Saif Ali Khan recently flew back to Mumbai from Pataudi in Haryana after a month-long stay there. He has decided to take some time off and spend it with his family including his mother, actor Sharmila Tagore at their ancestral home. He had been enjoying the idyllic life back there, enjoying the quietude of the place and watching his three-year-old, Taimur Ali Khan, feeding squirrels.
In the recent past, rumours have been doing the rounds that the actor has bought back his ancestral palace from Neemrana Group of Hotels and that, his late father, cricketer Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi had given the property to the hotel group on lease for Rs 800 crore. Quashing the conjecture, Saif calls it “a massive exaggeration” and “a miscommunication”. He says, “It’s impossible to put a value to it in monetary terms because emotionally, the property is priceless. Contrary to reports, I did not have to buy it back because I already owned it.”
He holds the Patauti Palace very close to his heart and is spiritually connected to it. Saif elaborates, “My grandparents and father are buried there, there’s security, serenity and a spiritual connection there for me. The land goes back by a few centuries, but the palace that my grandfather built for my grandmother is around a hundred years old. He was the ruling monarch then, but since then, privy purses and titles have been abolished. These are different times, which is why my father leased it out and Francis (Wacziarg) and Aman (Nath), who ran a hotel in the palace, took good care of the property and were like family. My mother has a cottage there and she was always comfortable.”
After his father’s demise in 2011, Saif wanted to have the palace back in the family. In his signature candour, he says, “So, when I was offered the chance, I wrapped up the lease that was left, paid up and took possession of our home again. It was a fair financial arrangement. In my teenage years, I was the black sheep, so, it feels nice now to do this for the family and our heritage.”
On the work front, Saif will be soon be jetting off to Dharamshala where he will begin the first schedule of Bhoot Police. He wrapped up the shoot of Bunty Aur Babli 2 last month, has Adipurush lined up for a 2022 release where he will be seen playing a menacing villain and will be essaying an interesting character in Ali Abbas Zafar’s web show.