Saif Ali Khan on Kareena, Taimur and controversies: 'My son was not named after Timur'
Saif Ali Khan has lots to be excited about. There's the birth of his third child, son Taimur with his wife, actress Kareena Kapoor. And there are three films in his slate: Vishal Bhardwaj's Rangoon, Raja Krishna Menon's Chef and Akshat Varma (writer of Delhi Belly). In his first interview since Taimur's birth (and subsequent controversy), Saif speaks to Mumbai Mirror about his films, Kareena, his kids' acting aspirations and the trending row surrounding his son's name.
Trust Saif to have a completely balanced, calm and open-minded response to the days of trolling and trending of Taimur.
"I'm aware of the heritage of the Turkish ruler and my son was not named after him. He was Timur, my son is Taimur. Perhaps the root is similar but it's not the same name. Taimur is an ancient Persian name meaning iron. Both my wife and I liked its sound and the meaning."
He also revealed that Taimur was the name of a cousin in his family, just like Sara, his daughter's name.
Back in 2012, when Saif married Kareena, Twitter and social media alike were quick to throw around the word "Love Jihad". Many years later, through this interview, it is very evident why this marriage has set a standard for equality, respect and admiration. When asked about Kareena's pregnancy glow, and her bad-ass attitude through it all, this is what Saif had to say:
"We are artistes and rules don't apply to us. I'm happy she set an example but whether others can follow it or not is a different story. Kareena could do it because at home nobody tells her what to do, rather everyone supports her decisions. She makes her own money and is free to do what she wants with it. Being financially independent is the crux of her freedom. As they say, he who gives money makes the rules."
On Rangoon and Vishal Bhardwaj
Phantom and Happy Ending are Saif's last two films, both not very memorable for various reasons. So it is natural that Saif's next film with Vishal Bhardwaj, Rangoon, has piqued much interest. Especially since he stars opposite Shahid Kapoor, and because he reunited with Vishal Bhardwaj (after Omkara). His character in Rangoon, Rusi, is a former action hero who injured his hand and had to move to movie production. It is unclear whether he plays a "hero" or "villain" in the film, and Saif doesn't encourage these labels.
"He's [Rusi] got a bit of a temper, is a megalomaniac in some ways and whether he turns out a hero or not is part of the excitement of the role. The villains have changed, from Thakurs and the indulgent rich, to backwardness and mediocrity, Dangal being a case to point."
Vishal Bhardwaj has arugably given him his most memorable role, Langda Tyagi from Omkara.
"I want to work in every film Vishal makes... I can work on my look, contribute to our cinema in general, and be a part of the forward-looking movement."
On his kids, Sara and Ibrahim
Both his children, with ex-wife Amrita Singh, have been vocal about their acting aspirations. However, Saif believes that education is a good bacc-up every kid must have. He also plays the cool dad part well.
"I remember on the first world tour we were on together, I spotted her [Sara] peeking through the curtains backstage to watch the actors dancing on stage, mesmerised. That's when she decided this is what she wanted to do. Cinema has changed since and she's also realised there's a lot of angst in the profession, specially if you have not quite arrived yet. I worry about that, but what can I do?"
While Sara is planning her Bollywood debut with Dharma Productions, Ibrahim is currently in the UK studying.
"He talks more of rugby and hockey and less about how exciting his academic career is. He's hidden his report card, I keep asking for it. But otherwise he's settled well."
On his future projects
Saif's next film with Raja Krishnan Menon (of Airlift fame) is a remake of the Jon Favreau film Chef.
"The idea is similar to the Hollywood film but the set-up's completely different. It was exhausting—lots of practice in the kitchen, lot of travelling from Kerala to Delhi and Amritsar with different cuisines. I learnt to work the wok, chop onions really fast and can cook various pastas. Cooking is therapeutic if you have good music playing and a glass of red wine."
This will be followed by Akshat Varma's film about Mumbai city. The tone of the film, tentatively titled Kala Gandi is quite different. It encompasses three different social strata, and how they affect each other.
All the three stories are shot with different cameras to give a distinctive feel to the three worlds which cross-cross but at its core it's a highly entertaining film with my character on an acid trip. I enjoyed acting for Akshat
Read the full Mumbai Mirror interview here.
Updated Date: Jan 17, 2017 15:57 PM