Riddhi Doshi, riddhi.doshi@mediascope.co.in

It’s a breezy summer evening by the poolside of Mumbai’s 5-star hotel, overseeing the Arabian Sea. A large crowd of photographers, journalists and bloggers are eagerly waiting for the man of the moment. As the DJ pumps up the music and photographers steady their cameras, enters the very suave Saif Ali Khan. His hair is neatly pulled back, the fitting blue shirt and denim accentuate his sturdy frame and the black sunglasses adds a dash of glamour. Legs crossed, hands spread out, showing the Kareena tattoo in Devanagari, Saif looks stunning. He is a natural charmer, the one that awes you.

Saif Ali Khan at the launch of Marriott food truck
Saif Ali Khan at the launch of the Marriott food truck

For just a 15-minute launch event of Marriott’s food truck Marriott on Wheel, Saif managed to attract a large media crowd that couldn’t get enough of him. That’s the Nawab’s pull. Saif in his 26-year-old career has associated with Pepsi, Royal Stag, Oxemberg, Santoor soaps, Amul Macho, Airtel, Head & Shoulders, Limca, Asian Paints Royale and more recently Airbnb, Soneva and VIP luggage with his wife, Kareena Kapoor Khan. He has also had a long-standing relationship with Jaeger-LeCoultre, wearing its watches, winning its special awards and even associating with the Swiss watch brand to launch an exclusive collection of timepieces featuring the Pataudi family’s emblem in 2011.

The Sacred Games star also launched his ethnic wear brand House of Pataudi last November. Its products are being sold on Flipkart’s online fashion arm Myntra.

There, perhaps wouldn’t have been anyone better than Saif to get an insight into stars’ relationships with brands, why is it worth and how does it benefit the actor as well. We, of course, also quizzed him on his take on the style, luxury and the possibility of his entire family coming together to endorse one brand.

How does Bollywood influences lifestyle, fashion and luxury in India?

I think Bollywood has a significant impact on not just Indians but an entire section of people from across the world. The Moroccans, Arabs and people from many other cultures are known to be influenced by Bollywood. The Indian film industry has a massive cultural impact on so many aspects including the clothes people wear. Younger and older actors definitely influence people’s style and fashion sense.

How do celebrities benefit from brand associations?

Celebrities get to associate with all the energy of a particular brand. For instance, if one endorses a really cool pair of trainers, its qualities, for example, strength and stamina, are associated with the endorser. It’s like a symbiotic equation. Because you get associated with certain attributes of a brand, people say WOW! This guy is really cool! So, brand associations are mutually beneficial for the brand and the star’s image.

How do you decide which brands you want to work with?

That’s a tricky one. You must be true to yourself. The idea is not to be pretentious. It also depends on the kind of brands that find a natural connection with my personality and sensibility. I don’t decide to only associate with luxury brands. Brands also find a relationship with the characters I’ve played in my movies or my family background or my world view. Actually, if you see, there are a wide range of endorsements that I’ve been a part of from male grooming product to colas and fashion labels. I don’t necessarily only stick to a kind of brands.

Would there be a possibility to see you and your family – Kareena, Taimur and Sara – endorse one brand?

Well, it’s always nice that people have these sweet and inclusive ideas. However, actors tend to be individuals, and they also tend to charge money. So, I’d say, maybe why not.

How would you describe your brand House of Pataudi and how does it resonate with your personality?

The brand is an elegant mix between the old world and the new and fusion in the way of style inputs. There is something comfortable and unique about Indian ethnic; it’s simple and classic. A bit funky too, as there are some clever cuts and styles.

What was the idea behind launching House of Pataudi?

Fashion is something that I have been inherently interested in for a long time. The idea is to package and market a sensibility that is fading away. We live in a time when things around and our lifestyle is continually changing and evolving. In a rush, we often tend to ignore or forget the nuances. To put this in the context of fashion, we forget the smaller details like cufflinks, ties or pins, which adds to our elegance. Indian dressing is very different from Western, but there are ways to team accessories and create a fusion look. We can wear cufflinks and western shoes with Achkans, Bandhgalas and kurtas. Why not? House of Pataudi provides the world with an insider’s mindset, sensibility and culture, adapted to suit the tastes of modern times. I am very proud of the Pataudi heritage and have for long thinking of ways to build a tangible legacy around it in an accessible way.

Who is your favourite designer?

I have many favourite designers as they all have different sensibilities. However, when it comes to Indian wear, I prefer Raghavendra Rathore. I like how he introduces elements from Rajasthani heritage and culture to create something wearable and modern and makes the wearer look stylish and elegant. Even a culture-specific style can become international. I also like Rajesh Pratap Sing and Yves Saint Laurent’s creations.

Which is your favourite cuisine?

I think it’s Indian.

Which is your favourite holiday destination?

I usually holiday in London, the Maldives and Rajasthan. However, If I had to choose, I would pick London.

How would you describe your style sense?

Eclectic

What is your fitness regime?

I like doing weights and yoga and try to follow a disciplined diet and get enough sleep. These together make for a holistic approach, which also benefits your skin.  It’s also essential to think nice things.

Which is your favourite book?

There are so many. However, if I have to choose one, I’ll go with The Island of the Day Before by Umberto Eco. It’s nice because it got a fairy tale angle to it and it’s mystical and poetic and has a nice writing style. It’s set in the 17th century, and it’s got history and ships and it’s just very descriptive.

What kind of music do you like?

I like Rock and jazz, something with an energetic, upbeat type of a guitar riff. So, guitar-based Rock and Roll is my favourite kind. However, it changes with my mood. I also like Frédéric Chopin’s music.

 

 

 

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