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Sara Ali Khan, Born To Be A Star



Sara Ali Khan

 Or  so she thinks. She was a star in her head  from childhood. I  saw Sara when she was 9 or 10 at  the  Screen awards for Black where I had accompanied(gatecrashed with) my friend Sanjay Leela Bhansali. That evening Black swept the awards. We were all in a celebratory mood. In  the  middle of it all  this , a  chubby  little girl walked right  up to Sanjay , did an Umrao Jaan adaab and  left.

“Who is that  girl?” I asked Sanjay amused and curious.

“That’s  Saif and Amrita Singh’s daughter. She’s already behaving like  a star.”

 Years later when I recounted this  incident to Saif’s first-born she was all  for it. “Of course this  sounds  very much like me. I am what I am I guess it comes  from being honest. And that’s the  only way I can be. Let those who can lie convincingly do it. I can’t! I start  fumbling the  minute I lie.Staying  true to myself suits me  just  fine.”

When I first interviewed  Sara she struck me as clever and confident, more her mother than her father.When I asked if she thought  she deserved to be  one of  the most talked  about newcomers  Sara quickly  shot back,  “80 percent  of it , I deserve. The  other 20 percent  I don’t know where  it is coming from.And  it’s  making me feel very  grateful and emotional.”

  She  never attended any acting school. Sara was at Columbia  university at the same time as  my daughter. Kareena  enthusiastically  offered  that they meet up. But my daughter was  not keen.Of course  soon after Kareena was  not interested either.

 Sara remembered  visiting her parents on their sets. “I had been on  film sets before to see my mother(Amrita Singh) shoot in Kalyug and my father (Saif Ali Khan) in Omkara. But all I  did was  play around with  my parents’ co-stars’ makeup . Kedarnath was  my first  opportunity to  observe  filmmaking and be part  of  the process. My only tool of working  on the sets was my honesty.Of course  I  always wanted  to be an actor.”

So if she wanted  to be  an actor  from childhood why did she waste her parents’ money by attending one   of the best universities  in the world? “To me education  was  not a means to get a job. It was my way of widening my horizons. I didn’t think  I  was  going to be practising lawyer  after attending Colombia. Education has made me a confident  person. It doesn’t only teach  you history and  geography. Education gives you  insight into life.It gave me a heightened awareness  of  life that  helped   me  become  a  better actor.”

Being raised  by a single parent didn’t seem to bother  Sara.Or she told me. “I was more than okay with that arrangement. I think having two  happy parents in different  homes is much more preferable than  two unhappy parents  in  the same  home. I think  I am the way  that I am because  my mother didn’t let me feel any kind deprivation  for even a second. I have a  very hands-on  mother. Once  my  brother and I were born  she did  nothing  but look  after us.My father was always a phonecall away  for  both of us. I’ve never felt he was  not there for me. In many ways I am glad my parents were  not together. I know they’d have never been happy together.And if  they were not happy I’d not have been happy.”

Nor was she perturbed  by Saif’s  undivided attention for Taimur .

She righteously  defended her father’s absence in her growing years.  “When my father was living with us, he was completely taken  up by me. When he  moved away he was still as  caring.There’s nothing he  wouldn’t do for me. Even  when he doesn’t live with us , the  thought that he’d do anything for  me makes me feel  very special. My father may  not be there for me the way he is for Taimur. But that doesn’t make me feel  any  less special.”

 Sara’s  abundant self-confidence  has stood her in good stead. It has helped her to  survive  a disastrous  performance  in Imtiaz Ali’s  Love Aaj Kal. I do hope Aanand Rai’s Atrangi Re where she  co-stars with her father’s colleague Akshay Kumar,  gives her a  chance to  prove she can act.

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