One of Indian cinema's most versatile actors Saif Ali Khan will return to the silver screen on November 29th as a high-rolling, high-stakes gangster. The film, ‘Bullett Raja’, sees Saif essay the role of ‘Raja Mishra’, a commoner who gets transformed into ‘Bullett Raja’ - a notorious, care-a-damn attitude bad boy. With an engaging story full of twists, turns and tantalising action sequences, the film promises edge-of-your-seat entertainment with a generous helping of tongue-in-cheek humour and romance. So the Asian Express caught up with the bollywood hero to find out more about him, his body and much, much more…
Q: The action sequences in Bullett Raja look very physically demanding, did you have to get in shape for the film?
A: I wasn't fit when I did the Race 2 run. I was okay but I am way fitter now and it looks different. If you are fit your body language changes. You are more agile in the kind of action you do, particularly like in Bullett Raja, it's incredibly physically demanding. It's a great feeling when you are fit and you are looking good on camera.
Q: 100 crore used to be the benchmark for film success in Bollywood but with films like Chennai Express breaking the 200 crore mark, will Bullett Raja break that record?
A: Oh I don’t know, it’s so hard to tell. I am really happy with Bullett Raja and how it has shaped up. It’s a really nice movie but who knows how much it will make.
Q: As an actor, how important is your image?
A: I don’t know how important it is for an actor to have an image because an image can sometimes stereotype you. There are many other aspects that contribute to an actor’s income such as being a brand ambassador and for those aspects your image is very important, but for acting itself I don’t think it is very important.
Q: Would you like to work in Hollywood?
A: It depends on the role. Right now in India I am being offered great roles and I love my job because we work really hard at what we do, but we get the time to relax also. So yes, I would like to work in Hollywood if I was offered the right role, and if it did not conflict with my work in India, I am not interested in raising my profile internationally for the sake of it, it would have to be because it interests me first and foremost.
Q: In Bullett Raja you take on a completely new avatar, can you tell us a little about the movie and your character?
A: The starting point for the film was the kind of films these guys have been making — Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster and Paan Singh Tomar. I don’t watch too many films, maybe I should watch more, but I’m clued into these films. Somewhere I had put it out that I wanted to do such films and I also wanted to work with Tigmanshu. And it worked out. We had met a few times and we were discussing various scripts when I finally said, ‘Look I leave it to you. I’m okay with whatever you come up with’. Luckily for me, the film we zeroed in on was something really exciting. We were talking about all kinds of films but not this — it’s more of an Indian Scarface. It’s an interesting role, which involves total acting rather than playing an extension of my own self. That’s rare.
Q: This is the first time you are doing a film opposite Sonakshi, how was it working with her?
A: Sonakshi’s very nice. I like her work in films. She’s genetically an industry child. They are different. They know how to act and behave and Sonakshi seems like a well-brought up girl.
Q: You too are an industry child…
A: Not at all. I’m an outsider to this industry. I haven’t been brought up in a filmi atmosphere. Not that it’s good or bad — it’s a fact. We were brought up in a cricketing house. Of course, I remember visiting film sets as a child, but that was different. I had no understanding of what was going on. There’s a way of behaving in the industry which you learn. But people like Sonakshi or Kareena know it from the start.
Q: You started working on Bullet Raja just after your wedding. How are you catching up with Kareena?
A: It’s just a matter of time management. Your work is also important. You do a little bit of work and then you are at home. You shouldn’t change too much, you must still be able to get on with your own life but then put aside some time to spend with your loved ones too.