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Taimur is already popular, I don’t plan to hide him: Saif Ali Khan

Insisting that he doesn’t believe in ‘nazar lagna’, Saif Ali Khan says his youngest child is “already a bit of a popular chap” so they will have to teach him to be “grounded”.

Being under the spotlight isn’t new for Saif Ali Khan. It, therefore, comes as no surprise that the birth of his third child, Taimur Ali Khan, became national news. However, the news was also coupled with a number of controversies. HT catches up with the actor to talk to him about his son, wife Kareena Kapoor Khan and more.

You are set to complete 25 years in Bollywood. How do you look back at your journey?

When I started doing films, I was completely clueless. I had no idea (about anything). I don’t think I was taking it seriously. I thought I was being earnest. But now, in retrospect, I think I wasn’t taking anything seriously. However, over the years, I have been lucky in the sense that the audience, directors and producers have been very patient and calm. I also worked with amazing stars like Salman (Khan), Shah Rukh (Khan), Aamir (Khan), Akshay (Kumar) and Ajay Devgn. I have learnt something from all these guys.

Do you feel you are in a good space right now?

I feel that I have aged well. Also, I think I look better at 45-46 than I did at 25 (smiles). So, I am happy with everything that I have experienced. I don’t regret anything. I am happy in my personal life. I have seen the world, travelled a lot, have wonderful children and friends. I have a good life. Also, I think people who have creative jobs are very lucky. I am looking forward to doing some good work in films like Chef and Kalakaandi.

Talking about your family, how has life been after Taimur’s birth?

I miss home more now. I don’t feel happy about shooting from 9am to 9pm every day. I miss Taimur when I’m away. In our (Kareena and his) relationship, we feel good that we have brought someone into the world together, someone who is half hers and half mine. I think we were ready for that. We have had lots of fun by ourselves. Now, it’s time to share a little responsibility and take things to another level.

You inadvertently shared a photo of Taimur, which Kareena apparently didn’t like…

Yes, she was like, ‘Nazar lag jayegi and all of that’. But agar nazar lagni hoti toh Kareena would be in the hospital by now (smiles). I don’t believe in all of that. I didn’t mean to share it. It was my WhatsApp display picture. But it is fine. I don’t plan to hide him. We will have a tough time figuring out how to bring him up. I think Taimur is already a bit of a popular chap. So, I think we will have to teach him to be grounded, as people will watch whatever he does.

As you and Kareena are both working parents, have you two discussed about taking time out for Taimur?

We have discussed that one of us should be around, and if she shoots for a film, the shift can be adjusted in a way that she is home in time to be with him. The whole world works and brings up children; it’s not impossible. I firmly believe that you have to look after yourself first and then your children. If you are a happy and sorted person only then will your energy be spent in all the right directions. There are no awards for trying to be the best mother or father of the year, and for giving up everything and sitting at home. That’s not the way we think.

Were you amazed that the name Taimur created controversy?

I wasn’t really amused. Half of it was a misunderstanding because the bottom line is that I have not named him (son) after anybody like that (Turco-Mongol conqueror, Timur). There is no point getting into an argument. There are enough liberal as well as some not-so liberal people in the country, who take medieval history personally. I don’t know what to say to that except that I didn’t mean to offend anyone. I love the name and I think it suits him.

After 25 years in the industry, how do you keep yourself inspired?

If you look at Shah Rukh (Khan), Aamir (Khan) and Salman (Khan) or how international actors look at a certain age, it’s fantastic. Sonu Nigam recently said that he completed 25 years (in the music industry). There are a lot of examples. Age is just a number. You got to be fit and positive. And, if you work hard, work out and sleep well, you will be surprised how amazing you can look. Anil Kapoor does not look his age. You also got to be creative in life or else it’s boring. I either like going on holidays or just staying at home, reading or spending time with my family. At the same time, I want to do maybe two films a year. What keeps me going is the energy one feels in life. You have to keep going. The best way to do that is to work and to live life.

Where do you see yourself in the industry at this point?

I have been lucky this year to work with some amazing directors. I was the first choice for them –– Vishal Bhardwaj, Akshat Verma and Raja Krishna Menon. Let’s see what happens next. And, then, I will know where I stand. I am a certain kind of actor. I want to continue to do the kind of work I do best, and to the best of my abilities. All the young boys (who have entered the industry lately) are fantastic actors and the general standard of acting and performances have gone up tremendously, which is a great thing for the industry. It also depends on the kind of films we choose because there’s a story for every age. While I respect other actors and my colleagues, I want to concentrate on the best that I can do, and see where it takes me in my career.

Sara Ali khan (daughter) is already under spotlight…

Yes, but actually, Sara is very normal. For instance, she is very careful with money and her values are also sorted. So, as long as that’s the case, it’s fine. I think if you are relaxed about things, they are much easier (to handle). Anyway, you can’t fight them.

There has been speculation about Sara’s debut film…

Yes, I have heard all these things and I know what she is doing. She discusses it with me. And, though, there have been a couple of false starts or whatever you want to call them, I think it’s all good because she is scared of getting involved in the film that she doesn’t want to do. Sara wants to wait and do what she believes in. I think what she is doing is the right thing because you only get one launch and everyone forgets whatever drama happens behind the scenes. But the film will stay, so it’s worth it.

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