Enough is enough for Saif Ali Khan. It has been a month since Padma Sri Awards were announced and Saif Ali Khan was conferred this title for his contribution to cinema. While he was humility personified all through these days (he still continues to be), he isn't willing to take it all lying down with his detractors not really showering him with flattering compliments. Feeling a strong deja vu of controversy that had erupted when he received the National Award for Hum Tum a few years back, Saif Ali Khan is disappointed with few stray comments and idle gossips 'spoiling the show' for him when he would have rather basked in the glory of national recognition coming his way. Turning offensive in his own mild way and ready to give a strong message to the ones who continue to challenge the award and in turn his standing as an actor in Indian cinema, Saif bares his heart out in conversation with us.
A few years back when he was conferred with the National Award for Hum Tum, there were quite a few murmurs raised. However, access to cutting edge technology and hence more media power means that these murmurs turned out to be full blown attack this year when it came to the Padma Shri Award. If newspapers and portals were not bad enough, social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter too joined the fray. This deadly combination resulted in quite a few comments being posted online within hours of the awards being announced. So much so that headlines of even reputed National newspapers screamed 'murder' within a few hours and the dust seems to be settling down only now.
"I actually gave it a lot of thought over the last few days and strongly feel that one person tweeting and another going through it on a computer is like overhearing a conversation in a coffee shop", Saif is clearly disturbed here and he is not making any effort not to show it, "As for a few select tweets being reproduced on newspaper etc. then let's look at it this way - some people select tweets, they are published by another and edited by somebody else. Yes, people are entitled to their opinion but it does turn really nasty after all."
Saif Ali Khan The shock
While it is quite visible that this entire episode has left an ugly taste in his mouth, does Saif feel that by getting such recognition, he may have ended up shocking quite a few of his contemporaries and colleagues, both in a pleasant and a not so pleasant manner?
"I am sure people are quite easily shocked", Saif tries to bring on a smile here, "A large section of people contest judgement of awards, especially of this stature; that's normal. Also, with some people it is expected and with some others it is not. Yes, when you are continuously asked this question, it does spoil the show a little bit. "
The Omkara regret
Saif does indeed believe in the theory of 'it all levels out at the end of the day', since he has a first hand experience in that. A few years back, the world stood up for him with his bravura performance in Omkara as 'Langda Tyagi'. However, awards at the highest level eluded him.
"Omkara didn't fetch me a National Award, right? But if it would have, I don't think there would have been much noise. This is why I think it all balances out eventually", reasons Saif, "If you question a Hum Tum then why don't you speak up in defence of am Omkara? This is why I am disappointed when an honour is challenged like this. A Padma Shri is for an actor's continuous contribution to cinema and mine has been reasonably good enough with an Omkara or more recently a Love Aaj Kal behind me. Maybe if I do a couple of two more great films in as many years, the voices will all muffle down."
The current situation
Saif Ali Khan "In our society we are not really making any Oscar winning movies, are we", questions Saif who gets seriously talking now, "I guess it is only once in a while that we actually end up making a classic. I try to choose the best of what is offered to me and then make the best of cinema that I have access to. This is why when I look at the body of work I have done over the period of time; I don't think it is actually inferior to dozens of other films that are made every year. People should not be as harsh as they have been sounding."
Now after Love Aaj Kal, he is all set to embark on his next production Agent Vinod. One wonders what's the current status of the film given the fact that quite a lot has been heard and written about Agent Vinod over last so many months. When does director Sriram Raghavan bring this spy thriller on floors?
Smiles Saif, "Yes, I know a lot has been said about it but we are very much on track. Final touches are being given to the script and at the end of March; we should have the film on floors. Meanwhile, I definitely want to work on Race 2. To do a romantic comedy is also something that stands high up in my list but then I am just waiting for a great script to come my way."