“You better learn your language, Saif”

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After Omkara, Saif Ali Khan will be seen in another unconventional role in Prakash Jha’s Aarakshan. This time he will be taking on the role of a moustache-sporting village school teacher. It seems this role turned out to be quite challenging for Saif as he is required to speak in shudh Hindi and at times even Sanskrit for the movie. “Everyone knows Prakashji speaks serious Hindi in his movies! And Amitji (Amitabh Bachchan) and Manoj Bajpai clearly don’t have a problem with that at all,” said Saif, who has teamed up with Jha for the first time.

Speaking Hindi is no problem for the actor but chaste Hindi was a bit of a challenge for Saif, as he has spent quite a lot of his days as a student in Britain. In fact, when you listen carefully you can detect that he also has a slight accent when he talks in English. “Before I started work on Aarakshan, my mother (Sharmila Tagore) had told me – ‘Saif, you better learn your language’. I took it lightly then, but she was right. I really had to sit in my room and learn Hindi like a student,” Saif told IANS.

Saif spend hours on his diction for Aarakshan. Then he received some good advice from Amitabh Bachchan: Keep repeating your dialogues throughout the day. And the real learning process began. “Amitji helped by suggesting that I say my dialogues in the shower, in the gym, while going for a walk, and during other times of the day… and it worked! He has always been inspiring and his delivery of Hindi can make any writer proud,” he said. But he enjoyed every bit of it. “It was a beautiful experience to work hard on every scene when it was near- impossible to read the dialogues, be fluent, and saying them well with all the action.”

Saif is now more appreciative of Hindi as a language. “The language is so rich and powerful, definitely more powerful than English. It sounds beautiful when spoken well. And I am glad I was able to speak it fine thanks to this wonderful opportunity of working with these great people – Prakashji and Amitji.”

The actor is happy that with his next roles he has created a nice balance of entertainment with Agent Vinod, and meaningful and socially relevant movie like Aarakshan. “There is a certain responsibility when you choose a film like Aarakshan. I feel like I am doing my duty as a responsible actor. Aarakshan is a different role, a different character, a different space for me. I wouldn’t associate myself with a teacher from a village or an academically brilliant scholar from a lower section of society – so it has definitely been a new challenge.”

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