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Getting To Know Saif Ali Khan

The actor talks about his most cherished childhood memories and his favourite band

What is keeping you busy these days?
I have been on the sets of Phantom, a thriller directed by Kabir Khan, which will release this year. I’m also working on a project with Dinesh (Vijan, Saif’s partner in production company Illuminati Films). It will be a romantic comedy revolving around conversations. The title is yet to be decided.

What do you consider your biggest achievement?
My biggest achievement has been managing to make my place as an actor in this industry. Initially, it was all about acceptance; now, it is about success.

What is your biggest regret?
I wish I had worked harder in college.

What do you fear most?

Is there a film you wish you had done?
I was almost approached for 3 Idiots. Maybe I should have taken that up.

What is the one thing every man should know about women?
That a woman is a different entity. Her needs are very different from ours. Women need special attention and affection and they should be given that by every man.

Describe a typical Saif day off?
It will have a late start as I love my sleep. Then, some good breakfast in bed. I really love reading by the pool, basking in the sun and following that with a nice foot massage. A good workout in the gym and a steam post that. I end my day with a good read. Right now, I’m reading The Hindus by Wendy Doniger, which is quite heavy, and also The Story of Art (by Ernst Gombrich).

What irritates you about people?
People being noisy. It makes me uncomfortable.

What skill should every man have?
Diplomacy. In some situations being diplomatic creates a win-win situation for everyone. Diplomacy will take you a long way.

What word or phrase do you overuse?
“Umm”.  I probably use it every few seconds.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
I don’t think there is any such thing as perfect happiness. If everything is perfect and happy, that’s the end of the story. There has to be that little tension and friction in your life to keep you excited about it. I’m always happy when I’m with my family and friends.

Which is the most overrated virtue according to you?

What are your favourite memories?
All memories are special to me: my childhood, my children’s childhood, last week… all memories are beautiful. I also love remembering all the times when I’ve sat with a steak and a glass of wine, enjoying my time before going to bed.

What is your most cherished possession?
My electric guitar.

Is there something you are always searching for?
Inner peace. I’m also constantly looking for ways to better myself, both personally and professionally.

What one experience do you want to have before you die?
I want to achieve contentment. I want to accomplish all that I have planned to and be happy about it in my lifetime.

What kind of music do you like?
I enjoy good jazz and I’m very fond of Led Zeppelin.

What is your favourite place on earth?
Gstaad in Switzerland. That place is just beautiful and very peaceful. I go there quite often to get away from the madness of the city.

What idea do you strongly believe in?
Health is definitely wealth. I associate being healthy with being well groomed and taking impeccable care of my body.

Photograph by Dabboo Ratnani