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Last Updated 19.06.2024 | 7:06 PM IST



Saif Ali Khan REACTS on winning National Award for Hum Tum: “I was told something has happened with Shah Rukh Khan and National Award committee, and he is not getting it for Swades”

en Bollywood News Saif Ali Khan REACTS on winning National Award for Hum Tum: “I was told something has happened with Shah Rukh Khan and National Award committee, and he is not getting it for Swades”

When Saif Ali Khan won the National Award in 2005 for Best Actor for Yash Raj Films’ Kunal Kohli directorial Hum Tum (2004), it turned out to be a controversial decision as many believed that the choice wasn’t correct. Now, after the film, which also starred Rani Mukerji, has completed 20 years, Saif has finally broken his silence on the aftermath of winning the award and what he himself thinks about it in a chat with Bollywood Hungama.

Saif Ali Khan REACTS on winning National Award for Hum Tum: “I was told something has happened with Shah Rukh Khan and National Award committee, and he is not getting it for Swades”

Saif Ali Khan REACTS on winning National Award for Hum Tum: “I was told something has happened with Shah Rukh Khan and National Award committee, and he is not getting it for Swades”

Saif, the controversy that erupted when you got the National award for Hum Tum, how do you look back on that experience?
You know, my Hum Tum co-star Rani won for Best Actress at a popular awards. But Rani and I were nominated for Best Comic Actor for Hum Tum, which I actually think is offensive and ridiculous. You know, I just lost faith in the awards after that. And I remember, you know, somebody high up in the organization telling me, well, you know how it is, you know, we've got so we are an incredibly politically lobbied, motivated and there's all kinds of things going on behind the scenes. There's politics in cricket, in business, when we tried to buy the IPL team, I mean, you know, whatever. This country, I mean, you have no idea. It's just the tip of the iceberg. You see, what is happening underneath the surface is incredible.

So, when you were informed that you actually got the National Award for Hum Tum, you were actually in two minds about going for the National awards function?

Not in two minds. I just didn’t want to go! I mean, there had been quite a lot of tumultuous ups and downs in my personal life. Anyway, I finally found myself in London, having breakfast. And suddenly the phone rings and I'm informed that I have won the National Award for Hum Tum and that I must go back. I didn't want to go. I wasn't in two minds. I just didn't want to go at all.

Why not?

I'd have to buy a five-lakh ticket and I didn't want to do that. I had just arrived in London. I called my mother (actress Sharmila Tagore) and she said, don't be ridiculous and I said there'll probably be some controversy. And she said don't be ridiculous, you have to go. So off I went, and we had the most amazing experience at the National Awards.

The controversy over you getting it started before the actual announcement?

I had got a call from Padam Kumar who had said that there's a problem that something has happened with Shah Rukh Khan and the National Award committee, and he is not getting it for Swades. I was informed of this, and he was like I think you're going to get it. And then Sudhir Mishra who headed the jury that year when he gave me the award said he's giving it to me because of the ease of performance.

He actually told you this?
Yeah, he told me that. And I think everyone was up in arms about it ever since.

I had received a midnight drunken call from Rishi Kapoor. Have I ever told you this?

He was fuming at you. Your mother got it for you, etc
But well, you know he was such an important part of that movie I wanted to say and how great it was working with him. This is good time to talk about the politics of awards and everything. But the fact is, this, I just wanted to say this about awards, that they're all a kind of, at least, they were at that point of time, politically motivated. And my mother didn't get it for me. Because if my mother could give me stuff, then she would have given me much more. I guess she wouldn't have been my mother if she did this kind of that.

I know
Firstly, my father and mother are the last people to do this… I mean, in fact, you know, it would work against us being their children, because they would be so conscious that people might think this (special treatment), that we would get more stern treatment than everybody else’s children. If they were ever in a position to, to do that, they would never ever do that. But there's no point in my saying that because people, you don't very clear know me or my parents.

