When AASHIQUE AWARAA was released in 1994, most of the viewers and critics etc., all had commented that Saif Ali Khan would not be able to survive for long, what with his long hairs, and a squeaky voice laced with heavy English touch, and a physique about there was not much to talk about. But today on his thirty eighth birthday he can have the last laugh as he has made the critics eat crow and now there is a mad scramble to sign him on.
Even in AASHIQUE AWARAA he had panache but it was hidden in the rawness of his Oxford bred approach to the role. It was with Yash Raj films PARAMPARA where he was pitted against Aamir Khan that he made the critics sit up and take notice about his abilities. He with his acting abilities has been able to fill the slot that had been vacated by Shashi Kapoor, a hero having a gay-abandon approach to acting, and having a rare ability to dance with accomplishment. It was evident in YEH DILLAGI, KACHCHE DHAAGE etc. In KACHCHE DHAAGE he went in for a change in his image of being a serious actor and this is what started the tide turning in his favour, along with YEH DILLAGI.
Fortuitously lining his fortunes with Yash Raj films right from PARAMPARA days to YEH DILLAGI, to HUM TUM, SALAAM NAMASTE and TARA RUM PUM PUM he has created a slot for himself which nobody else has been able to emulate. Though there might be no two differences of opinions that he is master of portraying characters that are urban in nature, as he has done even in DIL CHAHTA HAI, SALLAM NAMASTE and HUM TUM, the way he totally deconstructed himself for the role in OMKARA is a testimony to the passage that Saif has traveled in his acting career. There would be very few actors who would go without brushing their teeth and dumping the oral hygiene to dustbins to play a role, as Saif did for playing the role of Langda Tyagi and it fetched him awards by dozen. His flair for comedy that he displayed in MAIN KHILADI TU ANAARI also added luster to his oeuvre.
He was the first actor who was portraying the characters like Chef, a cartoonist or a racing sports driver, the urban metaphors which made him identify with the public in a big way. Among his other firsts was also to bring out the toilet reading habits on to the screen, which though a norm was never enacted before he did it in SALAAM NAMASTE.
He is also one of the accomplished stars who can play guitar with perfection and this is what is being capitalized on in the advertisement endorsements that he has pocketed for himself. It is his ability to gel into the character that he has attained the importance of a potato in a vegetable. This was clearly evident in PARINEETA, DIL CHAHTA HAI, and KAL HO NA HO etc. Now at the prime of is acting ability he would continue to surprise with his performances as he showed with OMKAARA where he wiped out all the traces of any accent in his voice, inspite the fact that he reads the Hindi dialogues in English.