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Home / Bollywood / Saif Ali Khan on comparisons to Ranveer Singh’s Khilji: ‘I’m happy to be compared with another actor’s performance’

Saif Ali Khan on comparisons to Ranveer Singh’s Khilji: ‘I’m happy to be compared with another actor’s performance’

Saif Ali Khan has said that he Ranveer Singh’s performance as Khilji wasn’t on his mind, when he started playing Udaybhan in Tanhaji.

bollywood Updated: Jan 10, 2020 17:59 IST
Kavita Awaasthi
Kavita Awaasthi
Hindustan Times

Saif Ali Khan is ready to embark on a new chapter of his life in 2020, and that’s not only because he is turning 50 this year, but also due to the diverse projects he has lined up. In an interview, the actor excitedly opens up on his first-ever historical role, his reunion with Ajay Devgn, and how he looks back at his 27-year-long career. Excerpts:

The antagonist’s role in Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior is your first role as a historic character. How did you prepare?

I sat with director Om Raut and worked on understanding the character and got the right look. But, the real work was to deliver the theatrical performance. It was new for me. We wanted the acting to look natural, but the process to develop it was mechanical. At times, I gave 15 to 20 takes to get the scenes right. Underplaying a character is simple, but playing a larger-than-life character is tough. It is one of the most difficult forms of acting. As an artiste, it was a discovery. What drew me to the film was the chance to do a big costume drama, a CG heavy 3D film.

After the promos released, there were comparisons between your character and Ranveer Singh’s role in Padmavaat (2018) as Khilji. What’s your take on that?

It wasn’t on my mind, when I started playing this role. But I appreciate that Ranveer has set the bar high for essaying a historical character in Hindi films. The roles I play are usually original, and I’ve never had to take inspiration from anyone, nor have I found my work being compared to anyone else’s. I’m happy to be compared with another actor’s performance. I feel people will realise that both the roles are completely different once they watch the film.

How was the experience of reuniting with Ajay Devgn onscreen, after Kachche Dhaage (1999) and Omkara (2006)?

I have a few scenes with Ajay in the film and a massive fight sequence in the climax with sword fighting. We got trained under German technicians for that. Ajay is a talented action hero, and to do fight scenes with him and do it well, means that I’ve grown as an actor. He is a cool person, a relaxed actor, and a generous producer. I enjoyed working with him. On one level, nothing much has changed between us. Today, we are more responsible and have other things to worry about. During Kachche Dhaage, we were simple. The films made in the ’90s were amazing. We had beautiful locations, good friends, and lots of fun. Films like Kachche Dhaage were what being in the industry was all about. But, today, films are more stressful and Tanhaji is a big film with a lot of responsibility. Ajay and I didn’t reminisce much, as we were focussed on getting things done.

You will hit 50 this year. How do you look at your career now?

I’m enjoying my personal and professional life now. I feel well balanced in life. I’ve worked quite hard to get to this stage. I will be 50 this year and I’m in a good place. I’m looking forward to the rest of it. I have become better at my craft. I like the kind of offers that are coming my way. One has to know what you want and you have to know how to live. For some reason, these things have always been clear to me. I know how to be, and I am really happy in life whether it is on a set, or what people call a holiday, I call it living my life.

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