“There are not many interesting roles for women in Bollywood because it’s a hero-driven world out here,” says Soha Ali Khan, “But Bengali cinema has well-etched female characters. I have an affinity towards them. I feel Bengal is home.”
Soha Ali is the daughter of legendary mid-order batsman and Indian cricket captain, the Nawab of Pataudi, and top Bollywood star of the 60s and 70s, Sharmila Tagore. With her mother’s legacy, she will not be leaving Bollywood behind. Soon, she will be seen in Tera Kya Hoga Johnny opposite Neil Nitin Mukesh and as a reporter in Mumbai Meri Jaan.
Where does she fit between her brother Saif Ali Khan and sister Saba? “I’m a balanced person unlike bhai (Saif) who is 10 years older than me and aapa (Saba) who is two years older. My brother is an extrovert and the life of a party whereas my sister is quiet and reserved. They are two extremes and I’m the perfect balance between them.”
And what about Saif Ali’s other half? “I’ve met Kareena a couple of times. I’ve noticed that she takes a lot of effort to spend time with my family. She is very warm. What matters most is that she makes my brother happy.”
Soha Ali is one smart cookie, having studied History at Balliol College, Oxford and walked away with a Masters in International Relations from the London School of Economics (LSE). She has also worked for the Ford Foundation and Citibank and first made a big impression in Rang De Basanti.
She was recently seen in a glamorous pose for the cover of Maxim. Is this the start of a new career for the 29-year-old? “That photo shoot wasn’t about getting an image makeover,” she explains, “I don’t have that kind of a glam avatar in any of my forthcoming releases. In fact, being an actress who wants to experiment with different roles, it would work to my advantage not to have an image.”