Saif Ali Khan on playing Udaybhan Rathod in Tanhaji: My character is unhinged like Joker

Updated: Jan 07, 2020, 08:57 IST | Sonil Dedhia | Mumbai

Proud to present worthy antagonist to Ajay Devgn in Tanhaji, Saif Ali Khan describes how his character walks the fine line between 'crazy and lucid.'

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

From the understated Sartaj Singh in Sacred Games to the revenge-hungry Naga sadhu in Laal Kaptaan, Saif Ali Khan's career choices have been as unpredictable as they have been interesting. The actor is ready to kick off the year with Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior that sees him slip into the role of the Rajput warrior Udaybhan Rathod, who took on Maratha general Tanaji Malasure in the Battle of Sinhagad. "Udaybhan is insanely wicked. He is like Joker from the Batman movies. He is a great warrior, and is smart, but he is also unhinged because of the episodes that have happened to him in the past. The idea was to show the character as crazy yet lucid."

Heath Ledger as Joker
Heath Ledger as Joker

While director Om Raut created a larger-than-life antagonist in Udaybhan, Khan says the "dramatic" arc of the character did not come naturally to him. "I didn't know how to dramatise the situation, so I had to adopt a different approach. We used to do a lot of takes. We come from a culture of filmmaking where [it is believed that] actors who need too many takes are making mistakes. But truth is that a role like this cannot be [perfected] in the first take itself."

Saif Ali Khan in Tanhaji
Saif Ali Khan in Tanhaji

Tanhaji is one of the rare projects that has two superstars — Ajay Devgn and Khan — joining forces to tell a story. Ask him why Bollywood has such few two-hero films, and he candidly says, "It is a question of ego. If you are the leading man, playing [a role] less than [your co-star] becomes questionable. [It's ideal if] both actors have great roles. [That said] it's easier to make the film if one actor is happy to play second fiddle. When I did [two-hero movies] in the '90s, the other actor often had the better role."

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