Beauty is her legacy. And talent her heirloom. Daughter of the suave Saif Ali Khan and the savvy Amrita Singh, Sara Ali Khan has followed her parentsí footprints into showbiz. Young Sara, who insists she has her fatherís mind, is a law and political science graduate from the Columbia University in New York. Yet, it was the camera, which resonated her deepest desire. Saraís confidence and talent swept audiences and critics in her debut film, Kedarnath, the tale of love amidst devastation. Close on the heels, Rohit Shettyís blockbuster Simmba has positioned her as the pick of masala movies as well. Over to the prodigious findÖ who has both the sense of an actor and the sensibilities of a starÖ
Whatís the finest thing told to you?
The nicest thing people said was that Kedarnath doesnít seem like my first film. This is a huge compliment. Ours was a hectic shoot with difficult schedules. Iím grateful that at the end of the day, it all came together and my work was appreciated.
Looking back, what was the moment when you realised you wanted to become an actress?
I was around four when I came across the song Kaanta laga. I couldnít pronounce the word Ďbungleí in the song. Iíd say ĎBunge ke peechheí. At that point of time, I realised this was what I wanted to do. Of course, my interest evolved. At the age of four-five, youíre glamour-struck. Then you realise and internalise what it takes to be here. Now, having shot two films, I want to do this more than ever.
The best thing youíve inherited from your mother, Amrita Singh and your father, Saif Ali Khan.
(Smiles) My fatherís mind and my momís heart.
What are the dos and doníts set by your parents?
My parents insist that whether itís being a good actor or a level-headed person, you need to make your own mistakes. So, short of preventing me from jumping off a building, my parents are okay with me taking my own call and making my own decisions. The only dos and doníts are things like donít lie, donít be dishonest. Dishonesty shows in your eyes and no make-up artist or DOP (director of photography) will be able to hide that. So, just be real.
What do you find fascinating about your grandmother Sharmila Tagore?
Sheís the epitome of grace and elegance. Thatís something I admire. Sheís my grandmother so thereís a lot of respect for her. I strike a balance between respect and closeness. I can talk to her about almost anything. But then again, our conversations are little more skewed towards world affairs and political science than towards hair and make-up.
Youíre beautiful and talented. Whatís your plan to stay ahead in the game?
Iím not good with strategy or thought. Iím good with heart, with conviction and honesty. Iím going to keep myself real and grounded. Iím going to pray to God that people like my work. Iíd love to collaborate with people, whoíll give me the opportunity to do so. From here thereís only going further and working harder.
You must be conversant with the ringside of BollywoodÖ
I live with mom, who stopped playing the main lead before I was born. I donít know the know-hows of this industry. So, itís all a learning process for me.
The insecurities and uncertainties... Are you prepared to deal with them?
Want to know the truth? Iím not prepared. I donít believe you can ever be ready. And yet you donít have a choice but to be ready. I wonít ever wake up thinking, ĎAny role that comes my way, any insecurityÖ Címon bring it on.í Because thatís not what this job is about. This job is about taking each day as it comes, living the moment in the best way you can and realising that everything is a team effort. Making a film, setting a look, walking out of your house, or be it anything elseÖ youíre not doing anything single-handedly. You should never believe youíre ready. Thatís not fun.
Taimur Ali Khan is the biggest star in your family. Do you agree?
(Laughs) Yes, hands down. He walks out of the house and it makes news. While we have to work hard for it.