After a month-long stay in Pataudi, Saif Ali Khan has finally returned to Mumbai. It’s the longest time he has spent in his ancestral home in years.
“I wish I could have stayed longer. It’s so beautiful there; almost too good to be true. But you have to get back to reality, and rejoin the living,” he told Mumbai Mirror.
For a while, he did not have ownership of his ancestral property. But he had been planning to buy it back from Neemrana Group of Hotels for a long time.
The property was leased to the hotel chain for a large sum of Rs 800 crore by Saif’s father, Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi. However, Saif maintains that the sum is a “massive exaggeration.” For him, it is impossible to put a monetary price to the property because it is priceless emotionally.
“My grandparents and father are buried there, there's security, serenity and a spiritual connection there for me,” he added. He communicated the story of the property- how the land is centuries old but the palace, which was built by his grandfather for his grandmother, is about 100 years old. The family was a monarch there but since then, these titles have been abolished.
This might be one of the reasons why his father leased out the property to Francis Wacziarg and Aman Nath, who ran the hotel. according to Saif, they “are like family.” Sharmila Tagore, Saif’s mother, has a cottage on the same property where she feels comfortable.
Originally, the lease was an agreeable situation for all parties involved. However, since 2011, following his father’s death, Saif has wanted it back in the family as he is very attached to the place.
He had the chance this year as the property was leased for a period of 17 years. He paid up whatever was owed and took ownership of his home again.
“It was a fair financial arrangement and contrary to reports, I did not have to buy it back because I already owned it,” he said. While he will still rent out the garden area for shoots and weddings (so the property can be sustained) but he doesn’t want any strangers walking through his corridors again.
During the month-long stay there, the family simply enjoyed nature and relaxed. He particularly enjoyed spending time with his son and feeding biscuits to the squirrels.