Born on August 16, 1970, in New Delhi, Saif Ali Khan was the ninth Nawab of Pataudi until the abolition of titles by India in 1971. Like his illustrious father, Tiger Pataudi, Saif attended Winchester College in the United Kingdom. (All pictures/mid-day archives and Instagram accounts of Sara Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor's Fan Club)
Saif Ali Khan clocked 26 years in the film industry this year, since his 1993 debut with the film Parampara. He is best known for his roles in films like Main Khiladi Tu Anari, Hum Saath-Saath Hain, Hum Tum, Salaam Namaste, Kal Ho Naa Ho, Dil Chahta Hai, Omkara and Love Aaj Kal. "As far as my acting journey is concerned, in these 25 years, it has been interesting, full of ups and downs and learning constantly," Saif Ali Khan said when he completed his silver jubilee in the film industry.
Saif married Amrita Singh in 1991, before making his Bollywood debut. The couple has a daughter Sara Ali Khan, who was born in September 1993 and son Ibrahim Ali Khan, who was born in 2001.
That's little Sara Ali Khan in her father's arms. Sara made her Bollywood debut with Abhishek Kapoor's film Kedarnath and Saif said he has given plenty of advice to his daughter. "I have given her so many pieces of advice. I told her to be honest and to find what is special inside her and not to be like other people. She understands all of this. She always wanted to be an actor and I think she will be great. We worry about children as this profession has so much drama to it. So I had thought she will do some normal job because she is a brilliant student, but I guess nobody wants that (normal job)," added Saif.
That's little Ibrahim Ali Khan having a fun time with his father Saif. The 18-year-old is all grown up now and looks just like the younger version of Saif in his pictures!
Sadly, Saif and Amrita's marriage went kaput, and they divorced in 2004.
Saif made his debut in the multi-starrer Parampara (1992), which tanked at the box-office in spite of being a Yash Chopra film. His first film as a solo hero Aashiq Awaara (1993) was also a major flop, but Saif did walk away with a Best Male Debut award for the same.
Saif Ali Khan believes that sticking to one's comfort zone could be tempting, but it is important for an actor to experiment to have a long and respectable career. Saif found his groove with 2001's Dil Chahta Hai, a decade after being in the industry, and reinvented himself with Omkara.
Saif was heavily criticised for his lack of acting talent and his drab looks during his initial days in the industry. He has now become one of India's first mainstream stars to venture into the digital space, with the Netflix Original series Sacred Games. In an interview with PTI, Saif said, "If you've been successful at one type of thing, it could be tempting not to change that. But if you look at people who have slightly longer, wider and respected careers, they are the ones who have done different kinds of works."
His first hit film was Yeh Dillagi (1994), which also starred Akshay Kumar and Kajol. The 49-year-old actor believes good work cannot be done in isolation. "Watching the work of others is a good way of knowing what's happening around. The way to understand actors is to watch their work. Their work should speak for themselves," he said.
The seductive song Honton Pe Bas Tera Naam Hain picturised on Saif and Kajol in Yeh Dillagi was found to be rather bold in those days. Saif says he is comfortable with his emotional side on screen. "I've always been quite self-deprecating and easy. That's the environment I grew up in. A lot of people are a bit more defensive, macho. But I am comfortable being in touch (with my vulnerability)... That's the normal way of how one should be. Some people want to come across as very cool, strong, not say the wrong things, there is a lot of eminence front being put up. It's not interesting to me. I find people like these very plastic. As long as directors think this is interesting, I hope they keep finding it so," he said.
Saif and Kajol also starred together in another dud Hamesha (1997). Saif had once revealed why he entered the film industry. He said, "One of the reasons why I got into films, unfortunately, I'm being honest, is because I wasn't interested in my exams and academics and I just ran away from home and said 'Oh movies sound great'. But I didn't really know what I was talking about. So, this desire and this understanding of acting came a bit late for me if it had always been there."
Saif and Akshay Kumar briefly flourished as a hit jodi in the 90s. Their successful movies together include Yeh Dillagi (1994) and Main Khiladi Tu Anari (1994). Their other films like Tu Chor Main Sipahi (1996) and Keemat (1998) did not do as well. Talking about him as an actor, he said, "I think I will be a better actor in English because I'll know when I'm lying whereas in Hindi I've never said to a girl 'aapki aakhein itni khoobsoorat hai' (your eyes are so beautiful) so I don't know whether that sounds genuine or not, I'm not used to saying that."
Imtihaan (1995), which starred Raveena Tandon and Sunny Deol, was among Saif's many failures during his early years in the industry.
Saif got a chance to act with 90s reigning queen Madhuri Dixit in the 1999 film Aarzoo, which also starred Akshay Kumar.
However, in 2000, Saif got a much-needed hit with Kya Kehna, although Preity Zinta stole the show. He then did Dil Chahta Hai (2001), and never looked back!
Some of the notable films Saif Ali Khan starred in are Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003), Ek Hasina Thi (2004), Parineeta (2005), Omkara (2006), Race (2008), Love Aaj Kal (2009), Go Goa Gone (2013), Chef (2017) and Kaalakaandi (2018). Currently, Saif has returned in the digital space with the second season of the Netflix show Sacred Games. The first season of the show, as well as Saif's role of Inspector Sartaj Singh, received an overwhelming response from all quarters.
Here's wishing a very happy birthday to Saif Ali Khan!
As the Chhote Nawab turns 49, we bring you a collection of rarely seen pictures from Saif Ali Khan's early days in Bollywood
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