Saif Ali Khan Interview: Cooking is therapeutic and relaxing and a beautiful thing to be able to do!
In an interview with BollywoodMDB, Saif Ali Khan opens us about his new film Chef and much more.
After the dismal performance of his last release, Rangoon, Saif Ali Khan is all set for his tryst with box office with the release of his upcoming film Chef. Using his charm, humor and infectious charisma, the actor will try to impress the audience from 6th October onwards. Chef, directed by Raja Krishna Menon, is an official adaptation of Jon Favreau’s American comedy-drama film Chef which released in 2014 and has gained a cult status within no time. It will be really interesting to see how Saif’s Chef fares at the box office. We recently caught up with the National Award winning actor to talk about his film, his character and lots more.
Q. Has the definition of food changed for you in any way after you signed Chef?
A. No, I don’t think so. I have always understood the importance of food and this was one of the things which I really liked about the story of the film. But I think that understanding of what a chef does has changed. You know the respect for the high-pressure kind of job and how difficult it is to cater to what people want. People want to eat well and it takes a lot to make a good meal. But we don’t want any excuses if food is not good on all levels. Even I have noticed that set workers in film units don’t mind working hard, actors also, but they want to be fed well. They get very upset with the production if the food is not good. In fact, good food is the mark of a good production house. If the good is not good, they don’t like anything else. So, that is what I have learned, more respect for the Chef. I always loved food and cooking.
Q. Was there always a ‘Chef’ Ali Khan in you?
A. Hmm…a bit. I think everybody should know how to cook a little bit.
Q. How particular are you about your food?
A. I think I am quite particular also. I normally eat home (cooked) food which is quite healthy and light. I don’t like rich food. There are some Chinese restaurants, for example, in Bandra, one or two are really good; the others are not. So, the difference is huge. If you get used to one, you cannot eat at the other. Better to not eat then. So, in that sense, I am particular. I’ve studied in a boarding school, so I can eat bad food as well.
Q. When it comes to food, there are a lot of memories attached to it. What’s your favorite food memory from childhood?
A. Definitely, food is a kind of glue that binds people. Meals and food are synonymous with human culture. It holds us together. My favorite memory of food from childhood is eating French fries in bed while watching movies on my VCR in Delhi. That is one of my earliest memories of food.
Q. You have studied in a boarding school. So, whenever you used to come home during vacations, what was the first thing you would ask your mother to cook for you?
A. I think Dal Chawal, something nice and simple, and also Bhindi. So, these three were the things, which I still like. I went to England for my school, so Indian food that too home cooked food was always very special for me.
Q. How much did you prepare yourself to become a Chef for this film? Did you do any kind of special training to get your part right?
A. Yeah, I did a lot of training. There were things like using the knife properly, chopping vegetables using knife, and being comfortable in the kitchen which I learned. There were so many of these things to learn.
Q. You also played a Chef in Salaam Namaste and you are playing a Chef again. You have evolved a lot as a person and actor over these years. So, do you see a change in the way you approach your character this time around?
A. Yeah, definitely! This is a completely different kind of film. Our times have changed. That (Salaam Namaste) was really a fun, colorful film more about relationships, so is Chef but here is a divorced couple. The man is trying to be friends with his son who doesn’t really know his father so this is much more mature and I think my approach has also become a bit deeper over the years. Once you grow up a little bit, you understand a little more about life and it just shows on your face.
Q. Although this film is about food, at the heart of it is a father-son story. So, how easy was it for you to relate to emotions of your son and what were your takeaways at end of the whole shooting process?
A. Actually, I think you do understand a lot more as a father in real life when you have to deal with your own children and it’s just like a vibe you get where you just know and understand the energy. The important thing is that you don’t overdo it. Really! To be honest, it is very much like a sport where you don’t move your head but if you don’t know what you are doing you just tend to move everything and then it ends up looking too much over the top kind of. Takeaways from this film were learning knife work and art to have patience and be patient enough.
Q. How often do you cook for your kids?
A. I am not sure if they like it or not but they eat it. Like Ibrahim loves to eat spaghetti but Sara is off the carbs now for the time being. But I like cooking as it is very therapeutic and relaxing and a beautiful thing to be able to do. You feel very self-sufficient too.
Q. Do you feel that people will compare Indian remake with the original cult Hollywood film Chef?
I am very sure about this fact and they should definitely compare this film with the original Hollywood film Chef so that they see the differences in both the movies and appreciate the Indianised version of the film for the same. You know how sometimes remake versions of English films can be in Bollywood where people badly copy each and every stuff from original films and then the film gets bad reviews and criticism from audiences. I don’t think that people will feel that over here with this film as it’s a class product and I don’t think that anyone can say that it’s a knock-off of the original film as it’s an adaptation which is different when compared to a remake.
Q. How do you feel being part of Netflix’s new web series Sacred Games?
A. Actually, there they don’t call it web series but a streaming service. It’s different. Like web series can be on any platform but this is Netflix and they’ve got certain standards and it all comes out together. So, it not like a series because you can watch the whole programme in one go and that’s more important as nowadays people like to watch everything and you feel like you are doing one big movie. So, yes, I feel it’s great, very creative and has best of people working on it. Sometimes the smaller the screen gets the smaller the idea gets and that is not the case over here as it’s a bigger idea in a controlled space so I am very much excited to be doing this amazing, very new, interesting and out of the box stuff for Netflix.