Saif Ali Khan on Jawaani Jaaneman: Won't play roles that I've done in my 30s

Updated: Jan 29, 2020, 08:23 IST | Mohar Basu | Mumbai

Poster boy of rom-coms in 2000s, Saif Ali Khan on reimagining commitment-phobic hero in Jawaani Jaaneman.

Saif Ali Khan. Pic/PTI
Saif Ali Khan. Pic/PTI

When the teaser of Jawaani Jaaneman indicated that leading man Saif Ali Khan is going back to his comfort zone — read playing the quintessential commitment-phobic romantic hero from Hum Tum (2004), Love Aaj Kal (2009) and the like — it was worrisome.

One has come to expect better of Khan, who has been making gutsy choices of late, including being the first mainstream Bollywood star to shift to OTT. "It's a little early to judge the movie as generic," begins the actor, defending his choice. "The story has been made age-appropriate. My character here is an older version of the characters [I played before]. It's in the familiar space, and yet, it's a different film. One has to credit Nitin's [Kakkar, director] treatment for that. There's drama and comedy in how my character is struggling with growing up. Nitin has brought depth to it."

Saif Ali Khan with Alaya F in the film
Saif Ali Khan with Alaya F in the film

For far too long, Bollywood's rom-coms have romanticised the hero's commitment phobia. Khan laughs that he was the poster boy of the love stories that hinged on the protagonist's indecisiveness, and focused on little else. At 49, he argues that Jawaani Jaaneman — that also stars Tabu and debutant Alaya F — is a natural progression.

"I didn't want to play a man who can't figure out his life; I have done that in my 20s and 30s. This film is not about his womanising ways, but about his equation with his daughter. A party boy who refuses to grow up and loves his life shouldn't be vilified. Nitin has created a playboy who is empathetic and accepts his responsibilities. He has wonderfully highlighted the central idea that the element that frightens you about commitment is probably what enriches your life," he says.

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