Saif Ali Khan is perhaps the only actor with a palace to his name. Saif had to earn back the Pataudi Palace after it was rented to a hotel chain. The actor refurbished the palace after the death of his father, cricketer Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi.
The estate is also known as Ibrahim Kothi and is situated in the town of Pataudi in Haryana’s Gurgaon district. The palace is known for its royal and opulent interiors. There are large, long hallways and tall arches for that added look of luxury. Painting and artwork adorns all walls and a luxe green garden surround the palace.
It is spread across 10 acres and has 150 rooms, including seven dressing rooms, seven bedrooms, seven billiard rooms, as well as palatial drawing rooms and dining rooms. The property is valued at a whopping Rs 800 crores.
Built in the style of Imperial Delhi’s colonial mansions, Pataudi Palace was designed by Robert Tor Russell in the early 1900’s. Robert was assisted by Austrian architect Karl Molt von Heinz. However, Saif upon repossessing the palace wanted it to have a sense of comfort and understated style rather than excessive luxury, so he got the family home refurbished by interior designer Darshini Shah.
Movies including Julia Roberts-starrer Eat Pray Love, Mangal Pandey, Veer Zara, Gandhi: My father and Mere Brother ki Dulhan were also shot at the palace.
Talking on how he paid a lot of money to earn back the Pataudi Palace, Saif told Mid-Day in an interview, “People have a certain fixed notion. For that matter, even [with] Pataudi [palace], when my father died, it got rented to Neemrana Hotels. Aman [Nath] and Francis [Wacziarg] used to run [the hotel]. Francis passed away. He’d said that if I wanted (the palace) back, I could let him know. I said: ‘I want it back’. They held a conference, and said, ‘okay, you have to give us lots of money!’ Which I then consequently earned.”
He added, “So, even the house I’m supposed to have inherited has been earned back through money from films. You can’t live off the past. At least we can’t in our family, because there was nothing. There is history, culture, beautiful photographs; and, of course, some land. It has been a privileged upbringing. But there’s been no inheritance.”
Now Saif and his actor wife Kareena Kapoor and their son Taimur vist the palace every year and meet Saif’s mother, veteran actor Sharmila Tagore. The family celebrated Taimur’s birthday in the palace gardens once and the pictures went viral.