Destiny's Child

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  • Published 17.11.08

When Subhash Ghai signed Katrina Kaif as the leading lady of Yuvvraaj opposite Salman Khan, everyone said that boyfriend Sallu had got Katrina the role in the film. Today, when the promos have more of Katrina than Salman, it proves that Miss Kaif is hit and hot. Namastey London, Apne, Partner, Welcome, Race, Singh Is Kinng... Katrina’s honeymoon with the box office shows no sign of ending. t2 caught up with the actress and spoke to her about her power, position and more.

A Subhash Ghai film means many things to many people. What does it mean to you?

I like the way you phrase that question. For me it clearly stands for a certain thing. I have come to this industry as a definite outsider. I had no ties or relatives here. There are a few directors who are part of Hindi cinema legend and Subhash Ghai is definitely one of the legendary film-makers. He is someone whose cinema I have admired. It is so larger than life for me. So when I was offered the film, it really didn’t matter what I was doing in it. I think every actress wants a chance to work with Subhash Ghai. At least once. It’s something I sure wanted to do.

When you actually shot for Yuvvraaj, did the Subhash Ghai experience live up to your expectations?

I would say that shooting for the film was a unique experience. It’s been three years now that I have been working in this industry. I have obviously had a chance to work with different directors. With Subhashji, what I found was that he was very clear about what he wanted. He had the entire film visualised in his mind. He doesn’t necessarily give you a bound script with dialogues. But what he does is tell you how he has imagined not only every scene, but every shot. From the performance to the expressions to the colour palette. His visual sense is very strong. He obviously wants to show off his visuals.

You play the cello in the film. Did you have to learn the instrument? What kind of homework did you do?

Subhashji was very keen that I practise the cello for a few weeks before the shoot began, with a cello teacher. That was, of course, a great exercise. I got to know about the positioning and body language. But I think for me the more important tips came when we were actually performing with the orchestra in the movie. It is actually a real orchestra from Vienna. Because they are real players who play in concerts every single day, they could really help me perfect the motion, the whole timing. Before every take, between the takes, all I would do is go over — and over and over — the cello. I think it has come across very well, luckily!

You have got amazing songs to lip-sync in the film. What do you think of the soundtrack by A.R. Rahman?

Music is a very powerful tool and sometimes we underestimate it in today’s day and age. Actually, it can turn out to be very inspiring not only for the audiences but for the actors. It happened in Yuvvraaj..The songs are very different from what is happening in most of the films today. It’s not the usual hip-hop and disco kind of music. I hope it’s a nice change for me. My favourite is the song Tu muskura which is such a magical track. I also like Shanno shanno among the faster tracks.

Where do you come into the script because Yuvvraaj is clearly a story about warring brothers?

I am always very clear what my role is in a particular movie. For Yuvvraaj, I was very clear, that the meat of the movie is the relationship between the two brothers, played by Anil Kapoor and Salman Khan. What I add to the film are moments of spontaneity, the demonstration of purity and the goodness, the good side of love. There are lots of problems going on in the movie, a lot of emotional exchanges. Mine is the one character which is beyond all this and has a very positive outlook towards life. Also, the romantic track between Salman and me, I think, it’s come out quite fresh.

Katrina Kaif with Salman Khan in Yuvvraaj

It’s your second film opposite Salman after 2005’s Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya. Was romancing him on the sets an easier exercise this time?

It’s no different to me. When I come on the sets, I am there to work, I am there to concentrate on making a good movie. And the director is the captain of the ship. I think we both just followed Subhashji, whatever he said, whatever he wanted us to do. Salman is no different to me from any other actor because we are both there to work.

But don’t you think knowing a person off screen helps the on-screen chemistry?

Definitely not. I didn’t know Akshay when I did my first film with him (Humko Deewana Kar Gaye). Chemistry is simply about the way two characters match each other on screen. The mystery behind this whole word called ‘chemistry’ is the script. If the script allows someone to have a good interaction with someone else, then you go out and say, the guys had good chemistry. It doesn’t make any sense that two guys who know each other light fireworks in the cinema hall.

The trade magazines call you Bollywood’s Heroine No. 1. How do you react to that?

I genuinely mean this, and not in a nice kind of a way, I don’t believe in being number one or number two. Every actress has her own strong points. And trust me, no actress can be responsible for a hit and no actress can be responsible for a flop. The director, the script, the hero, the heroine, the supporting cast... there are lots of factors. Of course, you are responsible towards the film. As a woman, I feel there are three aspects an actress should keep in mind — her look, because cinema is about glamour in a lot of ways, her dancing and her performance. As long as you are doing these three things in a unique manner, you are doing your job.

Everyone’s trying that but you are scoring the hits. Have you every analysed what you have been doing right?

One is destiny. Two, I pray a lot and I do believe in that. You have to leave it to God and hope the audience likes the film and relates to it.

How did the Temptations Tour with Shah Rukh go?

The tour was fantastic. It’s been a while since I have performed on stage because I have been shooting for two-and-a-half months for the Yash Raj film New York directed by Kabir Khan. Just getting back on stage was great. Also Dubai was the largest open-air live crowd that I have performed to. The energy was fabulous and I really enjoyed it.

The economic crisis is said to be eating into everyone’s pay packet. Has it affected you in any way because you are one of the highest paid actresses in Bollywood...

I think if anyone has overcharged his or her price that’s a different thing. I haven’t... and honestly, no one’s asked me to lower my price yet.

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