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In 2 States, Saif will play Punjabi boy who marries his Tamilian girlfriend / Go back

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Saif Ali Khan is all set to play his first biographical character in Siddharth Anand's 2 States. The role of the Punjabi 'boy' Krish who will marry his Tamilian sweetheart Ananya but only with the consent of the two sets of parents is essentially the story of Bhagat's own courtship and marriage in real life.

Saif is expected to spend time with Chetan Bhagat to understand his character and get into Krish's mind. In real life too, Saif is all set to get into a cross-cultural marriage. 2 States is quite a learning curve for the Nawab.

Bhagat would like to exercise a more close vigil over the casting of the protagonists than he did in his novel's other movie adaptations like Hello (One Night At The Call Centre) and 3 Idiots (5 Point Someone). In both these cases Bhagat had no say. And he liked it that way.

But in 2 States, the personal element is extremely pronounced. For better or for worse Saif Ali Khan came to the storyboard from the outset as part of the project.

And Bhagat is okay with that. Says India's best-selling author, "It is not important for Krish to be played by a Punjabi or Ananya to be played by a Tamilian. I'm aware Saif is not a Punjabi. To me that serves the story's purpose even better. The whole idea of 2 States is to convey a pan-India appeal. The novel is about an inter-state union. What better way to show this than to have a non-Punjabi actor playing my Punjabi protagonist?"

However, if Saif thinks he can just walk into the role of the Punjabi guy and claim it to be his own, as he did in Imtiaz Ali's Love Aaj Kal, then he has another thought coming. Chetan Bhagat would like the Punjabi protagonist's projection in 2 States to be freed of stereotypes and external trappings.

Says Bhagat, "We're always shown Punjabis and Tamils in a culture-specific light. I wouldn't want my protagonists to be portrayed with regional eccentricities."

In brief, Saif has a lot of preparation to do this time. Unlike the Sardarji in Love Aaj Kal, the Punjabi boy in 2 States would have to be played as a product of a pan-Indian sensibility. This is not to say he can play it Saif. It would require a personality transformation far more subtle than Saif's Langda Tyagi in Omkara with very little physical prop.

Director Siddharth Anand who is the star's old friend is looking at a large stretch of preparation-time for his hero which Saif would be able to give only after he completes his home production Agent Vinod.

Chetan Bhagat admits 2 States is his most personal novel to date and the screen adaptation most precious to him. "Like Krish in my novel I fell in love with a Tamil girl and we decided to marry only with the parent's consent. In the film Ek Duuje Ke Liye when the Tamil boy decides to marry the Punjabi girl their parents slap and beat up their respective offsprings. Aaj ke din kaun bachche maar khayenge? So you could say 2 States is like Ek Duuje Ke Liye meeting Diwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge."

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