"People don't remember the good things you do, they simply focus on the bad things. I have the reputation of being an arrogant brat. But if people mess around with me, obviously I will be arrogant with them. I don't have a bull's eye on my head that everyone can take a shot at me."
(Rediff, Nov. 1999)

Son of famous actress Sharmila Tagore and cricket legend Mansoor Ali Khan, Saif Ali wasn't sure, growing up, whether he wanted to be a cricketer or a thespian. Up until last year, many would have said he'd chosen wrong.

Saif Ali Khan   As the child of two very public personalities, Saif Ali Khan has always merited attention from a curious public. Thus he was, for a time, better known for some unfortunate childhood tendencies -- like throwing cats out of windows and clipping birds' wings -- than for his stumbling career. (B4UTV.com)  Saif has since repented for his evil deeds, though the animal kingdom has to issue a statement exonerating him.

   His debut film was to have been Bekhudi, opposite newcomer Kajol. But the director tossed him out amidst allegations of tardy arrivals and drunken behavior. The press had a field day, and their glee only increased when they unearthed evidence of his secret wedding to actress Amrita Singh. Both took pains to deny it, since, as Amrita later explained, they first wanted to break the news to their parents. (B4UTV)

   In April 1994, their anger over the media's treatment of them prompted Saif Ali and his wife to physically assault a journalist named Kanan Divech in her own office at the film glossy 'Star & Style.' The attack was so violent that some of the Divech's furniture was broken, and she promptly lodged a complaint that a police officer mysteriously failed to record. When his supervisor also hesitated to act, Divech took her allegation to the High Court of Mumbai, where, in August 1999, Amrita Singh finally offered an apology for the assault.   (Times of India article printed in Durban Sunday Times, Aug. 8, 1999)

   In a November 1999 interview with Rediff, Saif Ali revealed some of the feelings that might have prompted the assault on Divech: "I try not to hurt people, but sometimes when I feel I am not being understood and being treated as a human being. I can't help it. For example, when I hurt myself while shooting for Friends [original title of Kya Kehna] and was lying in a pool of blood, people were taking my photographs."

   Up until recently, such scandals were the most distinguished aspect of Saif Ali's career. But with the smash success of Dil Chahta Hai and critical acclaim for his role in particular, Saif has gained new confidence along with a boost in box office status. In fact, it seems like everything has suddenly fallen into place.  "I'm more confident today. Speaking Hindi also comes more naturally to me now," reflects the England-educated actor in the March 2002 issue of Filmfare. He has also vowed to choose his films more carefully -- and stop playing the third wheel in love triangles, the latest example of which is his role in box-office bomb Na Tum Jaano Na Hum. In the July 2002 issue of Filmfare, he claims that the role was misrepresented to him anyway: "I don't want to make an issue of it but the truth is that I was told my role would be pretty much equal to Hrithik's. In the final print, I had only six scenes. At least I can't be blamed for the failure of NTJNH. Of course I [regret doing the film]. In hindsight, it was a bad decision. It hurts when you're kept in the dark about what's happening. The audience expects more from me after DCH. I feel I've let them down. Yet more than hurt me, the film-makers have harmed their own product. Let's forget it though. I don't want to end up like a stuck record. The audience will soon forget the film and I've already moved on." (Filmfare, July 2002)

   Also likely to aid his career is the fact that he's looking better than ever -- at least according to the man himself. "I'm looking cool. I'm not vain but I like to think I'm sexy. I wasn't born with a face that has hero written all over it. I've heard people call me a funny looking guy. It's taken a lot of effort to look like the typical hero, a man the youth can identify with." And when the Filmfare journalist suggests (very carefully, we're sure) that he is emulating Salman, he shoots back, "I don't consciously copy anyone. I'm an original. But yes, if working out, having a good body and looking great means aping Salman, then thanks. That's a compliment." At the very least, it's something that no furniture-owner can afford to argue with.

Saif Ali Khan

born: August 16, 1970
height: 5' 8"

1992 Parampara
1993 Aashiq Awara
1993 Pehchaan Dil Aa Gaya
1994 Main Khiladi Tu Anari*
1994 Yaar Gaddar
1994 Yeh Dillagi*
1995 Aao Pyaar Karen
1995 Imtihaan
1995 Suraksha
1995 Tu Chor Main Sipahi
1996 Bambai Ka Babu
1996 Dil Tera Deewana*
1996 Ek Tha Raja
1997 Hamesha
1997 Udaan
1998 Humse Badkar Koun
1998 Keemat
1999 Aarzoo
1999 Biwi No. 1*
1999 Hum Saath Saath Hain*
1999 Kachche Dhaage
1999 Yeh Hai Mumbai Meri Jaan
2000 Kya Kehna*
2001 Dil Chahta Hai*
2001 Love Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega*
2001 Rehna Hai Tere Dil Mein
2002 Na Tum Jaano Na Hum
2003 Darna Mana Hai
2003 Ek Haseena Thi*
2003 Kal Ho Na Ho*
2003 LOC: Kargil
2004 Hum Tum*
* acclaimed performance

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