Filmfare interview with Saif Ali Khan,
Gentle persuasion did the trick. For the Filmfare cover, we wanted two of the most talked-about stars of the day. We met Sridevi at Bombay’s Sahar airport the moment she touched down from London. The next day, she kept her promise. And a visibly excited Saif took hours off from a dubbing schedule to pose with la Devi whom he raves about as "my all-time favourite." So, we wondered…
How would you estimate Sridevi?\
Saif Ali Khan: While doing the photo session, I was very conscious about who she is. She has dignity and poise. No actress I have worked with has as much control as she does. The shoot was the high point of my day. If she ever agrees to act with me, it would be an honour. I don't know what kind of roles we could do together though…because she has been teamed with senior guys. Someone would have to come with a marvelously unusual script for us.
Why were you nervous while doing the session with her?
Saif Ali Khan: The minute I met Sridevi, I folded my hands into a namaste. I guess I was a bit nervous but I overcame that because she was so cool…while posing, I couldn’t see the myriad expressions she can bring on her face… because she was either behind me or in front. I was hoping that she was comfortable.
What would happen if you were stranded with Sridevi on a desert island?
Saif Ali Khan: Jeez, that’s a naughty question! Honestly, I think we'd talk and talk for days. She’s a persona, she’s seen so much of show business, she’s been acting ever since she was four years old. We’d become friends for life, I think. I’d catch fish and cook them over a fire for her.
Do you ever make comparisons between Sridevi and Madhuri Dixit?
Saif Ali Khan: Sridevi’s the best…so why make comparisons? I’ve to still see more lively and spontaneous performances than the ones she delivered in delivered in Mr India and Chaalbaaz.
If you saw Sridevi alone at a party, would you strike up conversation? Or would you look upon her as forbidden territory?
Saif Ali Khan: I’ve never been put off forbidden territory. If I saw Sridevi alone, I’d make conversation right-away. And by now, I think I’ve proved that I’m not put off by the forbidden. No one ever expected me to date Dingy, did they? It came as a shock to people when we started seeing each other.
Is Sridevi your kind of woman?
Saif Ali Khan: She certainly looks like every man’s fantasy. She has those unbelievable, whirlpool eyes. From her hair to her shoes, she’s so well put together. And she isn't arrogant rather she's a thorough professional. She's pretty slim, too. Not painfully slim... which is a kink of mine. I think girls shouldn’t be toothpick-thin.
To sum up, I would say the encounter with Sridevi was something like an encounter of a new heroine with Amitabh Bachchan. She commands respect. Perhaps Mr. Bachchan is more intimidating… perhaps intentionally so… while she made me feel like a buddy.
Finally, if a producer offered you the choice of acting with any top heroine, who would you opt for?
Saif Ali Khan: I’d be foolish not to opt for Sridevi. But the story should make us look right. So far, it is said that I looked compatible with Neelam in Parampara and Raveena Tandon in Imtihaan. Dingy says I look perfect with Kajol. So, it’s all a matter of opinion.
At the end of the session, you sent her a rose. Is that part of your charm?
Saif Ali Khan: She had to rush off to Madras. In the hurry, I could just organize a single rose. Otherwise, I would have given her a 100 roses…at least.
See entire series of shots of Saif Ali Khan with Sridevi here.