Saif recalls, “Yeh Dillagi will always mean the world to me. It was the first time I was paired with Kajol as a lead, which was important to me because the first time someone wanted to cast us together was in Rahul Rawail’s Bekhudi, but it did not materialise into a film.”
Saif remembers the shooting of Yeh Dillagi like it was yesterday. “I remember the shoot so clearly! Simla was lovely, cold and covered in snow. We had a huge laugh shooting the film. Akshay Kumar and I became good buddies and we used to get up to all sort of extra-curricular activities.”
Saif also recalls Akshay Kumar’s spotboy during the shooting. “Akshay’s spotboy used to sing the songs from Khiladi in a loud voice at the crack of dawn and wake me up.”
Dilip Sen-Sameer Sen’s songs like Hothon pe bass tera naam hai and Ole ole are recalled with much affection.
Avers Saif, “The film had lovely music… and Ole ole was the highlight. We all loved the song the moment we heard it. We heard it twenty-five times in a row! Saroj Khan ji had her best assistants working on that song and Ahmed Khan, who is now a senior choreographer and director, worked with me, teaching me the moves.”
Saif even pitched in sartorially for the song. “We rehearsed quite a bit and I wore my own new Armani jacket. The banner was Aditya Films, a subsidiary of Yash Raj Films, created to work with new directors and to expand Yash Raj Films into a studio. All these things were new and visionary.”
Saif is all praise for his co-stars in Yel Dillagi. “Akshay was fabulous as the protective and principled older brother, Kajol was great as the effervescent and innocent girl. I had a blast playing the Casanova Vicky, who I thought was a really funny and naughty guy! After Akshay and Kajol finally end up together I found a stranded Karisma Kapoor with a huge hairstyle to zip into the sunset with, unreformed and unapologetic.”
Saif looks back at Yeh Dillagi with love and gratitude “We had a lovely time. Thank you to Yash Raj Films and Aditya Chopra for my first hit film and to dear Naresh Malhotra who directed me with so much care.”