Saif crowned as 'nawab'

MUMBAI: Bollywood actor Saif Ali Khan was made the new Nawab (Muslim prince) of Pataudi on Monday in a private ceremony at his ancestral home in northern India.

Khan became the 10th nawab of the former princely state after the death of his 70-year-old father, Mansur Ali Khan, in September.

The elder Khan, nicknamed "Tiger Pataudi" for his brilliant fielding, captained India at cricket while his father, Ifthikar Ali Khan, played for both India and England.

Saif Ali Khan, 41, is one of Hindi-language cinema's biggest stars and was recently seen in the thriller "Aarakshan" (Reservation) alongside Amitabh Bachchan.

Monday's ceremony was held at the family seat of Pataudi Palace in Haryana state and attended by relatives and local villagers, said Rohini Iyer, Khan's spokeswoman in Mumbai.

Village chiefs tied a turban around his head at a ceremony watched by his mother, former actress Sharmila Tagore and his two sisters, television footage showed.

Pataudi was a princely state in pre-independence India while the nawabs, who can trace their lineage back centuries, were its aristocratic rulers.

Like the heads of other erstwhile Indian princely states that were taken over after the British left in 1947, the title is now ceremonial with no formal powers. (AFP)

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