are reports of a rift between you and your lady Rosa.

There is absolutely no truth to it. As far as my objecting to her working goes, I have absolutely nothing against her working. In fact, I have been encouraging her to do so.

So all well in paradise?

All well.

Any last thoughts?

I have to make my own decisions these days about money matters. I never did that before. I have to do that now. It is a matter of concern. I have to stop looking helpless about these things. I am going to be 35 in August. It is time I took stock of my accounts.