Saif Ali Khan has managed to impress his Aarakshan director Prakash Jha immensely. So much so that the filmmaker can be heard singing praises about the man with whom he has worked for the first time.
'What's so special about this?' One may exclaim, 'After all every director is bound to appreciate his cast'. Well, what makes this appreciation special is the fact that this is the first time in a decade that Jha has directed a film that doesn't feature his favourite actor Ajay Devgn. The fact that Saif replaced Ajay in the film post his fall-out with Jha after Raajneeti only makes the proceedings further interesting.
"It is a known fact that Jha and Devgn were an unbreakable team till Raajneeti happened. Their over one decade long association that started with Dil Kya Kare (1999) continued to reap fruits with Gangaajal (2003), Apaharan (2005) and Raajneeti (2010)", a trade source comments, "It seemed like they would forever be working together but as there is nothing permanent in Bollywood, so was this association as well. Though none have gone on record to talk about the alleged split, it is widely believed that the tension erupted during Raajneeti owing to the length of Ajay's role in the film."
Though there were speculations making the rounds, momentary respite came in once Ajay was said to be working with Jha again in Aarakshan. However just when everything about the film was already set with the shoot about to begin, Ajay was said to have opted out of the film. Though it was being rumoured that Ajay took this decision as owing to his age he wasn't comfortable playing a college student in some portions of the film, no official statement was made from either ends. Meanwhile Jha approached Saif as a quick replacement who was more than willing to oblige.
"Saif has excelled big time and has exceeded my expectations", says Jha who also had another towering personality in the form of Amitabh Bachchan supporting him during every step of the film making, "He is playing a very simple character in the film. He plays someone who belongs to the backward class and studies hard in an endeavour to grow in life and reach the top of the ladder."
To make Saif familiar with the film and it's setting, Jha also held workshops. "We had sessions with the entire principal cast where we did rehearsals, read out lines and talked about the characters in general. Saif wasn't the only one singled out."
This is five years after his 'Langda Tyagi' act in Omkara that Saif Ali Khan is playing a rather serious character. With Jha known for extracting award winning performances from his actors, one now looks forward to whether Saif manages to repeat the feat as well, hence kick starting a new association with Jha which was once reserved only for Ajay.
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