Saif Ali Khan on his character in Jawaani Jaaneman: 'He's quite a mess but I hope people will relate to him'
Saif Ali Khan’s character in Jawaani Jaaneman is described as a mature playboy
For Saif Ali Khan, the year 2020 started with a bang as his first release of the year, Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior got cash registers ringing at the box office, and this year is going to be extremely busy for Saif, with both, films and a web show coming one after the other.
“Yes, this year has started off quite well. I am really happy and let’s hope it continues. I got some great compliments for Tanhaji. A filmmaker called me and said he was taken aback by the intensity. Somebody else said that how it was quite naturally done. But what made it special for me was quite a lot of action. It was a very theatrical kind of performance without going over the top and that was difficult,” says Saif as he walks on a treadmill, in an interaction with Firstpost.
Saif’s next is his home production, Jawaani Jaaneman, a romantic comedy where he plays a non-committal man in his 40’s who gets a shock on meeting his young, pregnant daughter.
The film, that also stars Tabu and newcomer Alaya Furniturewala, revisits Saif’s super hit dance number 'Ole Ole' from his 1994-release Yeh Dillagi (1994). “How time flies! I have done the recreated version of 'Ole Ole' and Sara (his daughter) has done Love Aaj Kal 2 which is ready for release. I have been working for nearly 30 years and I hope I will work for another 30. We have seen different times and different stages in movies and this is the best time to be working. Some of the most exciting roles are being offered now. I would rather be working in today’s movie industry than any time in the past. I wouldn’t change this time for any other. And as far as Love Aaj Kal is concerned, it is basically a young person’s story, it is for today as the title implies and every generation will have a new story. Maybe Imtiaz can make it when he is 60-70 with Taimur (laughs). He can continue making it,” says Saif.
Ask him if he approves of the reprised version of the song and Saif says, “Sometimes, you have to listen to the marketing team and what they think will sell or what the trend is. But starring in the remix of your own song is interesting. But then I also feel that 'Ole Ole' was probably best left where it is...It’s a great song and to reinvent is not something I’d have liked to do. But like I said, you listen to the marketing bosses.” Earlier, Saif was offered a cameo in Love Aaj Kal 2 but the actor declined the offer as the role didn’t excite him much. “Imtiaz offered me a part but it is not something I connected with. I wasn’t particularly excited about it,” he says.
“But Jawaani was great,” says Saif sounding excited about his upcoming release. “I really loved my part. Nitin Kakkar is a wonderful director. He has really elevated the script and made it into a very entertaining watch. It is quite a basic story about a guy who is not accepting his responsibility, in fact, he has not accepted himself and how he finally does. It is beautifully made. I have done quite a few films in this genre and all those were about girls but accepting the responsibility of your daughter just adds a certain maturity and gives it a more interesting feel,” he further adds.
Saif’s character in the film is being described as a mature playboy, to which he says, “I don’t know how sophisticated my guy is (his character). His name is Jazz, he is quiet basic. Yes, I guess he is a mature playboy but he is more like a hard drinking Punjabi Londoner who wakes up God knows where sometimes (laughs). So it is good fun to cross those lines on screen to actually drink too much. I have never done anything like this before. He is quite a mess in many places and I know many people like that. Hopefully people will relate.”
The film’s director, elaborating on Saif’s character has said, ‘When men turn into their 40’s but in their head they are 18 then there is a problem’. And when Saif is asked how he copes with the fear of aging, he says, “There comes in age where you worry about getting older. You also worry about life running out and that is human. Anyone who says that they are not really thinking about it, I pity those people because it will hit them hard one day. But then you see people around you who are living happy lives. My mother is so busy and active. Also people like Anil (Kapoor) and Amitji (Amitabh Bachchan). They are busy in their work and I think I am going to be like that because I am getting better and I am enjoying my work. My life is full. I am doing quite a lot of work and I want to take an equal amount of time off to experience beautiful things in this life before it is all gone to dust which will obviously happen one day.”
Saif and Tabu may have done couple of films together, but, apparently, Jawaani Jaaneman is their first film where they have scenes with each other. “I don’t remember giving a single shot with Tabu ever. We did Hum Saath Saath Hain and Tu Chor Main Sipahi, and I did a guest appearance in Biwi No 1 but I don’t remember speaking a line to her. She is a fantastic actor. She has done a cameo in Jawaani but it is a very important role and we needed someone who can really act. She very graciously agreed to do the film,” says Saif.
Now with the huge success of Tanhaji, and after some niche, artistic films, Saif has decided to return to commercial Bollywood space. “Yes, now I really want to concentrate on box office. I want to do more commercial stuff, and if I do something that isn’t as commercial it would be for Netflix or Amazon and at which point it should be absolutely insane. It would be fun doing Bunty Aur Babli 2 which is also more commercial. I am looking forward to doing that more consistently and also getting paid well for it. That is the plan. If I do something off-beat then it should be for a nice web show and not for a movie. I am also doing Ali Abbas Zafar’s web show Taandav, so that is the kind of mix I am looking at,” says Saif, one of those rare actors who is not bound by any image.
“I don’t want to have any tag. The image you should have is of having no image and you can play different parts, but, of course, some parts might suit you more than others. But I still don’t know what it is and which part suits me more. You can overthink these things but the idea is to do some nice work, enjoy that and balance that with experiencing life, travel, meeting friends. Some people like working a lot..whatever gives you happiness. Because life is short, so how you enrich it is up to you,” he says.
He continues, “I have a line-up of films though it is not really great in today’s time to have a large pipeline but these are the commitments I am looking forward to. I am excited about all of them happening one after the other. So there is Bunty Aur Babli 2, there is Lafdebaaz (alongside Siddhant Chaturvedi and Ananya Panday produced by Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani’s Excel Entertainment) and Hindi remake of Vikram Vedha, and after all that I want to do Bhoot Police (a horror comedy) which I am really keen on and that will be at the end of the year. Then I just have one day guest appearance in Mr Bechara. This year has started of quite well and let’s hope it continues.”
When asked if he will be part of the sequel of 2013 zombie comedy Go Goa Gone that producer Dinesh Vijan recently announced, and Saif revealed, “I have got really nothing to do with Go Goa Gone any more. I have sold all the rights and all the interest in it. So, if they offer me a part and if I feel like doing it I will do it. But there are so many exciting things happening.”
Lastly, does Saif feel confident with the success of Tanhaji – his first Rs 100 crore film after 2013- release Race 2, and the actor signs off saying, “It is quite easy to be confident with a successful film behind you but I find my confidence from being able to do my work well. I have done Tanhaji after a string of flops but I find my energy somewhere else. I think success and failure needs to be viewed equally dispassionately.”
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Dil Chahta Hai or Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, I don’t care. As long as someone is making a film casting this trinity in the lead (Zoya Akhtar, are you listening?), I’m watching. With my girlfriends, of course.