I didn't know your dad. But your mother is a very righteous woman.
Yeah, and so was my father. So was he and very, very fair and being like Captain of Indian cricket team, he survived for ten years, when no other captain had survived that long, basically by being fair, where people just trusted him. On the field, you've got to be fair. With everybody. I mean, that was his advice to me. Once he said, just in life, treat everybody the same and you'll be okay. You know, especially if you're in a position, like as an actor, you treat the spot boy and the director with as much equanimity, was his word. Well, he was right.

And you have turned out rather well…
Well, thank you. But this is fun to talk about because it's such an important movie. See, I'll accept one thing: maybe there's a film like Omkara that should have got more recognition in terms of awards. Maybe I could have got a National Award for that film. So then let's say it balances out in that sense. I know Hum Tum is not the kind of film. Sudhir Mishra had told me something very good at that time, very pertinent.

What was that?
He said that you know you don't always get the National Award or whatever award for your best performance. Sometimes you get it because you are the best of the lot that is presented to you during that year. So, he had pointed on John Wayne who got it for True Grit because well he was not great in True Grit, but he got the Oscar for that. So, I want to say I happen to think I'm very proud of my performance in Hum Tum. You can't see what kind of performance it is because it's very just… but I'd like to see someone else try and pull off a film which is just one of those.

People think when you are doing a light-hearted role you are automatically not eligible for heavy awards?
Yeah. So, you know, I kind of get that and it's fine. But it's not true. I wasn't even nominated for Best Actor by Filmfare. Shubhra Gupta's written a book saying Hum Tum is one of the 20 most important movies made in Bollywood.

Oh, has she?
Yeah, for what it stands for. I mean, what it stands for about women and what it did about like, you know, about empowerment and about what a heroine's role should be. There's also this whole angle of how kind of relevant it is to an emerging kind of a class in India, who it spoke to. So, there's all that, which is its contribution. (It) stands up to the test of time, you know, I mean, then a lot more than a lot of other films. I mean, it heralded a new kind of cinema, whether India likes rom-coms or not is a separate issue. But this is because I think we like love stories

Well, romcoms too are love stories
Exactly. But I mean, romcoms are more about slightly more privileged people having confusions in their mind, which is not the common man in India. I mean, a love story is something to be revered. And most of the characters I played in those days were confused about love, which is a very privileged attitude, you know.

So you are proud of the National award?
Yes, and the film. I've forgotten so many things. But the weather in Amsterdam, I remember, 45 days and we finished the movie. It was so nice. And you know, it looked so good. And I forgot to mention Sunil Patel, our DOP was also a yeller. Then Dilip Subramaniam, who is the sound recordist was also a yeller. Siddharth Anand was a yeller. I was a yeller. Kunal Kohli was yelling. Rishi Kapoor was looking at us like, these people are all mad. It was a very different time. But I think it encapsulates and symbolizes the whole 2000s for me. That movie and Salaam Namaste and that whole era with, you know, Dharma and Yash Raj and that kind of thing. I'm with Siddharth Anand here. I'm with Siddharth Anand shooting in Budapest. I must go up to him and shake his hand and tell him we've all come a long way.

And this is my past, you know, it's like, it's interesting to reminisce about it. It's all right to think of me and my contribution to cinema, whether it's, you know, these roles like Sacred Games or whether it's Omkara or whether it's Hum Tum or, you know, these movies. I think if you put it all together and you say he's won a National Award, I think it's fair enough. Maybe not for Hum Tum, perhaps, even though I do think it's an award-winning role. And that's what people have to understand that to hold a film with only conversation and no drama. Yes. It's not easy. Like we just had to be interesting talkers. And some people are not interesting talkers. So that was the challenge to the part.

Also Read: 20 years of Hum Tum: Saif Ali Khan recalls his blow up with Kunal Kohli, “I got the feeling the director didn’t love the idea of having me on”

More Pages: Hum Tum Box Office Collection , Hum Tum Movie Review


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