At a time when spectacle films are doing well at the box office, actor Saif Ali Khan says movies that can bring families to the theaters are equally powerful. After a dismal 2022, Hindi cinema had an impressive start in 2023 with Shah Rukh Khan-led pathans in January. The momentum has continued with Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaarfeaturing Ranbir Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor.
I don’t think it has to be visually big, even though that’s what everyone’s saying. I think something that a family can watch together and enjoy might be good also.
“We should try and give them that experience. Whatever it is,” the 52-year-old actor, who will next be seen in the big-budget Adipurush, told PTI in an interview here. Citing the example of his 2021 horror-comedy film bhoot police that released on a streaming platform, Saif said he has realized the importance of entertaining family audiences, more so today. “When I watch bhoot police with my family, or when I watch MommyI realize the power of a family horror movie that’s not really very scary… The kids enjoy, everyone’s cuddling up under a blanket.
“So, the idea of a film bringing a family together is powerful, which I had not realized. It’s a lovely thing to bring a family together,” the actor, a father of four, said. Saif, whose last two theatrical releases were Bunty Aur Babli 2 (2021) Vikram Vedha (2022), said that post the pandemic, the audience reaction to movies has become “extreme”.
“A change that has happened is if they like a movie, then they really like it and it makes lots of money, more than before the pandemic actually. But if they don’t like it, then it makes less money than before the pandemic because nobody’s interested at all. So, it’s become a little more extreme,” he added.
So, is Saif looking at scripts differently? “No”, he said, adding, “I just go instinctively as usual.” The actor’s next project is an audio series titled Marvel’s Wastelanders: Star-Lord, The Hindi-language version hails from Audible and will premiere exclusively on the platform throughout 2023 and 2024.
The audio epic, which was originally launched as an English-language series in June 2021, is made up of six seasons – Marvel’s Wastelanders: Star-Lord, Marvel’s Wastelanders: Hawkeye, Marvel’s Wastelanders: Black Widow, Marvel’s Wastelanders: Wolverine, Marvel’s Wastelanders: Doom and Marvel’s Wastelanders,
Saif said the offer for the podcast series came to him last year and he instantly jumped at it because he was keen to explore this new medium.
“Audio work helps you develop your voice and your acting skills because sound is everything. Sometimes in movies we’re not so well trained with the sound. We should but we’re actually not.
“Some of these theater guys who are in movies now, they are trained. But from our generation of guys, we haven’t had any formal training in voice and it’s so important.” Saif voices Peter Quill aka Star-Lord, a hugely popular character from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, who is synonymous with Hollywood actor Chris Pratt in the movies.
“It’s a completely different thing that’s written for audio, and therefore, any actor that’s playing it has to make it his own. So, it’s like a play… somebody’s written like Hamlet, then somebody else has done it, and then you do it. Chris Pratt is great, this is an audio thing, which is a whole different story and world.” The actor, who recently announced that he will star in the Hindi adaptation of the Danish-Swedish drama Bron (The Bridge), said he enjoys exploring the streaming world as the shows and characters are more real and closer to reality.
For him, OTT platforms are “more liberating” as an artist. The actor made his streaming debut with the Netflix series Sacred Games (2018-2019) and followed it up with Prime Video show Tandava (2021).
“OTT doesn’t have rules and there’s no kind of worrying about pleasing everybody… There’s more reality, it’s more honest, whether you express love or your language, all these things that we don’t do in our movies so much.
“The web is more liberating because you can be more honest and you feel like you’re doing something that is more kind of connected to reality. We’re lucky as actors if you can do it all.” OTT platforms have exposed viewers to diverse content from different countries, he said. “I’ve discovered so many international shows, like South Korean and German shows through Netflix. There’ll come a time when there’ll be people from different cultures and countries acting on a platform like that. And it is the future when people get onto the same kind of…like there is a globalization of thought.”
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