Ahead of his upcoming release ‘Happy Ending’, Saif Ali Khan talks about acting in a romantic comedy for guys, the importance of a good script and how he hardly watches Hindi films.
What made you act in and produce Happy Ending?
There is something realistic about Raj-DK’s approach to making rom-coms. Vulnerability is important, and it’s not always that I get that quality in my roles. If the conflict is that the guy doesn’t want to get married, how do you connect? Even my previous rom-coms such as Hum Tum or Salaam Namaste were nice but they had a sort of chick-flick sensibility. Happy Ending is a romcom for guys. It’s more me.
You played a zombie-hunter in Go Goa Gone, and here your character has an alter ego. Tell us more about it.
I play a lazy bum writer living in Los Angeles. He’s run out of money and has been roped in to write a script for Govinda whom he can’t seem to click with, because they are from different planets. He has an alter ego, which was fun to play, because they seem like two people talking. This is a romcom about romcoms. He doesn’t know how to write a romcom but his life runs parallel to it.
Apart from Raj-DK, you have worked with filmmakers such as Tigmanshu Dhulia and Sriram Raghavan but those films didn’t work. What have you learnt from these experiences?
I’ve realised there is an academic side to acting that was missing from my process. It is like a literary review for an English literature course where you do character study and find out what is lacking in the script. Just the other day I sent my mother a script. She said it’s nice but it could be a gem if we polish it. It made me realise I should do it more often, talk about the script and do whatever it takes till its perfect. I don’t think I have the kind of cinematic mind that can take an average script and make it work, like Aamir (Khan) or SRK (Shah Rukh Khan). But in movies, you’ve got to take chances and it’s okay to make mistakes. I enjoyed the actor-director relationship with these two directors because they were true to their films.
How do you see your decision to do Humshakals?
My grouse with Humshakals was that it could have been a better movie. Sajid (Khan) is a dear friend. He has a certain public persona but there is much more to him. He has actually seen every Hindi and English film. I would expect him to make amazing movies. So when he doesn’t, as a friend I’m disappointed. I would have been happy if Humshakals was like Housefull, a big fat comedy earning money. That is what I was letting myself in it for but it wasn’t. I don’t want to dwell much on this because we just patched up.
Do you enjoy watching your films?
Barring a few, I don’t watch my own films. In fact, I have never watched Hindi films. To me, it’s a bit too much like work. At times I see films to check out how handsome an actor looked or how that star danced. I live on foreign television.
So what’s you basis of choosing films?
It should have a good box office reputation. Then there are the lovely, odd passion projects such as Being Cyrus or Go Goa Gone. I like to do films, which are not necessarily commercial, but those that make you feel good as an actor.
What are you working on currently?
We are looking at a Tagore play, which can be made into an artistic period piece and there is a plan for a Go Goa Gone sequel, which will be crazier than the first one. I really want Race 3 to be intense and a well-written plot this time. Sujoy Ghosh’s The Devotion of Suspect X remake has an interesting role. There is Reema Kagti’s love story about a guy who lies a lot and a woman who has a problem with that. Kabir Khan’s Phantom will be my next release.