Saif Ali Khan compares Mumbai, London and LA, his three favourite cities in the world

Saif Ali Khan is a proud Mumbaikar, after all he grew up here and also belongs to Bollywood. When he is not working, he usually spends time at home or steps out for a meal at one of his favourite restaurants in Mumbai or plays a game of tennis at the Bandra Gym.

But Saif also loves two other cities besides Mumbai – London and Los Angeles.

Here’s what Saif Ali Khan has to say about working and living in his three favourite cities of the world — Mumbai, London and LA.

Why Saif Loves Mumbai

Mumbai is a city of great energy. It’s a nice cross between colonial and old and new structures, and if it wasn’t so crowded, it would be beautiful with its trees in the middle of the road.

And of course, it is the people who make it. I grew up in South Mumbai at Carmichael Road, went to Cathedral School with the Bombay Gym and Eros Cinema next door and loved it there.

I then lived in Lokhandwala, where I rented out an apartment from when I was about 20-30 years of age. There is a vibe to the gyms there and a struggle, and a really friendly side to Mumbai there among the people coming up.

I remember seeing notes at the Barbarian Gym, saying, ‘There is a role coming up being offered. They rejected me, why don’t you try?’ They are all helping each other.

I now live in Bandra, which I find quite hip and I don’t leave home very often. I have not had too much holiday time here, but when I do, I go and play tennis at Bandra Gym or go out to a nice place to have a drink or to one of my favourite restaurants.

Mumbai is a really cool city. It has a free vibe with people dressed in T-shirts and shorts. I hate shooting outdoor here due to the climate. It’s bad for your hair and skin and you have to work really hard to look good here. But Mumbai is my home, this is where I grew up.

Saif on London

Saif has a deeper connection with England. He has done his studies in the UK. His parents & grandparents would visit England quite often. Here’s what Saif has to say about London & England.

All the English people I know don’t live in London proper, they live outside. London for me is Mayfair and Mayfair is la la land, which most parts of the year is run by the Arabs. You can smell them on the street with their ittar and incredibly strong aftershave. But when it’s not, it’s quiet and empty and it’s like a period movie.

London, being the hub of the world as it is in the centre, is selling this massive idea that this is still the land of the monarchy and all that, but that’s a tourist idea, where they attract foreigners to come and drop lots of money in the central part, which I am happy to be a part of.

My grandfather used to stay at the Claridge’s, but since the 70s we had not gone back there as it was too expensive. Then I started doing well at the movies, but would have still not gone there, had it not been due to Kareena. I have gone back to it. It’s Kareena, who wanted to go there and now, it’s like home in London. She has romantic notions of English period glamour and she likes the idea of staying there.

When you walk in Mayfair, you can hear the echo of your feet and that silence we don’t have in India. Also, I went to school there, so I have a sense of connection.

London is also hip but sometimes it can get too much. I like the idea of working there, renting a flat there, going to the gym, looking healthy. You start looking good very fast there. Even though the weather is like a fridge — cold, dark and grey, I like it as I still find it preserving. I don’t mind that dark, rainy day, as you can wear something warm or sit by a fire or read a book.

Also, the English countryside is beautiful. The idea of having a country home or manor at Lord’s, shooting partridges or catching fish or having drinks for lunch in your country home and then zook you have nipped up to London on the freeway and you are bang in the centre of London. I also love the gothic architecture of the Oxford or Winchester.

England to me is peaceful and provincial.

Saif on Los Angeles (LA)?

Saif Ali Khan has spent much less time in Los Angeles, compared to Mumbai and London. Most of it was for the filming of his romantic comedy ‘Happy Ending’. Here’s what Saif feels about LA.

In LA, when you wake up in the morning in the top suite of the Beverly Hills hotel you seem infused with the waves of possibility.

You feel, ‘Oh my God, the best record producers, the whole rock ‘n’ roll industry is all around. You may not see too many people, but you can feel it that this is the home of rock ‘n’ roll. This is where Led Zeppelin lived, this is where Aerosmith, Guns N’ Roses and Motley Crue lived and worked, as they are all Californian bands.

And movies, it’s all here.

As a town, they are healthy. They have great restaurants. I saw an ad for a bank, which said that they had more payback options than there were things to do in California.

Full interview here.