September 2016

Saif Ali

After having worked as a graphics engineer in the Silicon Valley for a decade, Saif returned to India to pursue his passion—acting.

He gave us a rare insider's tour of the infamous Chandni Chowk. We watched him pay close attention to people, their mannerisms and his magical ability to transform his personality and blend in.

Saif at Chandni Chowk.
Chatting with an elderly gentleman.

“I had vivid daydreams of being on stage when I was a child. The only thing I knew back then was that I had a gift for impersonation.”

Saif fixing his hair.
Saif profile.

“In school, I was notorious for fixing my hair every chance I got. My friends laughed at me relentlessly about this.”

Outside a local eatery.
Talking to people at the eatery.

“When I first started in the theatre, the most urgent need I had was to be listened to. I needed to be heard. Gradually though, this need has given way to a need to connect.”

Speaking with the owner.
Saif spots a vegetable vendor.
Talking to a vegetable vendor.
Taking a break.

“You can never succeed as a performer unless you deeply love the audience. The job of the actor is to honour the people that have come to watch, to include them, affect them—not to use them as captive listeners.”

Saif ended up with some new friends.