Bollywood superstar Saif Ali Khan returns to the big screen this Thanksgiving, Thursday, November 28, in the much-talked-about new film Bullett Raja which releases in the U.S. before it opens in India. Directed by last year’s National Award winner Tigmanshu Dhulia (Paan Singh Tomar), the film co-stars Sonakshi Sinha and mixes action, comedy, and romance into a full-on entertainer with some of the hottest music of the year.
Bullett Raja is the story of a common man, Raja Mishra, who transforms into a dreaded gangster of the Hindi heartland. A victim of the system and chained by it, Raja’s life changes as he takes on those that rule and shakes the very foundations of the police, government and industrialists. As he rises and revolts against the system becoming an outlaw, Bullett sets ablaze the nexus and changes the landscape forever. The powers-that-be fight back in a compelling struggle for power and money against the backdrop of personal ambitions, greed and revenge. Redefining love, friendship and loyalty, Bullet Raja creates a world, where a common man, tests his endurance and fortitude against the very system he once obediently followed. Directed by National Award winner, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Bullett Raja stars Saif Ali Khan and Sonakshi Sinha.
Saif sat down to discuss his latest role, working with Sonakshi, and his musical influences.
Can you tell us about your character in Bullett Raja? It’s a thriller about somebody who is quite an intelligent guy. He’s from a well-to-do Brahmin family so it’s very surprising that he ends up in this line of mafia work. But there is no other option for him. It’s the rise of a gangster but his personality is larger than life and Tigmanshu has made it a point to make it lovable and entertaining.
So he’s very charming with women and great to his friends. He’s also violent and has a temper, but he’s a nice fun guy. Bullett Raja is quite a star as a character. The kinds of clothes he would wear would be quite flashy, and I think he’s aware that he’s a charming guy.
Tell us about the catchy title of the film and how it came to be. Titles are very important. I can’t remember the title that Tigmanshu wanted to call it … oh … “Jai Ram-ji!” Can you imagine!? It doesn’t sound like a fun title. We had a title called “Revolver Rani.” Instead of “Revolver Rani” we said why not, “Revolver Raja?” And then if not “Revolver Raja,” why not, “Bullett Raja?” That’s how it actually came. I think a lot of people liked the title instantly.
What kind of look were you going for? You need a certain ability to look serious on screen. You have to be able to effectively threaten some pretty scary looking people. The supporting cast of Bullett Raja has some pretty scary characters. The challenge is to not look like some kid from a love story trying to be tough. It is the role of a young tiger.
What was it like working with Sonakshi Sinha? It’s really nice working with Sonakshi. And it’s a nice pair-up that grounds Bullett Raja. It’s an interesting role for her. She’s from Calcutta and she’s somehow in Lucknow as a struggling actress … meeting Gulshan Grover for a part. (smiles) So she’s definitely on the wrong track. Totally. And luckily she meets Bullett Raja who also is on the wrong track. So two people on the wrong track meet and find something special. And that’s romantic. She has a sense of calm, and patience, and simplicity. She doesn’t seem to be like a star who’s in a rush. She’s very patient, kind, fun.
Did you enjoy working with National Award-winning director Tigmanshu Dhulia? I’ve enjoyed working with Tigmanshu a lot. He’s got a slight artistic streak in his commercial films. He’s a little quirky in his scenes and unexpected in terms of dialogue and presentation. We have one thing in common which is that musically we both like Deep Purple a lot and particularly Ritchie Blackmore, the lead guitarist. This is important because it means that you’re similar in some way. It must mean that you have similar artistic values.
Ideally an actor should be an extension of a director’s mind. I think this is one of my best performances. We agreed on so many things. Things like how Sergio Leone would shoot the Spaghetti Westerns that Clint Eastwood acted in – that was more the zone for the gun fighting we wanted.