Ques: The promos of ‘Bullett Raja’ make it look like one more masala entertainer this season,as if its Saif Ali Khans ‘Dabangg’?
Saif: ‘Bullett Raja’ isn’t a masala entertainer but a gangster movie with a commercial lead character. He is charming,naughty and reckless,someone who doesn’t take authority easily,a factor that makes him attractive. At the same time,hes a convincing killer. The promos are cut in a way to get the attention of the audience. A comparison with Dabangg would be incorrect. Apart from Salman Khans charm,Dabangg is far more larger-than-life. Bullett Raja is not as entertaining as that,to be honest. It’s an entertaining version of a UP gangster movie. If were half as successful as Dabangg,Ill be very happy.
Ques: So,what sets this gangster movie apart?
Saif: The drama in each sequence is done in a roundabout,Quentin Tarantino-esque way. Im very scared to say this because everybody says the same thing whenever they do something slightly different; we’re lucky Tarantino hasn’t sued us until now. But what Tarantino does is talk about several things in a scene besides what is its point,which is also what Tigmanshu Dhulia (the screenwriter,director) has done. For instance,there’s a scene where I’m trying to assassinate a man while Jimmy Shergill,my partner in the film,is acting as a journalist. I need him to move because there’s a tree in the way. I’m trying to shoot him from 100 yards away because another shooter has a standing record of shooting from that distance. Jimmy is hassled as I expect him to walk the target to that distance by using a stick as a measure. The target,meanwhile,is wondering what’s going on.
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Ques: Where does Sonakshi Sinha’s character fit into all this?
Saif: She plays a Bengali girl and a struggling actor. We kidnap her too when we go to the city to kidnap a businessman. Sonakshi thinks shes giving a screen test when the businessman,played by Gulshan Grover,is trying to seduce her. This,I think,made her very uncomfortable in real life because Gulshan is a friend of her father,Shatrughan Sinha. It’s one of the disadvantages of being from a film family.
Ques: Your look in the film is more authentic than flattering.
Saif: I only look dude-y in places the clothes I’m wearing are not stylish either,but when put together,the look works because Raja’s got the attitude. It’s the character’s authenticity that I enjoyed,working on the accent so that I don’t sound like I belong to Bollywood Land where everyone seems the same. In reality,we’re all a little Gujarati,Punjabi,Maharashtrian,right?
Ques: Keeping aside the reaction of women to ‘Cocktail’,as both the producer and lead actor of the film,it was good to see you let Deepika Padukones character walk away with the meatier part.
Saif: I’d say the second half of the script was flawed. The love story between Diana Pentys and my character was supposed to be more genuine. The story is that Veronica and I share a frivolous relationship. She starts taking it seriously just as Diana and I fall in love. But the depth of the bond Diana and I share didn’t come through. Going by that,he should have gone back to the girl he spent so much time with,which is Veronica. Speaking as an actor and producer,I dont mind if the girl gets an edge in a love story. But I wont do that for another male actor. Im not here to make films for other actors. Its okay sometimes with a film like ‘Go Goa Gone’,which I believe in.
Ques: You are currently shooting for multiple films Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK’s ‘Happy Endings’,Sajid Khan’s ‘Hamshakals’ and Kabir Khan’s ‘Phantom’. Why this rush?
Saif: Im hoping to keep busy so I don’t get the time to ponder over each film’s fate. That way I’ll also not keep all my eggs in one basket. The idea is to be known by my work by doing a wide variety of roles than by the perception people have of me. The last 15 months Ive been in news more due to my personal life.
Ques: You and wife Kareena Kapoor have said you’re in no hurry to work together again.
Saif: None of the films we’ve acted together in have worked. We’ve tried but it has failed,so why bother with it right now? We are both secure actors and dont need such gimmicks to stay in business.