Saif Ali Khan admits to being privileged, says ‘it’s common in India for good actors to not get opportunities’

Hindustan Times | By
Jun 22, 2020 02:11 PM IST

Actor Saif Ali Khan once again spoke about the topic of nepotism in the film industry, and admitted that in India ‘it’s common for good actors to not get opportunities that sometimes some privileged people do.’

Actor Saif Ali Khan has said that he was glad to shed his ‘privileged’ image and earn the respect of his peers with his performance as Langda Tyagi in Vishal Bhardwaj’s Omkara. The actor was speaking about the film to journalist Anupama Chopra.

Saif Ali Khan with his son, Taimur.
Saif Ali Khan with his son, Taimur.

When she asked him about how the cast and crew started referring to him as ‘Khan sahab’ after the first day of work, Saif said, “Being the kind of person I am, the films that I have done, there has also been as sense of privilege and lack of privilege, and people coming up the hard way and people coming up the easy way, that’s always been the undercurrent, especially in an ensemble like this, with some of these NSD guys and film institute chaps.”

He added, “They’ve come up purely through talent, while some of us, frankly, have had doors opened for us by privilege of our birth and the parents we’ve had. So, given that undercurrent, when you’re on set and you do a scene and you are as prepared as anyone else and you deliver a line which is on par with if not better than everyone, then you feel better. And to earn the respect of those guys felt really important.

Also read: Saif Ali Khan changes stance on nepotism: It’s horrible, I am totally against it

Coming from Vishal Bhadwaj, Saif said, a compliment like ‘Khan sahab’ was special, because he’d worked with the likes of Naseeruddin Shah in the past. “It felt like a compliment that one had deserved, because I hadn’t worked on anything else for a few months,” he said. “It happens a lot in India that there are good actors that do not get the opportunities that sometimes some privileged people do.”

Saif has often been at the forefront of the debate around nepotism in the film industry, a topic that has been reignited after the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput. In 2017, Saif along with Varun Dhawan and Karan Johar had declared at an awards show, “Nepotism rocks!”. As a clarification, he’d written in an open letter, “It’s not something that I wrote or something I believe in. It was a joke on ourselves, between Varun (Dhawan), Karan (Johar) and me. It was not supposed to be a big deal, but I realised at some point, that it might have offended Kangana (Ranaut). I called her and apologised personally. That should be the end of it. Everybody needs to take a chill pill and back off,” he wrote.

Also read: Sara Ali Khan, Taimur, Ibrahim with dad Saif in one frame, courtesy Kareena Kapoor

Later, in an interview to PTI, he had said, “Nepotism is a horrible thing. I am totally against nepotism. I have benefited from it for sure. Definitely, we have more opportunities than people who are not connected to movies.”

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