Childhood & Early Life
Saif Ali Khan was born Sajid Ali Khan on August 16, 1970, in New Delhi, India, to actor Sharmila Tagore and her cricketer husband Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi. Mansoor was a former captain of the Indian cricket team. Saif has two younger sisters, Saba and Soha. His sister Soha is also an actor.
He attended ‘The Lawrence School, Sanawar’ in Himachal Pradesh, India, for a few years before he was sent to ‘Lockers Park School’ in Hertfordshire, UK, at the age of nine.
After graduating from ‘Winchester College’ in the UK, he returned to India. He then received an offer to model for ‘Gwalior Suitings,’ post which he started hogging the limelight. He was also cast in a film. Though the film did not see the light of day, it encouraged him to pursue a career in acting.
Saif Ali Khan was excited to relocate to Mumbai and start his career in the film industry. However, he was initially termed as ‘arrogant’ and ‘unprofessional’ by his directors. In 1991, he was cast as the lead in ‘Bekhudi’, but was soon replaced by another actor due to his ‘unprofessionalism.’
In 1993, director Yash Chopra cast him in ‘Parampara.’ Unfortunately, the film failed at the box office. His next two films ‘Aashik Awara’ and ‘Pehchaan,’ both released in 1993, proved to be average hits.
Saif hit the bull’s eye in 1994 with films like ‘Yeh Dillagi’ and ‘Main Khiladi Tu Anari.’ Subsequently, he was recognized by the industry and the media as a bankable actor.
In the next four years, nine of his films were critically and commercially unsuccessful. By the end of the 1990s, his career was in dire straits, and the critics had written him off.
However, the year 1999 proved to be a successful year for him, and his career prospects began to improve. While films like ‘Yeh Hai Mumbai Meri Jaan’ and ‘Aarzoo’ became average hits, ‘Kachche Dhaage’ was his first major commercial success. He then landed a role in ‘Hum Saath-Saath Hain’ which became a major box office hit.
His movie ‘Kya Kehna,’ which released in 2000, was a hit. His portrayal of a negative role in the film was termed as the ‘sunny and bright’ side of the movie by the critics.
In 2001, the coming-of-age comedy drama ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ proved to be a breakthrough film in his career. Critics applauded his acting and termed him a talented actor. The film received the ‘National Film Award’ for ‘Best Feature Film in Hindi.’
The 2003 romantic film ‘Kal Ho Naa Ho’ was marked as his ‘landmark’ film. It was a globally successful film, and Saif’s performance was critically acclaimed.
In 2004, he had another hit film to his credit—‘Hum Tum’—where he showed his acting skills by delivering a strong performance. To avoid being typecast, he took up a negative role in the thriller ‘Ek Hasina Thi.’
In 2005, his role in ‘Parineeta’ garnered critical acclaim. The same year, he was cast in ‘Salaam Namaste’ which became a box office hit.
His role in the film ‘Being Cyrus’ in 2006 earned him critical acclaim. The same year, his portrayal of ‘Ishwar Tyagi’ in the film ‘Omkara’ was applauded by the critics.
In 2007, he appeared in the epic film ‘Eklavya: The Royal Guard,’ which was selected as India's official entry to the ‘Oscars.’ Thanks to his performance in the film, his growth as an actor was discussed once again.
He tasted success with the release of the 2008 thriller ‘Race,’ which was one of the biggest hits that year. His acting skills were once again praised by the critics and fans alike.
In 2009, he established his production house ‘Illuminati Films’ with producer Dinesh Vijan. Its first production was ‘Love Aaj Kal’ which had Saif in the lead. It was a major commercial and critical success. He then played the role of a terrorist in ‘Kurbaan,’ which did not do well commercially. However, Saif’s performance in the film was critically acclaimed.
‘Aarakshan,’ a controversial film which released in 2011, earned him critical acclaim. In the film, he played the role of a rebellious student. In 2012, he produced his film ‘Agent Vinod’ which did not perform well at the box office. His next production ‘Cocktail,’ which starred him in the lead, was a financial success.
After a few unsuccessful films between 2012 and 2015, and a year-long absence from acting in 2016, he decided to play a negative role in ‘Rangoon’ in 2017. Although the film was not received well, his performance was praised.
In 2017, his performance in ‘Chef’ received positive reviews. However, the film did not perform well at the box office.
The following year, he played ‘Sartaj Singh’ in the critically acclaimed thriller web series ‘Sacred Games’ on ‘Netflix.’ His portrayal of ‘Sartaj Singh,’ a troubled policeman, earned him rave reviews. After a successful first season, the series was renewed for a second season, which premiered in 2019.
Meanwhile, two of his films, ‘Kaalakaandi’ and ‘Baazaar,’ released in 2018. Both the films failed to impress the critics as well as the fans.
In 2019, he was cast to play ‘Gossain’ in the epic action drama film ‘Laal Kaptaan.’ Not only did the film fail at the box office, it failed to impress the critics as well. The following year, he played ‘Udaybhan Singh Rathore’ in a biographical period action film titled ‘Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior.’ The film went on to become a box office success, grossing more than ₹300 crore.
Awards & Achievements
In 1994, Saif Ali Khan earned the ‘Filmfare Award’ for ‘Best Male Debut’ for his performance in ‘Aashik Awara.’ He also received the ‘Filmfare Best Supporting Actor’ nomination for ‘Main Khiladi Tu Anari’ in 1995.
In 2000, ‘Kachche Dhaage’ earned him a ‘Filmfare Best Supporting Actor’ nomination. In 2002, ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ earned him the ‘Filmfare Award’ for ‘Best Performance in a Comic Role.’ He also received the ‘Star Screen,’ ‘Zee Cine,’ and ‘International Indian Academy’ awards for ‘Best Supporting Actor.’
In 2004, ‘Kal Ho Naa Ho’ earned him several awards, including the ‘Filmfare Award’ for ‘Best Supporting Actor.’ For ‘Hum Tum,’ he won the ‘Filmfare Award’ for ‘Best Performance in a Comic Role’ in 2005. He was also given the ‘National Film Award’ for ‘Best Actor.’
For his role in ‘Omkara,’ he won the ‘Filmfare,’ ‘Star Screen,’ ‘Zee Cine,’ and ‘IIFA’ awards for ‘Best Performance in a Negative Role’ in 2007.