Kurbaan (more photos, videos, songs)
Saif, I guess you met George Bush at HT summit in Delhi. How was the whole experience?
Yes it was good and George Bush is a known politician but he is not my favourite politician. I did not get an opportunity to meet him in person at the summit. If there had been an opportunity to meet Barack Obama then I would have surely tried and loved to meet him. George Bush′s remarks which he has made in history did not seem intelligent to me but lot many people at the summit told me that he spoke pretty well. His situation was bit difficult and is harsh to judge him. But all said and done I guess I am not the sole person to harbour such views about him. There are many people in this world who have mixed notions about him. But we did not get an opportunity to meet him. I met Jyotiraditya Sindhia, Vir Sanghvi and there were lots of dignitaries. It was a great open discussion session. They all laughed and clapped and there were both intelligent debates and hearty laughs too. Over all it was a good experience.
In what capacity were you called at the HT Summit?
We were called there as movie stars - as actors from the film industry. Though we did not talk about terrorism there but we can surely talk about it right now. There we (I was there with Kareena) talked about ourselves and about our forthcoming film, Kurbaan. I actually spoke about Bollywood. Well these days we talk a lot about international stuff but the call of the hour is that we need to concentrate a bit on India. We ought to improve Indian films and this term called Bollywood should be done away with once and for all. Bollywood is actually Hollywood with a B and that means it will never be taken seriously as long as it′s called Bollywood. We need our own identity. We talked on such issues over there.
Will it be ok say that Kurbaan would be the most intense movie of your film career?
Well the subject matter of the film is very intense and is a socially relevant film also but this fact should not be forgotten that at the core of its heart it′s basically a love story and it′s an entertaining thriller from Dharma productions. It′s a love story but the premise of the film is bit serious. The canvas of the film is very large - we shot in Delhi, New York and Philadelphia. The New York portions of the film have been picturised by Hemant Chaturvedi as the DOP of the film and the way he has shot it is just fabulous. His taking is out of the world and I can say this with conviction that such a thing has never happened in Hindi films before.
The blurb of the film also says that some love stories have blood on them, what does that mean?
You mean about the characters of Ehsaan and Avantika in the film. There are stories, which are typical, love story and I am really happy about the fact that in Kurbaan the roles are not regular ones. They are very intense. It′s a more exciting way of saying that some love stories are more intense than others and so some love stories have blood on them because this love story does have blood on it.
Does that also mean that it has loads of guns and bullet shots and gore in it?
It′s a very realistic film and entertaining at the same time. Action is realistic, passion is realistic, and everything has been done in the film in a very realistic way only. The blood comes out in the film in a very real fashion. We have really worked hard a lot for this film.
You play the role of a Muslim professor in the film now being a Muslim did you relate yourself to that character?
Not at all. I do consider myself as a Muslim but I am a Muslim by the way. I was born in a home and my mother is a Hindu and she changed her religion after marriage. It′s a very personal thing to me and never discuss such things with others. I consider myself more as a spiritual person than a religious person. And that only means that I truly believe in humanity. I believe in work. I am surely a follower of Islam because I consider that God is superior to us and whenever we think about him we always do it by keeping our head lying low. That′s how I see myself as a Muslim.
You play a professor in the film, had you been a professor in real life what would have been your preferred subject to teach to others?
It could have been military history. Since the days of my childhood I have observed this in history that there are so many angles to it. Rather than dates and facts and figures or conventions or points of a treaty, the strategy part used to excite me a lot. What strategies did Napoleon adopt to defeat his enemies and stuff like that always pepped me up. I still interested in this aspect of history. I was a student of history in my college days. I studied English, History and history of arts.
Can I say this that after the release of this film, people will stop talking about the chemistry you share with Kareena on screen? In the past the critics were very brutal in writing about your on screen chemistry with Kareena?
It all depends upon the audience but I personally think that many time people think that an off screen couple may not be exciting as on screen couple. They also think about our chemistry with other actors too. Even I believe this that we both should do films but the volume should be very little and not much. We should opt for only those films, which are interesting, and the roles are well defined. Chemistry is such a thing, which does not depend upon real life situation. It′s all about the script, director and situations in the film. We both would like to work more with other people too. The sole objective is that when we come together, there is something special to see for the audience.
