Bollywood actor Saif Ali Khan steps into the shoes of actor Abhishek Bachchan in the second instalment of ‘Bunty Aur Babli 2’, a comic caper releasing in the UAE cinemas on November 18.
Khan picks up where Bachchan’s titular character left off. In the much-anticipated sequel, the colourful and whacky con couple have hung up their boots and are now leading a retired life in suburbia. While they are not sinning or frauding people for a living, they aren’t particularly content.
“The brief given to me was simple: ‘you play a superhero who’s retired and it’s all over for him. But he then gets a chance for a comeback.’ So I imagined montages of ‘Eye Of The Tiger’ or ‘Rocky’ getting fit again back in the day. It’s a different kind of performance,” said Khan in an interview with Gulf News.
Playing a small-town crook is a departure of sorts for this Indina National Award-winning actor who is known for his suave and city-slick roles in glossy entertainers.
In this film, the real-life prince is the portrait of an overweight and emasculated husband who has left the world of crime and grime behind. But he misses the adrenaline-charged life in his idyllic Fursatgunj village.
“Bunty seems sad and your heart goes out to him. People will connect to how he is at his loose-end and he’s just sitting around, dyeing his hair and stuff. So when he gets a chance to use his brain and be that guy again, he feels alive,” said Khan.
Directed by Varun Sharma and produced by Yash Raj Films, the second instalment also has a UAE connect. Portions of this mad comic caper was shot in Abu Dhabi in March 2020 before the world went into a COVID-19 global lockdown.
“We almost got stuck there, but it’s a nice place to shoot ... I went to the Louvre Abu Dhabi and we should shoot more movies there,” said Khan.
Here’s his take on ...
Being a part of ‘Bunty Aur Babli 2’:
“I really enjoyed playing the small-town guy’s part. Whenever Yash Raj Films and I have gotten together we have done NRI-centric [Non Resident Indian] movies, but here in this film we are transporting you to India’s heartlands and how things have changed in their lives. It was a good and interesting role. I am fat, lost at Fursatgunj, and the only thing nice in my life is the [beverage] that he drinks in the evenings to get through his days. In order to get through the ordeal of dancing at a baby’s ‘mundan’ [a religious ceremony where they shave a baby’s head] party, he finds a friend in his evening [beverage]. It’s pathetic and at the same time heartbreaking … And I have got a bully for a wife. And that sentiment may cut across countries and nationalities.”
‘Bunty Aur Babli 2’ peddling the idea that ‘greed is good’:
“Isn’t greed good if it’s something that you get excited about? The message of this film is that excitement is better than boredom ... even if it’s illegal.”
Observing Rani Mukerji’s evolution since their ‘Hum Tum’ days:
“We have all grown from that first day together. My joke on Kapil [Sharma] show was that earlier we were working together for a production company and now she owns that production company. She has done all right, eh?. People keep talking about how good we were in the past and that’s a slippery slope. We need to be good now. And that was one of my concerns. When she’s at her best, Rani’s the best and can bring any scene alive. We have a nice and healthy competitive relationship. What I like about her is something that I noticed in Shah Rukh back in the day where shots don’t get cut because something went wrong. They keep acting and she’s the same.”
On evolving as actors and people:
”It all depends on where you are and what you’re doing … I’m an irritable person generally and that hasn’t changed over the years. I have a short fuse and it’s all about how you control it. I have learned to interpret myself well. I have understood what makes me tick … I have figured out my flaws and I know what I have to work on. And that makes it easier for me not to blame other people. I have understood the triggers that I need to control in myself and that’s what makes you human. And part of what makes you an actor is when you explore yourself and your flaws. I have also realised that even in our personal life, you are nothing but an actor. Often, you’re reacting to things that you shouldn’t be overreacting to.”
‘Bunty Aur Babli 2’ releasing in cinemas as opposed to a streaming platform:
“Aditya Chopra, our producer, has waited 18 months for this. He wants to create a cinematic experience and that’s what he loves doing. He’s a filmmaker and he got huge offers to sell it to OTT, but some things are not about the money alone for some people. For my other films that I have done, they have quickly sold it to the OTT … It depend on whether you want to make movies or you want to make a quick buck. It’s a leap of faith, but I think it’s a sensible call because if you look at the numbers of ‘Sooryavanshi’ and how people are flocking to the theatres. We are just supplying what they want.”
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‘Bunty Aur Babli 2’ is out in the UAE cinemas on November 18