The recent hectic round of production-related activities and marketing culminating in the painful process of pacifying the Sikh federations about the length of his beard, has taken a toll on Saif Ali Khan. The actor is exhausted and completely not in the mood for any more events related to the film.
The premiere was held in Delhi instead of Mumbai on Thursday night. This would be construed as odd behaviour considering all of Saif and Kareena's friends together at a Mumbai premiere would have constituted almost the entire industry. And they were just a phone call away.
Says Saif, "That's precisely why we decided not to have a premiere in Mumbai. I'd have had to call up everyone personally and ask them to come. It would've seemed like asking for a favour. And I don't want anyone to watch my film out of a sense of generosity."
The last-minute decision to shift the venue of the premiere to Delhi kept most of Saif's colleagues out. But it didn't stop Akshay Kumar from rooting for Love Aaj Kal from London. Akshay prophesied it would be a big hit.
Saif is delighted. "I'm so happy Akshay said that. I wish the industry would show more kindness towards films. When Kareena's Kambakkht Ishq came, there was so much negativity about it. It's scary."
It's this fear of an anticipatory wail that provoked Saif to transfer the premiere venue. "It wasn't really a premiere in Delhi. Just a screening for people close to us," clarifies Saif. "Only the cast and crew and people connected with the film were there. That's the way we wanted to keep it."
But Saif and Kareena's friends in Mumbai are none too pleased. One of his leading ladies with whom he recently did a racy film says, "What's the point of a premiere in Delhi when the whole industry is in Mumbai? I'd have definitely gone, for Saif and Imtiaz Ali's sake. I want to see what they've done together."
But Saif isn't really bothered. It has been a hectic time for him. "Earlier producers like Ramesh Taurani made me do a lot of publicity for their films. Now I totally followed that model for my own production. And I'm exhausted. When I was younger, I found publicity boring. Now I know better."
The experience of producing a film has helped Saif understand the value of economizing. "I used to waste a lot of money and I'm not proud of it. It's not about cutting corners. It's an art to respect money. I've seen my wealthy friends buying the right air tickets, booking the right room at the best possible prices. We did go a tiny bit over-budget in my first production. Next time it won't happen."