Katrina Kaif in Ek Tha Tiger
She’s one of Bollywood’s most private celebrities. Ask her a question and her answer will be to the point, just short of brusque. And yet, by the end of the chat she’ll shine through as someone who remains grounded and real. As she awaits the release of Ek Tha Tiger that hits screens on I-Day, t2 caught up with Katrina Kaif.
The feedback to the promos of Ek Tha Tiger has been huge!
The response has been great. It’s been really amazing… much, much more than what we all had hoped and that’s a huge encouragement. In all his films… in Ek Tha Tiger and New York before this, Kabir (Khan, the director) has always been sure that he wanted to make his promos representative of the film. When people walk in for his films, they know what they are coming in for. There is very little scope for disappointment.
But you were missing from the initial teaser…
That was part of the plan and extremely integral to the promotions. I think that teaser is the one that drew so much attention to the film... it did the trick. Just that one teaser of Salman (Khan) in about 30 seconds screamed out how different a film Ek Tha Tiger is. Every film needs to be different and just making formula films isn’t the key. You can’t afford to bore your audience.
Kabir Khan told t2 last week that he had written Zoya keeping you in mind. How much do you identify with Zoya?
The mannerisms are quite similar… especially in the first half of the film. The way Zoya thinks in certain situations is also how my mind works. That’s what a good director tries to do… create traits in the character that make it identifiable for the actor in question. Zoya has been a fun and also a very fulfilling character to play… someone who is very sure of who she is… there is an inherent calmness about her that is very attractive.
Is it flattering that characters are now being written just for you or is that too much pressure?
For me, it’s the same. It’s nice if a character is written for me of course, but I don’t really treat my roles differently. Whatever film you do, there will always be pressure and everyone will expect you to deliver. I will always try my best and leave the rest to destiny.
What is it about Ek Tha Tiger that hooked you?
Kabir narrated Tiger to me after New York had released and I thought it was such a wonderful script. With New York, the film he had written on paper came out even better because of his vision and execution. It was primarily my belief in Kabir as a filmmaker that brought me on board.
What was it like shooting for the film?
It was a lot of fun actually because I am extremely familiar with the crew…. I shot New York with them and also another film last year (Mere Brother Ki Dulhan). It’s nice to know the people you are working with on a personal level because then you have friends to hang out with after pack-up. The countries we got to go to were really out of the ordinary. There was Cuba and Istanbul and Ireland... and near the border of Iraq. To get a chance to go to these places was something I really loved.
How was it sharing screen space with Salman?
Salman’s been the same guy since I first knew him so many years ago. Always a lot of fun and spontaneous. We would discuss our scenes and constantly improvise on set. He would always have a lot of suggestions regarding how we could do a scene and I think that really helped the film because it’s always important for actors to be involved with their projects. Salman is a huge superstar now, but he hasn’t changed at all. It is people around him and their attitude towards him that has changed.
Does the fact that it is Salman’s annual Id release make you doubly nervous?
Yes it does because it is hugely hyped and extremely keenly awaited. But that’s okay… every film has its destiny and we can only hope for the best. Ek Tha Tiger is an incredible film… we are all very happy with it and we are hopeful that it will do extremely well.
|With Shah Rukh Khan in Yash Chopra’s untitled romance
You are now known as the ‘box-office queen’. What does that mean to you?
I really don’t bother about these adages, to be honest. I treat every film as an individual product and focus on it completely. I have been fortunate to have made some good choices, most of which have clicked at the box office and have been appreciated as well. The success of every film of course gives me a lot of confidence and tells me that the choices I am making are right… that the path I have taken is correct.
Ten years in the business, how are you choosing your films now?
(Pause) In the same way I have chosen all my films, completely on the basis of instinct. You either like a film or you don’t like it. For me, it’s always a very basic feeling. I look at a script and I know instantly whether I want to do it or not do it.
You have Ek Tha Tiger with Salman, Yash Chopra’s next film with Shah Rukh Khan and you start shooting for Dhoom:3 with Aamir Khan soon. Isn’t this the ideal space to be in for any Bolly actress?
I think anyone would love to be doing that… it is really a good space to be in. But I feel that the films and my role in them also have to be great to justify why I am in them. For me, the co-star doesn’t always count. They are all amazing actors and great co-stars, but for me, a film has to have a lot more for me to be a part of it. Fortunately, all of these films — Ek Tha Tiger, Yashji’s film and then Dhoom:3 — have a lot for me to do.