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Yashji was a father figure: Saif Ali Khan

Yash Chopra was one of filmmaking’s old school leaders, who was loved by everyone in the unit. The bond that the unit shared while working on Yashji’s film doesn’t exist in today’s time, says Saif Ali Khan.

bollywood Updated: Oct 27, 2012 17:48 IST
Saif Ali Khan

My mother (Sharmila Tagore) was always fond of Yashji (Yash Chopra). I believe he was her escort during the premiere of Aradhana (1969) or some other film around the same time when she was pregnant with me.

When I met Yashji for the first time, I was already in a lot of trouble in the film industry. I had got myself thrown out of my first film. I was also married to Amrita Singh then, so no one actually wanted to sign me up as they were concerned what my future in the film industry would be like. It was Yashji, who, displaying the same maverick streak that made him a unique filmmaker, showed his kindheartedness by signing me as one of the leads in Parampara (1993). That’s when we actually started interacting.

The first-ever screen test I gave in my film career was for Yashji and Adi (Aditya Chopra). In fact, I have spent more time in their offices and home than anywhere else in the industry. Yashji always had the time to talk to me and the kind of advice he would give was mind-blowing. If I have ever looked at someone as a father figure, it is Yashji.

He was one of filmmaking’s old school leaders, who was loved by everyone in the unit — right from the spotboy and the cook to the big stars. The bond that the unit shared while working on Yashji’s film doesn’t exist in today’s time. So when we say goodbye to him, we also bid adieu to that school of filmmaking. In the true sense, Yashji was one of the most loved people in the industry because of his sheer humility.

Bollywood actor Saif Ali Khan

Not many know that Yashji and I also worked together in Yeh Dillagi (1994), of which he was the producer. Later on, Hum Tum (2004), a Yash Raj Films production, was my first film as the sole male lead which got me the National Award. Looking back, I can confidently state that my career has been formed and is completely owed to Yash Raj Films and to Yashji.

— As told to Prashant Singh

Saif to work with Sajid next year
Even before Sajid Khan wraps up the Ajay Devgn-starrer Himmatwala, we can confirm that the director is set to work with Saif Ali Khan in his next venture, produced by Vashu Bhagnani.

“The film is an action-romantic comedy and will go on the floors by June-July after Himmatwala releases in March,” says an insider close to the project. Although Sajid refused to comment on it, insiders suggest that Saif will be doing a never-seen-before role in the film.

“Vashuji is already working with Sajid on Himmatwala and he is very happy with the way Sajid approaches his work,” adds the insider. We also hear that the film has already been sold to Fox Star Studios, even before it hits the floors.

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(With additional inputs)