Saif Ali Khan has been an underrated actor star of his times. He has completed twenty-eight years in the film industry and has done varied kinds of films and roles. He has never looked upon the same pedestal as his generation actors like Aamir Khan, Ajay Devgan, Akshay Kumar, Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan. To survive in this industry for such a long time and still doing films and web series as a leading character is a great achievement. He may not have the same star pull at the box office like above actors but some of his choices of his films have also been wrong. He has become more experimental as an actor and satisfied his creative instincts.
His success on OTT platforms with web series like ‘Sacred Games’ (2018 & 2019) on Netflix and now ‘Tandav’ (2021) on Amazon Prime has opened new innings for him. The characters Sartaj Singh in ‘Sacred Games’ and Samar Pratap Singh in ‘Tandav’ can easily be rated as the best performances of his acting career. Sartaj is an intense honest sardar cop and Samar is a suave and ruthless politician. Both the roles are diametrically very different. This medium will unleash the actor in a better way for him. In this medium, he is getting opportunity to act with better actors, and he has been learning new things in his craft. He has always said that he reads books on acting and film making so that he keeps improving on his craft.
When he started his initial career, he was not a typical Hindi film hero. He made his way doing second lead hero roles in multi starrers mostly with Akshay Kumar, Sunil Shetty, etc. He was more of a comic relief in those films. He had few successes in films at box office like ‘Aashiq Awara’ (1993), ‘Imtihaan’ (1994), ‘Yeh Dillagi’ (1994), ‘Main Khiladi Tu Anari’ (1994), ‘Hum Saath Saath Hain’ (1999), ‘Kya Kehna’ (2000), etc. The turning point of his career was Farhan Akhtar directed ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ (2001). It gave him a new image makeover of urban cool hero and had successes in similar kind of roles in films ‘Kal Ho Na Ho’ (2003), ‘Hum Tum’ (2004), ‘Salaam Namaste’ (2005), ‘Love Aaj Kal’ (2009) and ‘Cocktail’ (2012). He mostly had solo hero success at box office in such roles.
The realisation had come to him that the urban cool hero roles may not take his career ahead for long. The actor in him made him do different kinds of films and roles. The films like ‘Parineeta’ (2005), ‘Race’ (2008), ‘Aarakshan’ (2011), ‘Race 2’ (2013) and ‘Go Goa Gone’ (2013) were some of his successful films when he threaded a different path as an actor. Saif Ali Khan has not been able to develop that mass appeal as a star in the whole country like his other big actor stars of his generation. He is a good actor and gives his one hundred percentage to all his characters.
Saif Ali Khan has been one actor who is not afraid to do negative roles and has not stuck with his hero image. The actors should not worry whether the character is positive or negative and could have an effect on your fans. The fans are also understanding that you are just playing a character. We saw him in a negative role for the first time in Sriram Raghavan crime thriller ‘Ek Haseena Thi’ (2004). We have seen him in a handful of negative roles in ‘Being Cyrus’ (2006), ‘Omkara’ (2006), ‘Kurbaan’ (2009), ‘Rangoon’ (2017), ‘Bazaar’ (2018), ‘Tanhaji’ (2020) and now web series ‘Tandav’ (2021).
His one noted negative roles would be Langda Tyagi in Vishal Bharadwaj ‘Omkara’ (2006). The film was adapted from William Shakespeare ‘Othello’. He played a cunning jealous character in the film and won the most appreciation in this multi starrer. His role as the ruthless Udhaybhan Singh Rathod in Om Raut directed ‘Tanhaji’ (2020) had all mass elements in his character. Previously his role as Terrorist Ehsan Khan in Rensil D’Silva ‘Kurbaan’ (2009) was an impressive one.
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