Success does not lie in delivering hits only, but in winning friends and keeping them
Our film industry is nothing but one big family. Whether we meet each other regularly or not, relationships last. That’s the charm of our Indian film industry. Not many people here understand the importance of maintaining a healthy relationship with everyone and that’s where they go wrong.
I recall the moment I met Aamir Khan on the sets of Andaz Apna Apna. He was shooting at Nair bungalow with my sister Karisma. I told him, I was going to become a very big star, a very big heroine, and that I would work with him some day. Just wait and watch. Aamir was taken aback that Karisma’s younger sister was talking like this. I have been keen to work with Aamir since then. And it’s been the same with all the other actors and producers I have worked with. Since then, I’ve met Aamir at regular intervals but didn’t work with him till 3 Idiots happened.
So many of Karisma’s producers, whether Sunil Darshan or Pahlaj-ji (Nihalani), have been my producers as well. I believe in maintaining good relations, which is very important in our industry. But there are a lot of newcomers who don’t realise this and don’t know how to behave. It is important to be humble and it takes you far.
Sooraj Barjatya was among the few filmmakers I have always wanted to work with and I made it a point to tell him that. I wanted to work with him ever since I watched Maine Pyar Kiya at Satyam cinema in Worli. Now whether a film does well or not is not in our hands.
If a film fails, that doesn’t mean I will ignore the person who made it. To date, Sooraj-ji messages me after every film. He messaged me after Bodyguard to compliment me on my look in the film. Whenever he likes me in a movie, he makes it a point to message me. And I always reply. I think it’s wrong to ignore someone simply because a film I did with them didn’t do well.
In fact, I am very friendly with people with whom I have not delivered hits. I had not delivered a hit with Salman before Bodyguard but my relationship with him and his relationship with Karisma helped us work together in the right atmosphere. Salman too didn’t feel that he should not work with me because I hadn’t delivered a hit. We worked together and today we are happy our pairing has worked. I mean, even with Ajay Devgn... Ajay and Karisma did so many films together. I used to visit the sets of their film Shaktiman. To romance them now is insane for me!
I was also there when Atul Agnihotri and Karisma were shooting for the song Dil dil from Aatish. That was Atul’s first song. I was there for that shoot and now I was there with him for his first film. We may not meet frequently but the connect with Atul is always there.
I mean, there is that karmic connection with people. I am friendly with every big actor and I have maintained my friendship with them for so many years. I have known each of them since they worked with Karisma.
The best thing about the superstars, whether Shah, Salman, Aamir or Ajay, is that they have not changed over time. They have never once said, “Oh, I am doing a Rs 100 crore film,” so thoda attitude aa gaya. Never! And that’s why they are superstars.
There was a time when an actor would promote only their movies but, today, actors are promoting other actors. Imran Khan said such nice things about Salman, and Salman says such nice things to say about Imran in all his interviews. Now, actors are comfortable since all the top guys are all delivering Rs 100-crore grosser. There is more time to maintain relationships and to have a good time rather than be bothered about the competition.
Everyone addresses me as ‘Bebo’. No one in the industry calls me ‘Kareena’ because they treat me like their own. It’s not that they’ve known me since I was a kid. It’s mainly because I give off the vibe that I have no airs and no attitude. I give off that vibe to everyone, from spotboys to all the big directors. I talk to everyone.
And no one should expect to be treated differently just because they are a star. Like it used to happen in the ‘60s, when a heroine would come out in her gown and sit down and everyone would surround her. Today, relationships have changed. Everyone is a lot friendlier.
The mantra for success in our film Industry is not just delivering consecutive hits. If you’re in it for the long haul, maintain a good rapport with everyone.