"Kareena has not converted to Islam, but she is the Begum of Pataudi," says mother-in-law Sharmila Tagore
Why did Saif and Kareena not attend the Marrakech film festival that you were a part of?
Saif is shooting with Tigmanshu Dhulia in Lucknow for Bullet Raja. They are trying to finish it in one go and then take a break. I am glad, because coming for the Moroccan fest could've been a distraction. You come here, drink and party... the film that Saif is doing is very intense. It is set in a rural background and he has worked on the accent. Also, Kareena's film Talaash has just released.
How is Kareena, the daughter-in-law?
Nothing has changed. She is the same person and I like her a lot. She is very calm. I saw her during Tiger's illness in the hospital. It was very easy to be with her. She is gentle and quiet and not intrusive. I get along very well with Babita and Karisma also. Karisma is a lovely person. I shared the platform with her at a recent event. She speaks so well. She is actually coming into her own. I saw Dangerous Ishhq; she is a good actress, but the film was awful. English Vinglish is a good film; films don't run because you are a star. If films could run because of performances, everybody's films would do well. It is the director who makes the film.Has Kareena converted to Islam?
She hasn't converted, but she is now the Begum of Pataudi. He is the Nawab, so Kareena is the Begum. Saif is not comfortable with it. But I say why shouldn't one take traditions seriously. He says people may mock at him saying, 'kahaan ki riyasat' and all that. I understand that, but when you go to Pataudi, there are people who follow it. You are who you are, why should you deny your past? Maybe he feels that his father was so well known as the Nawab of Pataudi and filling in his shoes will be difficult. But slowly, he will get used to it.
What is the status of the letter you wrote to The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on the Pataudi trophy?
I never got any reply, but the letter was leaked to the press. They also made a statement that when India and England play in the UK, it will be called Pataudi trophy and in India, it would be the Vincent D'Mello trophy.
Are you okay with that?
It is their prerogative. Marylebone Cricket Club had instituted a trophy in 2007 to commemorate 75 years of India and England playing together. Since Tiger's father played for England and India, the England and Wales Cricket Board also recognised it and invited Tiger. He went despite his ill-health to give the trophy, but I don't know what happened behind the scene — it was not announced. In November, I wrote to the BCCI, requesting them to make it official. Mr (N) Srinivasan, the BCCI president, wrote back saying he had told the people concerned to take it forward. When it became clear that the match was going to take place and nothing had happened, I wrote a letter to them, but there was no reply. You cannot force anybody to honour somebody. You can only ask.
You must miss him a great deal...
It is difficult to talk about him. I am not ready and feel unable to explain. Life has changed; he is not there, but his presence is very much with us. I am calmer and have an enhanced confidence; may be because he is not there. Otherwise, I would've argued with him. Now, I see the wisdom of what he used to say and I am following that; my life is simpler. Tiger has been my mentor in a way, especially regarding behaviour. I didn't care about time, but he brought punctuality into my life. Earlier, I would say 'I don't want you, professor', when he said something about some action of mine. He was also my spellcheck. When he was in the hospital, I would sit with him and take down each and every detail for the invites — of Saif's wedding — to be sent out. Now, I have to take the help of a dictionary. Correctness was important to him.Source - times of india.