Saif Ali Khan Looks Back At His Career Through His Evolving Hairstyles

The fashion misfires of the 90s, a dodgy wig in Hum Tum and carrot hair in Goa Goa Gone - the Sacred Games actor reviews his looks through the years
Saif Ali Khan Looks Back At His Career Through His Evolving Hairstyles

Aashik Aawara (1993)

Oh bloody hell! Not that her (Mamta Kulkarni's) hair is any better. Mamta Kulkarni was taking these pills – these white pills. And I said, "What are you taking?" She said, "They stop me from sweating." So I said, "Is it good to not sweat? It's so hot!" There were no air-conditioners in those days.

I was dancing on my knees later and they were bleeding. And Saroj Khan was saying these filmy things like "Dekho yeh khoon tumhe kahaan pahuchata hai!" It was really hot and I had a tough time doing these steps. When it aired, it was a hit song. Akshay Kumar called me and he was just laughing non-stop on the phone. He called it a masterpiece. We still laugh about this actually.

I had done Parampara with Yash (Chopra) ji, but this is one of the first songs I did. Saroj Khan said, "Keep moving your hair, it looks good." And I signed a couple of shampoo ads. It worked out well. This was what, 1992? It was quite a cool haircut for then.

Dil Chahta Hai (2001)

I don't think Farhan (Akhtar) wanted me to wear the bandana. He said, "You're the only member of the star cast who looks like he's actually been on a beach before." Because everyone else was with umbrellas looking very conscious of various things. We were shooting a volleyball sequence. I remember Aamir (Khan) saying, "What else are you doing?" And I told him the couple of movies I was doing. He said, "This is a bigger film than both of those combined. You have to do this."

When Farhan offered it to me, he looked really comfortable. He had a buzz cut and he was wearing shorts – very trendily tressed. He came over with the script and said he wanted to make a film with sync sound and change the way films are made and perceived. I don't know whether he was going out of his way to change the way heroes are perceived also. But there was something really new about it.

I was a bit skeptical because you hear some good ideas that don't end up looking nearly as good as promised. I said, "Look if Aamir Khan says yes, then I'm on." Farhan still holds that against me. He said, "How could you say that? If you like the role and you trust me, you should just say yes." So I said, "Well you know I really respect his mind and he's just done Lagaan and if this kind of this is okay with him, it's okay with me. I'll let him decide." And he did.  

Hum Tum (2004)

After doing Kal Ho Naa Ho, I was getting a lot of film reviews saying, "He's good but he's always good with somebody else. He still hasn't had that breakthrough solo film." And Adi Chopra called Karan Johar and said, "What's his role like in Kal Ho Naa Ho?" And he said, "It's great and he's doing really well." Adi said, "Okay. I want to try and reinvent a multiplex hero. I want something new." And this was that. And it was a really interesting film for its time.

We had to have like 6 different looks – we had to go from 20 to 35 in the movie. We weren't very good at making wigs. Or they weren't sitting on my head very well. And there's a wire there – it kept lifting and going up in different directions. We were trying to copy Tom Cruise's haircut from Mission: Impossible 2. And there's a line in the movie also where I say this is my Tom Cruise look. I think I just made up that line and the director liked it. So this is getting a bit more comfortable with films and acting and being oneself..and there being a market for this kind of energy which was not the case when we were doing that first song.

Omkara (2006)

 I was in Switzerland and I was going out with an Italian girl and people said, "What are you doing? This is a very earthy role, you should be in India." I was sitting under a tree with my headphones learning my lines. So lot of preparing…I knew all my lines and I knew everybody else's lines. Vishal (Bhardwaj), on day one, stopped calling me Saif and the whole crew called me Khan saab. Which was a sign of respect that I'd nailed it on day one.

My mother said, "You should do some Shakespeare, why don't you do Othello?" I was shooting with Vidhu Vinod Chopra for Eklavya and I was staying at the Rambagh Palace Hotel. I was having breakfast on the lawn and Vishal rang up and said, "I want to offer you Othello but Iago's role." I said, "Why do you want me to be the villain?" He said, "No…I saw Dil Chahta Hai." So I said, "And you thought of me as the villain?" Some directors are like that, you know. He said, "See, I think you're really handsome. So how can you be Othello? He's all worried that his wife is cheating on him.." I looked up Iago a little and they said it was the only Shakespearean villain that has more lines than the hero. So it's the role in Shakespeare. I think I'd already cut my hair. But he said, "Just buzz it and let's do something crazy." It was Eid. And he said, "Apne baal kurbaan kar do."

Cocktail (2012)

I look a bit fat with short hair. This film we were producing and we had great music and everything. But we didn't have a hero. We sent it to Imran Khan who was taking a lot of time reading it and said, "Listen, it's nice but it's not that great." And I think Dinesh had offered it to Ranbir Kapoor without telling me. I was the producer! This is what happens if you don't pay attention to your business. But I think he forgot Ranbir is my cousin-in-law so he told me later. Nobody wanted to do it! So I said, "I'll do it, let's just make it!" And it worked out well.

I thought this would be pretty much the last time I'd be doing it (playing the romantic hero). I was getting a little bored also of that vibe. The soul of the romantic hero is a guy who is confused about his future and is commitment-phobic. I think that's really irritating also after a while, to the audience. If the guy is grown up and been married twice, you're like, "You're still confused? You shouldn't be." It suits young kids to be that way but young men should know.

Go Goa Gone (2013)

I actually dyed my hair for real but it went kind of carrot. I was committed to it. It's a profession and a scary profession and it's fraught with superstition and ideas. But the idea in any creativity field is to not be scared. And if you can manage that, then you have a bit of an edge. If you're not worried about failure and money, and if you're really concerned about creating something new and interesting for the audience to watch, that's the place to be I think. Where you're willing to go out there and say, "Let me dress how you want." Or really try and do something new without being afraid.

Sacred Games (2018)

I remember this shot. I asked him (Vikramaditya Motwane) for one more. This was a moment where I shoot this guy who is running away and there's this whole thing happening about shooting unarmed suspects. But of course, you know, he's killed my friend. It's easy when I have a gun in my hand to go into a certain mode.

The story is 'I shouldn't shoot this guy, he's unarmed' and then you know I just can't help it. And this rage surges through him and he shoots film anyway and then goes there and finishes him off. So to have a story on your face and in your mind while doing action was a growth for me as an actor.

And we were okay with one take and I asked Vikram Motwane, "Can I do it again please? Because this is what I'd like to add to it. And he said, "Yes, of course." And we did. And it seems to be an image that's endured.

Related Stories

No stories found.