Mumbai: Bollywood star Saif Ali Khan got upset when people ridiculed him for saying that he has been a victim of nepotism, and says he has battled dark times and phases of lonely struggle.
The actor also revealed that he has been thrown out of his own film in the past. “I don’t think I’ve had it particularly easy, even though some people will say ‘oh, of course you have’! But I’ve done a lot of stuff that a lot of people wouldn’t have done. I mean I’ve played third lead in some dodgy films like ‘Surakshaa’ and ‘Ek Tha Raja’, which nobody has heard of,” Saif said.
“But I never thought what the hell am I doing here. I knew what I was doing there. I was trying to get paid and trying to do this job. I knew it wasn’t going anywhere and I was like ‘okay’. But it helps when you’re 25. It’s alright not be going anywhere if you’re 25 but you don’t want to be there at 50 for sure. But a job’s a job, right?” he added.
Opening up about politics in Bollywood, Saif said: “There are stories like a film might have come or gone, usually it’s me and then once or twice somebody’s rung up and said ‘oh, I don’t know, this film that we offered you might not be offered to you anymore because there’s been some politics behind the scene’, so you’re like ‘ok wow’. So, all that has happened.”
“Earlier I made a comment in an interview saying ‘I’ve also suffered from nepotism’, I’m laughing about it. The point is, that this industry is not the Red Cross. I mean, there are all kinds of things that happen. There is politics and manipulation and control. I’ve never even been at that level where people are calling the shots. I mean, everyone is in it for themselves. They can control it if they have a certain amount for power, so they do,” he added.
Saif continued: “So, I have been in a situation a couple of times in my career where I’ve been offered something, it’s been done. It’s on paper, and the next day I’ve got a phone call saying, ‘it’s gone’. I’m like, ‘what do you mean it’s gone?’ They’re like ‘we can’t help it, it’s out of our hands, someone important has rung up and said, it’s got to be this way, so sorry’. The first time it happened, I couldn’t do anything about it because I was too young, and the second time they tried to do it I made a few phone calls myself and said that you can’t do this and made a big fuss. Then it came back, and my manager said ‘wow’.”
“When anything unfair happens, I don’t think it is right. That’s why I got upset with people ridiculing me for saying I have been a victim of nepotism because I’ve also worked hard. People have images in their head that you’re all privileged and you’ve got a palace and what does it even mean to you. But we’ve had our pretty dark times and our lonely struggles, every one of us have — especially in my time, I mean, Akshay Kumar would know what I’ve been through and I know what he’s been through,” said the actor during a conversation with actress Neha Dhupia in a podcast of “JioSaavn #NoFilterNeha” season five.
However, Saif, who is son of veteran star Sharmila Tagore and legendary former India captain Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, looks back at his journey in Bollywood with gratitude.
“I got thrown out of my own movie so we’ve experienced politics, we’ve experienced nepotism. We’ve experienced favouritism, people changing their mind for whatever reason, getting a better offer. The vicissitudes of the industry — you know the ups and downs of things that happen and therefore, at a certain age you become a bit philosophical, you say ‘let me just be happy with what I’m doing’,” he said.
“But generally, it’s been a really pleasant experience and with lovely people. I think this industry is wonderful and I think it’s a meritocracy and it does, it’s very non-judgmental, you could be anything and it is one profession where, I think Jackie Shroff once said, a spot boy can be a superstar,” he concluded.