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Saif Ali Khan plays Naga sadhu in a forthcoming film

No, he won’t be wandering around naked, but the actor describes his character as an animal at heart.

Our Correspondent

Throughout his career, Saif Ali Khan has been dogged by the image of being a man born into wealth and royalty, what with his father, the legendary former India cricket captain Mansur Ali Khan, being the last nawab of Pataudi.

The actor, however, has tried his hand at playing characters that are outside his comfort zone. So we saw him play a typical tough from the badlands of Uttar Pradesh in Vishal Bhardwaj’s Omkara (2007), a sardar in Love Aaj Kal (2009), a chef in Chef (2017) and a Sikh police officer in the Netflix show Sacred Games.

But never before have we seen Saif Ali Khan play a sadhu. But that is exactly what he will be doing in an upcoming film. And not just any sadhu but a Naga sadhu.

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As reported by the Bombay Times entertainment supplement of The Times of India newspaper, Saif Ali Khan will be playing a Naga sadhu in a period film set in 1780.

Naga sadhus are ascetics who wander around naked. But Khan is quick to point out that he would not be seen in the altogether.

“I wear clothes though I shouldn’t be because 'naga' means nanga," the Kaalakaandi (2018) actor said. "My character is [actually] a failed sadhu, who has strong notions of revenge. The film is a drama set in Rajasthan. I even got my ears pierced for the role, which I was worried about initially. My hair has grown a lot. It bothered me throughout the summer, when I was shooting in Rajasthan’s sweltering heat. It took me anywhere from 40 minutes to two hours sometimes just to get into the hair and makeup for the part."

Khan finds his character weird but considers this the role of a lifetime. “I’ve always felt that there is one entity that is giving me things that I don’t deserve. That’s how I feel for this role also," he said. "It’s too good to be true and and it’s a completely different experience.”

Khan will be seen using weapons, and said his character is an animal at heart. “Saif Ali Khan is a character I am more used to being, while my part in Hunter [probably the film's tentative title] is that of a person who is an animal at heart — a flat-footed, wild fellow. Fifty days into the shoot and my spotboy also told me that something has changed in me. Some roles do that to you, I guess.” 

Apart from Sacred Games, Khan has shot for director Navdeep Singh’s untitled film. Plus there is the Nikkhil Advani-produced Baazaar also lined up this year.