Katrina Kaif: Forget cool, I’m hyper!

Katrina Kaif

Katrina Kaif takes a gander at her Bollywood career, her roles and her image

Twelve years is a lifetime in Bollywood. More so, for an actress. When you’ve been at the top of your game for most of that time, you mature as a person and in your art, you accept certain truths and get adept at adapting to changing times. Always considered something of an outsider in spite of her best efforts, Katrina Kaif has battled the odds, language constraints and more to have an envious resume. Here, she looks back at her career in acting, comments on the changes (or the lack of it) in her personal and professional life, her upcoming and past roles and the foreseeable future…

You’ve been acting for 12 years now. What has changed?
(Laughs). Have I? Okay, I will take your word for it. A lot of changes… I have become more experienced, knowledgeable, acquired the tools to accomplish what you wish to accomplish… Acting is something where you constantly keep learning, evolving and bettering yourself. Earlier, my interests and involvement were far more superficial. My hard work, focus, desire and ambitions were always there but the real passion for acting or creating a character, probably a bit more creative involvement… that definitely came much later. And rightly so, because I didn’t come in with formal training. You start understanding things, opening up more, get more conscious… It happened to me in many peaks, throughout my films, like I got good feedback for Namastey London. Maybe, I am more open to diverse characters or to trying different things now. Earlier, I was quite clear that I wanted to do only this kind of a film or role, I knew what I wanted and that was coming to me, which was good.

What hasn’t changed?
My hyperness… People see me as this cool and calm person, but I am hyper! My obsession for knowing what’s going for scenes, rehearsing, making things look aesthetically proper, for getting involved in every aspect of acting…. We all definitely strive for perfection. Especially in areas that I understand very well like dance, songs, costumes and glamour — I am very particular about that.

How do you react to criticism that you play it safe and don’t do author-backed roles?
True. The weakness or the fault lies with me and my choices. The roles I did were my choices. This is where my heart was. I did those roles because I wanted to be a part of all those films — Ek Tha Tiger, Jab Tak Hai Jaan or a Dhoom3. Yes, smaller, heroine-centric, offbeat films and characters were coming to me at that time but I didn’t feel like doing them. Maybe that was a lack of foresight on my part. Do I look at it more seriously now? Yes. But not out of a desperation to sign anything. I will do a film that I am passionate about. If I see a film with an author-backed role but it doesn’t excite me, then I am not going to do it. I am open to doing films of any size, budget or language but my heart has to be in it. If someone tomorrow comes to me with a role where I would have to shave my hair or cut it very short, or the character has a tragic life but still is interesting and fun, I would probably jump at it. Only because the story and role has elements of something I find beautiful. For example, like Fitoor.

You liked it?
I loved my character! It is very complex, conflicted and not easy to understand. In fact, nobody who has seen the English film has been able to understand it, which has also sometimes been one of the weaknesses of the film. But I think Gattu (director Abhishek Kapoor) took care of those weaknesses and just made it beautiful. It’s one of the best characters that I have ever played. Apart from having someone like Abhishek, who is a critically-acclaimed director, the moment I heard that it’s adapted from Great Expectations, I was in love with it! I was so happy shooting for the film! There are some films you feel glad about when are complete, but Fitoor is one film I would happily re-shoot for. Everything about the character, Gattu’s direction and the way he sees cinema was so exciting and fulfilling!

Do you feel good roles don’t come to you because of your pretty Barbie doll image?
I disagree. I feel I have done film with great roles. Yes, I have played the glamour girl in some films but they were fun to do. I have done good roles too like Namastey London, Raajneeti, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and Mere Brother Ki Dulhan. I have had the time of my life while doing MBKD. Ali (Abbas Zafar) and I went mad improvising through the shoot! Jab Tak Hai Jaan and New York were such great roles! Dhoom:3 may not have been an emotional role but had lots of dancing. Let’s not forget that in India our culture has so many wonderful dance forms, dancing is extremely popular and the whole country watches dance shows. We love dancing, it’s in our culture so let’s not belittle that.

Where do you see yourself five years from now?
I wish I could see myself five years from now. Hopefully, with the person I love and still doing good work. I would love to continue working or else I will go mad! You don’t need to stop working after marriage anymore in Bollywood. At least till your child is born. I can’t sit at home doing nothing so work to me is more important to me than anybody can imagine. Look at so many successful actresses working after marriage… Kajol, Vidya, Kareena… You just need to be on the top of your game. That’s all.

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