How do you feel about this particular film vis a vis the chemistry part?
Well technically this is the first film that we both have done together. LOC had these whole bunch of heroes and in Tashan we were just not opposite each other. There were hardly one or two scenes that we shared together. So all in all this is the first film and it was great working with her for this film and the only reason is that she is an amazing actress who is very focussed on her work. It was very easy for both of us to sift the personal and professional part of our lives when I was shooting with her. I would really be very happy if this film is appreciated by all which will force us to do many such good films together. It′s fun working with her.
If I am not mistaken you had to face too much of trouble when the New York phase was being picturised?
We shot for the film under minus 18 degrees of temperature. Most of the times we shot for the film during nighttime and that means cold and chilly wind blowing from all directions. I have never worked before in such a low temperature. It used to get dark at 4 in the evening. We used to shoot the whole night and then go to bed very late almost early morning. The whole body clock went for a toss for few days. It was a very difficult shooting schedule.
Tell us a bit about Karan Johar as a producer of this film?
Karan is an amazing producer and it′s always fun working with Dharma Productions. The fun is of a different way altogether, they are from the old school and follow a very traditional pattern, which is very comfortable with me. It′s a matter of pride to work for such an old and big strong banner. They have a different way of working altogether.
I need to admit this that Kareena has never looked so gorgeous in any of her films as she is in Kurbaan, do you agree with me?
Well everyone knows this that Kareena is a very beautiful girl and I strictly believe this that with less make up and in simple roles she looks far more beautiful. In this film her fans would be able to see her in a very simple look. I feel very happy about such roles as her fans like her in such roles too and not just in glamour roles.
After this film, I am pretty sure that your knowledge about global terrorism must have increased many folds by now?
Well now everyone is aware of the menace of global terrorism. They were even able to reach till The Taj. Indian terrorism even Maoism has been there for so many years now. It′s not a new thing at all. Well I can′t make any specific statement about them but I would surely say this that terrorism is become a way of life unfortunately. Initially people used to say that some person died in a car accident or a plane crash but now if someone were to say that few people died in some terrorist attack then no one will raise a wink. People only feel sorrow for it. But the fact remains that it has become a way of life, which is a matter of great concern. From the dawn of time man has killed man in the name of something or the other. Anybody taking a human life cannot be doing it in the name of any God that we understand whether it′s the guys who have done 26 /11; they are not Muslims according to me. This is an important thing, which Kurbaan touches upon and which is why I find it important.
Kurbaan (more photos, videos, songs)
Even before the first promo of the film was out, the love scenes between you and Kareena had become talk of the town, what′s your take on it?
Well there are so many angles to sell a film. Even if there had been no off screen relationship between us, we could have started with the same issue that the film has got an intense love making scene. There are so many marketing angles to sell a film. But this is not such a film that there is a kissing scene between Saif and Kareena and that′s about it. It′s just a part. If romance is treated realistically then action is also treated realistically. The dialogues are also real and the situations are also real. When you will see the film then you will realize that it fits perfectly in the palate of the film. It looks very normal because it′s an honest story. Such things won′t be done neither by Dharma Productions nor by me. That′s a good way of gaining attention also, its fine with me. But if my mom or Kareena′s family were to see this film then they will like it.
Is it true that you had spotted Kareena when she was 14 years old?
Yes, she had come to Filmistan Studios to meet someone and shooting of some film was on over there. I saw her there for the first time.
Was it a case of love at first sight?
No, I don′t think so; but she looked beautiful.
What would be your final words on Kurbaan?
I will only say this that it′s an intense love story but it′s also an entertaining thriller at the same time. It′s a very brave thing on Karan′s part to make such a film in today′s times. There is surely some substance to the film. It′s a good film and has an interesting story to it. Though we faced some difficult situations while shooting this film, the end result is fabulous. I am very excited about the release of the film.
Thanks a lot.