Saif Ali Khan is royalty, living life king size. He’s the brat we eyed with indulgence as he played actor-actor until he did a complete turnaround post Dil Chahta Hai and there’s no looking back as he juggles his revived career and lady love Kareena.
The Little Prince
Saif Ali Khan was born on 16 August 1970 in New Delhi, India. His father is Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, the Nawab of Pataudi and a former captain of the Indian cricket team. His mother is Sharmila Tagore, a Bengali actress in Bollywood who converted to Islam on getting married. She currently heads the Indian censorship board. He has two sisters, Saba and Soha who is also an actress.
His familial connections are distinguished to say the least. Saif’s paternal grandfather was Iftikhar Ali Khan Pataudi who besides being the Nawab of Pataudi, was a cricket player, playing for England and India. His paternal grandmother was Sajida Sultan, the Begum of Bhopal. His great uncle was an Indian General Nawabzada Sher Ali Khan Pataudi. His mother is related to Rabindranath Tagore, a poet and Nobel laureate.
Saif Ali Khan studied at the Lawrence School, Sanawar and the Locker’s Park Prep School. His college years were spent in his father’s alma mater, Winchester College, UK.
He married the much older Bollywood actress Amrita Singh in 1991 raising eyebrows. They had a daughter Sara and a son, Ibrahim. They divorced in 2004. He was dating Rosa Catalano but that didn’t last long. While the media speculated on his new love interest, he walked the ramp with actress Kareena Kapoor at the Manish Malhotra fashion show during the Lakme India Fashion Week, officially confirming that the two were dating and it could definitely lead to more.
A Late Bloomer
1992 to 1998 Saif Ali Khan made his debut with the 1992 Yash Chopra directed Parampara opting out of the Kajol starrer Bekhudi. In 1993, he won the Filmfare Best Debut Award for Aashiq Awaara. Yeh Dillagi and Main Khiladi Tu Anari in 1994 were among the year’s biggest hits. The movies that he acted in over the next three years – Tu Chor Mein Sipahi, Keemat, Udaan, and Hamesha - didn’t really boost his reputation as a solid actor.
1999 to 2003 He played Dhananjay Pandit in Kacche Daage that was appreciated. He was seen as a photographer in the comedy, Biwi No.1. In 2000, he was in Kya Kehna with Preity Zinta in the role of her lover who abandons her when she gets pregnant. The family oriented Hum Saath Saath Hai brought trouble off screen when he was accused, along with some of the other members from the movie, to have hunted down Chinkaras that are an endangered species but was later acquitted.
He changed tracks in 2001 as he appeared in the comedy Love Ke Liye Kuchh Bhi Karega and then as Samir, who wears his heart on his sleeve, in Farhan Akhtar’s Dil Chahta Hai that changed the way people perceived him. It won him the Filmfare Best Comedian Award. Rehna Hai Tere Dil Mein, the remake of the Tamil movie Minale, also did well.
2003 to 2008 He won the Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award for Kal Ho Na Ho in 2003 as well as the “Moto Look of the Year”. The year also saw him in Darna Mana Hai and LoC Kargil. In the 2004 movie Ek Hasina Thi he was the cold Karan Singh Rathod, while his role in the light hearted Hum Tum with Rani Mukherji was in complete contrast and won him his second Filmfare Best Comedian Award as well as the National Film Award for Best Actor.
Each of his four releases in 2005 and 2006 – Parineeta, Salaam Namaste, Being Cyrus, and Omkara - had him stretching his range as an actor. Parineeta received critical acclaim; Salaam Namaste was a romantic comedy around the new age relationship dilemmas; Being Cyrus was a critically acclaimed English language movie; Vishal Bharadwaj’s Omkara was an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Othello and Saif’s performance as Langda Tyagi was phenomenal. He won his first Filmfare Best Villain Award.
Compared to this success, his 2007 and 2008 releases didn’t overwhelm anyone. Race was a hit while Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic and Tashan with girlfriend Kareena failed. He also lent his voice to the animated movie, Roadside Romeo.
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