EXCLUSIVE: 'I am no stranger to failure, it has happened quite often before' - Saif Ali Khan

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His last few films may not have been successful, but that hasn't discouraged Saif Ali Khan a bit. He has taken the failure in his stride and moved on. His upcoming movie 'Phantom' looks promising and Saif is also quite gung-ho about it. In an exclusive interaction at his Bandra pad, Saif gets candid about his film, the professional ups and downs, working Shahid Kapoor in 'Rangoon' and more. Excerpts from the interview:
Firstly, let me begin with this. Have you read 'Mumbai Avengers', the book written by Hussain Zaidi on which the film is based?
No I haven't and it is not really important for me to read it. I don't know if this guy is in the book also. I had a pretty good idea on how to play him from Kabir. He had told me not to read the book. We were very clear.
How did you prepare for the role of Daniyal Khan?
Kabir said he wants a normal guy since the film is an adventure movie with little bit of fact and fiction. The film deals with the fact that after the atrocities of 26/11, we can't take revenge because terrorists are present all over the world. And that is when RAW comes up with an idea that like the terrorists they also need to send someone who can infiltrate and kill them (terrorists). That is where Phantom, meaning someone with no past or future, walks in. This man that they find is a disgraced army officer who was thrown out for cowardice. So my character is quite depressed in the movie. I had to look that way. I had to look a little depressed and disturbed and that was challenging. Someone who has killed so many people, that person needs to have a serious look on the face. That was the preparation. Just to maintain that expression was difficult. I had to almost remember that I am a disturbed character every time.
Like you said, it was difficult to stay disturbed on-screen continuously. Did that depress you off-screen?
No it didn't. I manage to switch off as soon as the role is over easily. I don't let it hover around me. 
Were you skeptical while accepting a film like 'Phantom'?
(Laughs) You know yes and no! I was just excited that I was getting a producer like Sajid Nadiadwala, who loves making nice and big movies, and he has pushed this to a lovely scale. Also, Kabir because he is known for making good films. I never really thought anything. I am not capable doing a film like 'Bajrangi Bhaijaan' but I haven't thought of box office. May be I should try. But that is producer's headache.I never think of numbers even when I am producing films. I feel bad when people lose money.
This was the first time you worked with Kabir Khan. How was the experience?
He is an amazing guy, rugged, likes to go to these amazing locations which look difficult to access. He is this calm gentleman, knows his work and is balanced. I love Kabir as a person and respect him. I would do lots of extra things for him... (Sorry it sounds weird to say extra things). I meant I would go the extra mile to see him happy.
And what about Katrina Kaif?
I mean it is always fun to be working with someone who has got a good screen presence and is a star. There is lots to look at and you feel nicely supported. That is why you pay actors so that they can take the film to another level. Katrina is beautiful. You put her on-screen and she looks great. It was a nice experience. She is a nice person.
Since your last few films weren't received well and this one got postponed. Did the delay in the movie's release bother you?
No, I think it is really a sensible thing and a call that only an experienced producer can take to time the release it correctly. Hopefully this is right time for it.
'Humshakals', 'Bullett Raja', 'Happy Ending' bombed at the box office. Now that the buzz around 'Phantom' is positive, does it boost your confidence in subjects like these?
Look confidence is a dodgy thing like when films don't run, naturally you will feel less confident and vice versa when they do well. But you need to remember, even when your films don't do well, you have to remain positive, work hard, show your quality as an actor, performer and a star. It is a little harder when things are not going well. But you still have to do it. I am no stranger to that. It has happened quite often before. And I feel I know my job and how to do it. It is just about choosing the right subject and being seen in the right film doing the right role. If you are not careful, you can make mistakes. It is alright and I look forward to a good future.
No regrets of taking up or rejecting a project?
Regrets happen may be on a death bed. It is too early to happen now. It is a process - a learning process. Sometimes you have a shit time in your career and you are blessed with a daughter, sometimes you are happily married but your films are not doing well. So in perspective, I have never been completely miserable even during the lows. But the idea is to do a good film. I am excited about Phantom and the future in general. I want to choose films little more carefully and offer something special. 
You have 'Rangoon' coming up next. What was your reaction when Vishal Bharadwaj offered the role to you?
I have followed Vishal's films and I feel I haven't been working with my favourite directors off late. I wanted to do something arty and I feel he is a brilliant director. I had been calling him to say that 'I want to work with you'. He was waiting till he thought I was serious. And then he said okay. I have done my best work with him. Thank god we had that history. I feel now is the time in my career where I need to work with really good directors. They need to portray me in whatever interesting way they can.
Saif you would be working with Shahid Kapoor in 'Rangoon'.... (interrupts)
I have interacted with him before and even with Kangana Ranaut. I am looking forward to working with both of them. (smiles)
During 'Happy Ending' interviews you said that you wouldn't want to work in a two hero film because from that's where you have come out. Then what made you accept 'Rangoon'?
I think I really like to do two hero films. I have had a change of mind. It is really nice to do such films and I have done them before. I do well in it and I would want to recreate my value. As far as 'Rangoon' goes, it's a Vishal's film. If that was three hero film, I would still do it. It is a great role. I was offered the role three years back.
There's also Sujoy Ghosh's next... (interrupts)
Actually I don't. I just have Vishal's film finalized. Since I am talking to so many people, it would be premature to say anything now. Even Vipul's film, it's a beautiful script but then I can't talk anything else.

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His career is finished. No insight or reflection on his part. So conceited.

He only said Katrina is a star & has screen presence but no mention of her acting skills.

Saif is very intelligent but he is quite arrogant which is a bad thing.

I like Saif. He's always seemed grounded and nice. Kareena does have a bad influence on him; like he never really talks about their vacations whereas Kareena is like GSTAAD GSTAAD GSTAAD

Saif is a wonderful person .he is very intelligent .i love him so much .bebo is lucky

Saif always gives intelligent interviews. Love him and good luck for his films.

good IV

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