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Saif: Endearing but different

Being Cyrus adds another feather to Saif's cap, writes Arnab Banerjee.

india Updated: Mar 25, 2006 18:42 IST

Wearing an affable smile and his two-day stubble, not to mention the nonchalance with which he carries himself, Saif Ali Khan aka Cyrus comes up with a power-punched performance in this week’s release, Being Cyrus.

The movie is a psychological drama set in the Parsi community and has director Homi Adajania making his big screen debut. And Adajania could not have hoped for a better start, particularly with Saif proving yet again that he may be a late bloomer, but has he arrived and now.

Urban Oeuvre
Movies with urban settings like Hum Tum, Salaam Namaste and Ek Haseena Thi have suited the Chhote Nawab’s to the T. Even a period flick like Parineeta owes part of its success to the suave actor’s performance.

As has been oft repeated, Khan, born to yesteryears’ box office queen Sharmila Tagore and ace Cricketer Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, looked completely ill-at-ease in his formative years in the typically formulae-ridden Bollywood films.

The umpteen demands of the actor to dance, jump, sine and run around trees and exaggeratedly emote in loud scenes and tearjerkers made him a pathetic sight.

Being Cyrus adds another feather to Saif's  accomplishments. The movie borders more on the dark and quaint black humor, that makes him an endearing person to start with.

But gradually, Hindi films began to bury the clichéd recipe for success, and this came as a boon for Saif. Fortunately for him, the actor was part of the firsts of such path breaking films - Farhan Akhtar’s

Dil Chahta Hai

and has never looked back ever since.



Dark Depths

Now

Being Cyrus

adds another feather to the actor’s accomplishments. The movie borders more on the dark and quaint black humor, that makes him an endearing person to start with.



As Cyrus engages himself as a sculpting apprentice to Dinshaw (Naseeruddin Shah) in Panchgani. He makes his presence into the somewhat bizarre and eccentric Sethna family and his unsuspecting ways help him get on with life smoothly. But the apparent do-gooder is no saint and is obviously looking for personal gains.

He charms his way through, when he befriends Dinshaw’s wife, Katy (the ravishing Dimple Kapadia) and enjoys the flirtatious and obsessive woman’s fantasy. He gives in quite voluntarily without any qualms.

But he isn’t someone who would reveal too much about himself and has his own agenda set right and goes about doing daily chores in the Sethna household merrily, which also incidentally includes sleeping with Katy, while listening to her manipulative ways of inheriting her father-in-law’s property in Mumbai.

It’s a disorderly world with everyone trying to live for his own reasons or maneuvering one’s game-plan to have an edge over the other, and Cyrus is no exception. He is a dreamer, but also a concerned human who gets startled to see inhuman treatment meted out to old and the incapacitated.

The only difference is – he doesn’t stop to lend a helping hand, though he does care, and looks for opportunities to explore his own motives and masterminds a plot to come out triumphant.

Complex but charming
The role is as complex as the convoluted conspiracy that he hatches to win over people.

What Saif adds to the character is his own charm - ruthless and unruffled, as also his intriguing sense of complacency. All with the sole intention of acquiring control and a life he dreamed of. And there are no apologies offered.

In a way, Cyrus is akin to the smart aleck Karan Singh Rathore in Sriram Raghavan directed Ek Haseena Thi, who cons his way and makes a living out of deceit.

As Cyrus, he never wears his heart on the sleeve and carries out his tactics with superb elan never once displaying his innermost psyche. That he is pitted against one of the finest actors, Naseeruddin Shah, and also great acting talents like Boman Irani, Dimple Kapadia and Simone Singh, doesn’t deter him from discovering his strengths as an actor.

His costar Shah discloses his experience of sharing screen space with him when he avers, “It was a challenge, which he took on with utmost care and self belief.”

Need we say more?