Saif Ali Khan speaks about his ‘Dada’ Pradeep Sarkar, ‘he encouraged the Bengali side in me’ – Times of India

Saif Ali Khan got one of his first major breaks as a leading man of substance in Pradeep Sarkar’s Parineeta, an ambrosial adaptation of Sarat Chandra’s classic novel where Saif played Shekhar to Vidya Balan’s Lalita.
It was an unforgettable experience for Saif. Jolted to hear of Sarkar’s untimely demise Saif says, “I am very sad to hear this… Dada was an artist. Parineeta was such an important film to me for so many reasons. It broke a certain image and allowed me to play the lead with a very different energy.”

Recalling Sarkar’s directorial skills, Saif says, “Dada only shot my left side because he loved that profile! He encouraged the Bengali side in me (Saif’s mother the legendary Sharmila Tagore is a Bengali) to be more artistic.”

Saif is filled with admiration at Sarkar’s mise en scene. “His framing and design were beautiful. You had the feeling you were working in proper cinema – artistic, beautifully lit. His face would light up with childlike joy when you delivered something good.”

Cool as a cucumber, Saif saw Sarkar lose his temper just once. “I’ve only seen him angry once… righteous rage, I would call it. Very frightening. Some technical issue he had warned the crew about, he yelled so loudly and went dark with rage but it passed equally quickly, like a thunderstorm!”

Saif recalls Sarkar’s tireless quest for the perfect shot. “I see him in my mind, meticulously forwarding and rewinding the video assist with his tongue sticking out, deep in minute concentration at 4 am while we are all falling asleep around him.”

Saif can’t thank Sarkar enough for giving him Parineeta. “He was encouraging, kind and generous and I will always be in his debt for giving me that role and platform and for believing in me. I will miss him. My thoughts and prayers are with his family now and his most wonderful partner, producer and wife, Mrs Piu Sarkar. He gave me a lot, and I’m very sorry that he is gone.”

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