Saif Ali Khan’s career seems to be in desperate need of a makeover. The days of playing the goofy, muddled and bewildered commitment-phobic NRI are over.
Sadly, Raj Nidomoru and Krishna DK’s Happy Ending didn’t have a happy ending at the box office. Trade experts say the film suffered heavy financial losses, far more than Saif’s previous disaster Humshakals.
Clearly then and there is no polite way of putting this Saif has lost the plot. Happy Ending was one of the smarter sharper and more incisive romcoms in recent times with the dialogues constantly demolishing the myth of janam janam ka pyar and replacing it with a functional see-if-it-works urban relationship of convenience.
If only some other actor mouthed those lines! Saif made them sound like wisdom picked up from bulk messages on WhatsApp.
The biggest drawback and the reason for the downfall of the smart and savvy Happy Ending was Saif himself.
He has mastered the art of playing the bored Casanova to the point of saturation. It’s just plain dull and distracting. Ranveer Shorey, who plays his BFF, steals every scene from Saif effortlessly, as does Kalki.
But Ranveer and Kalki are not burdened with the responsibility of perpetuating their stardom. They simply enjoy being in character.
Saif. On the other hand, is too conscious of the box office liabilities. While playing the commitment-wary lover boy, he must be cute rather than annoying. He must seem to be more muddled than conflicted.
In acting cute for the camera, Saif sacrifices his right to play the same character from the early Dillagi to Dil Chahta Hai, Hum Tum, Love Aaj Kal and Cocktail differently.
Saif’s non-romcom outings, too, have not been enormously successful: Rensil d’Silva’s Kurbaan where he played a reluctant terrorist and Sriram Raghavan’s Agent Vinod where he played a reluctant secret agent, both tanked.
To add to the difficult situation, Saif has just said no to Reema Kagti’s Mr Chaloo after saying yes. Reema says, “I’ve no choice but to start looking for a hero again.”
A task easier said than done, as any role openly rejected by a top actor or actress becomes anathema to others.
Producer Sajid Nadiadwala and director Kabir Khan’s Phantom, which is Saif’s next release, packages Saif in a new avatar.
Says Kabir, “I think Saif has the right blend of star appeal and acting abilities. His part in Phantom is different from anything Saif has done so far.” It’s time for him to move on. Or else the audience will....