Saif Ali Khan Birthday: 7 Underrated Performances of the National Award Winning Actor That Deserve More Love!

Sreeju Sudhakaran

Saif Ali Khan is an actor whose career has seen a couple of huge reinventions. In the '90s, Saif Ali Khan, who made his debut with late Yash Chopra's Parampara, was one of the popular stars of the era, but he could never break into the big league. Stuck in his chocolate boy image, Saif Ali Khan struck gold at the box office only in multi-starrers like Main Khiladi Tu Anari, Yeh Dillagi, Biwi No 1, but he couldn't pull off a solo hit convincingly. Towards the late nineties, his movie releases became lesser and lesser, till there was a threat that Saif's career was over. After Dil Chahta Hai, Aamir Khan and Saif Ali Khan to Come Together for Vikram Vedha Remake?

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Then 2001 came and Dil Chahta Hai happened. As the carefree Sameer who is always looking for love, Saif Ali Khan was a scene-stealer in the movie, with his comical skills used in the best way. Then Kal Ho Naa Ho released in 2003 and once again, reignited Saif's star-power. Hum Tum in 2004 became Saif Ali Khan's first solo hit, and surprisingly, it also won him his first National Award for the Best Actor. More hits like Salaam Namaste, Parineeta, Love Aaj Kal, Cocktail, Race and its sequel followed. Then there is Vishal Bhardwaj's Omkara, where his character of Langda Tyagi is considered as one of the best villains of all time.

And then came a second slump.

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While Saif Ali Khan found love for the second time in future wife Kareena Kapoor, his movies were not working at the box office. Films like Bullett Raja, Humshakals, Rangoon and Chef flopped. Then Saif went for a strategic move that revolutionised Bollywood. He agreed to be the part of a web-series that we now know as Sacred GamesSacred Games 2 Recap: From Tantric Sex to Mob-Lynching to Major Deaths, 15 Shocking Moments in Second Season of Saif Ali Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s Netflix Series (SPOILER ALERT).

The super success of the show may not have brought him back to the top, but it kept Saif in the Race (pun intended). It also encouraged other popular stars like Vivek Oberoi, Emraan Hashmi, Jackie Shroff, Akshay Kumar, Bobby Deol to get to make their streaming debut. Now with season 2 of Sacred Games making all kind of noise, Saif has once again made it back to our conversations. He was also appreciated for his oily character in last year's Baazaar.

On August 16, 2019, Saif Ali Khan is celebrating his 49th birthday. So to celebrate this special occasion, let's look at seven performances of the actor that deserve more love and attention.

Being Cyrus

Saif Ali Khan in Being Cyrus

Homi Adajania (Cocktail, Finding Fanny)'s directorial debut is an unusual mix of psychological drama and black humour. In the film, Saif Ali Khan plays an introverted stranger who comes to stay with a dysfunctional Parsi family and gets involved in their web of deceit and murder, while bringing his own chaos. At the time of its release, Being Cyrus was highly acclaimed, but as the years went by, the chatter about this film has really gone low. Cyrus is definitely one of Saif's most abstract performances, and the actor knocks it out of the park here.


Saif Ali Khan in Chef

Chef is one of Saif's more recent releases, and is a remake of the Hollywood film by the same name. The film tanked miserably, though it hasn't anything to do with Saif, who gave a really empathetic act as a chef who tries to connect with his son through the culinary senses. The fact that he actually learnt to cook like a chef to prepare for his role makes his performance even more special.

Love Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega

Saif Ali Khan in Love Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega

Before Dil Chahta Hai, this Ram Gopal Varma production was one of the earliest hints that Saif wants to experiment with the greys. A rip-off of Fargo, Saif plays a husband to a rich girl who is hard on cash to start his new venture, So he reluctantly gets his wife kidnapped by two strangers to get ransom from his rich, arrogant father-in-law, only to see more roadblocks in his flawed plans.

Darna Mana Hai

Saif Ali Khan and Boman Irani in Darna Mana Hai

This anthology film with supernatural themes was a one-of-a-kind experiment (then), featuring some popular names. Saif Ali Khan and Boman Irani (in his breakout role) starred in one of the standout segments in the movie. As a customer caught in a hotel with a strangely stringent no-smoking policy, Saif convincingly captures the inquisitiveness and later helplessness of his unlucky character.

Ek Hasina Thi

Saif Ali Khan in Ek Hasina Thi

When we talk about the negative characters that Saif has played, Omkara, justifiably, comes first in the conversation. However, whoever has seen Sriram Raghavan's flawed but twisty directorial debut, know that Langda Tyagi has some tough competition there. Saif was all kinds of sinister, and yet charming as the suave, slippery conman who doesn't mind pushing his sins on others.

Eklavya: The Royal Guard

Saif Ali Khan and Amitabh Bachchan in Eklavya

This Vidhu Vinod Chopra film may not have worked at the box office. But this royal drama is filled with some excellent performances, especially from Amitabh Bachchan, Boman Irani, Sanjay Dutt and Saif. As an heir to a kingdom who learns of a dark secret about himself, Saif puts in a lot of gravitas in his troubled performance.


Saif Ali Khan in Kaalakaandi

Kaalakaandi's promos gave us a lot of expectations, but this black comedy turned out to be underwhelming as a film. However, only the best praise is reserved for Saif's fine performance that is part hilarious, part tragic. As a man who learns he has only a few days to live, he actually decides to live it up at his brother's wedding leading some very whimsical consequences.