Reviewers tried their best to label her as a non-actor. But sheer determination and confidence have catapulted her to where she is today – among the top three actors in our industry with a string of consecutive hits to boot. Riding high on the success of Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and pre-release positive reports of Mere Brother Ki Dulhan, Katrina Kaif is definitely in demand. In a free-wheeling interview, Kaif shares her plans with Jigar Shah
Have you become the blue-eyed girl of Yash Raj – one release, one film about to release, and two to go on the floors soon?
The last time, I acted in a Yash Raj film was New York, which released in 2009. Director Ali Abbas Zafar, director of Mere Brother Ki Dulhan (MBKD), came to me with the script and it was to be produced by Yash Raj. I liked the script and I decided to take it up.
If you’re talking about Ek Tha Tiger, directed by Kabir Khan, I worked with him in New York and he spoke to me about this film at the end of the New York shoot.
It is a pure co-incidence and not a conscious decision to take up every project coming my way, with Yash Raj producing these films. A few years ago, I did two films with Vipul Shah in a single year – Namastey London and Singh Is Kingg. It’s all about an actor liking a script and deciding to be part of it.
You’re doing one more film with Yash Raj, directed by Yash Chopra and with Shah Rukh Khan in the lead.
(Pauses) You know, I’m terrified at the thought of working with SRK. I have watched him at an event and I was dumbfounded by his energy. The shooting of our film is yet to begin and I wonder how I will manage to act with him.
Do you go through scripts thoroughly or is the Yash Raj tag enough for you to give the green signal?
What rubbish! I ponder and go through every script. I need to know what the film is all about and whether I will be able to do justice to what I am offered.
The buzz is that when you’re in town and not shooting, you’re either at Excel Entertainment or Yash Raj Films. It is also said that you were learning the ropes of production from Aditya Chopra and Farhan Akhtar.
Adi and Farhan are both friends and there is no harm meeting them once in a while. Farhan and I got pretty close during Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (ZNMD). As for Adi… you develop a rapport and become friends when you work together.
How important is for an actor to have a good rapport with their directors?
It is a natural progression. You work with a director on a film and you enjoy working with him. Next, if there is a role that he thinks suit you, he will make you an offer. Like Kabir was very clear that he wanted me in Ek Tha Tiger.
ZNMD has been well received?
I really enjoyed working on ZNMD. I thoroughly enjoyed riding a bike in the film. Many people have asked me whether I actually rode the bike. I was, like, “There are so many girls who know how to ride a bike!” But I’m glad the film is doing really well and it is always an honour to be part of a successful film.
Speaking of being part of a film… You had signed a three-film contract with UTV.
The contract with UTV is still on and we are looking at projects that we can do together.
You had harboured plans to start you own production house and even bought the rights of a French film.
The rights have been bought by someone else. If I want to do that film, I will have to do it with them.
What kind of producers do you enjoy working with – independent or corporate?
How does it matter? I’ve had very good experiences with both types. For instance, I did Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya and Partner with Sohail (Khan). And I’ve also worked with Vipul Shah and with corporates like UTV. What’s most important is that the people behind the product do full justice to it. I work with anyone who has a good script and has the ability to complete the film and release it. I don’t want to get stuck in a stuck film.
Your next release, (MBKD), is very similar to Sorry Bhai, which released a few years ago.
I’m sorry, I haven’t watched that film so I cannot comment on it. But I have heared the story and I can assure you, MBKD is completely different. (Smiles)
A fresh pairing plays a very vital role in the success of a rom-com. This time, you share the screen with Imran Khan and Ali Zafar for the first time.
Yes, it was the first time we have worked together, and we broke the ice with the first scene itself, and became friends. My first scene with Ali was the Sholay scene, where I call Imran ‘Basanti’ and I was wearing this short dress and standing on the bonnet of a jeep, with Ali sitting at the driver’s seat and Imran on the back seat. The shot was okayed in one take. Once the shot concluded, Imran said, “You’re quite mad, aren’t you?”
As for Ali, he’s a musician, so he always played the guitar for us since we were shooting in a place where there was no TV and it wasn’t easy to pass the time.
Was this the first project offered to you with Imran Khan?
Imran and I have been offered a lot of films together earlier but they didn’t work out. This time, everything fell in place. Also, when you do a fresh pairing, there is a lot of novelty that the pair brings to the table. The audience is eager to know what the pair is going to do.
Do you think the Dhunki song in MBKD will replace the ‘Sheila’ tag you earned?
If Dhunki becomes even half of what Sheila had become, I would be really happy. It is not an easy song, the lyrics are quite difficult.
It is said you are doing Ayan Mukerji’s next film, which toplines Ranbir Kapoor?
I’m not someone who talks about films I’m not doing because it could become an issue. People say, “This film was rejected by her and now she’s doing it.” But with Ayan’s film, it was kind of confirmed, so the question is unavoidable. Yes, we were trying to work out our dates but they did not match. So I had to step back as Ranbir was working on only one film at a time.
About future projects… You’re working with Salman Khan (Ek Tha Tiger) and will start working with Shah Rukh Khan (untitled film being directed by Yash Chopra). Is there a chance of you working with the third Khan, Aamir, in future?
Who doesn’t want to work with the three Khans? They are the pillars of the industry. If anything does come up with Aamir, why not. (Smiles)?