She's Chameli!

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By TT Bureau
  • Published 9.01.12


“I had to replicate my bad coldwala voice”

Ajay-Atul, the film’s music directors, asked me to come over to the studio to record the scratch for the song. There was no major thought behind it. The day I had the scratch recording, I had very high fever and a terrible cold. So I just dubbed the mukhra for them to complete the rest of the music arrangement and came back home to give myself a few days to recover. But my rendering of the scratch was loved so much by Karan (Johar) and Ajay-Atul that when I went back to dub the final version, they wanted me to sing it in exactly the same way. I had to replicate my bad coldwala voice! We started recording at 11 at night. I was extremely hyper and it was total madness inside the studio.

Chikni Chameli has been garnering a lot of attention and my style of singing is very different from any song that I’ve done before. Most of my friends have been calling me and asking, ‘Is that really you?’ Many of my music director friends are in shock too. Salim (Merchant) told me ‘I always knew you had this wild side to your voice. I’m glad that it’s been captured.’ I’m enjoying the element of shock and surprise... I never say ‘no’ to any song except when I’ve had problems with words that were very obscene. This song has made me open to experiments, more than ever before.

(After watching the song) Mera munh khula reh gaya tha! I had seen small teasers before it was released and that itself was so tempting. It’s so electrifying to let go of your inhibitions on screen and Katrina (Kaif) has done that and danced with abandoned femininity. She’s brought magical energy to the song!

My favourite item number? Choli ke peeche. Electrifying and mischievous!


“There had to be some element of glamour in it”

Since Chikni Chameli has the whole Marathi angle to it, we decided to go with a knotted kashta for Katrina Kaif. Karan Malhotra wanted an organic and real feel but since it’s me who is doing the look, there had to be some element of glamour in it! It’s not a typical bling thing and it’s the colour that is the hero. We have used a lot of sari borders to add to the vibrancy of the song. There are three looks —- a yellow checked kashta, a ghagra and another red kashta. The second kashta was originally supposed to be a red lehnga but since the first one worked so well, we decided to go for a second kashta.

I think Katrina has really carried off the song in style. It’s a very aggressive and hardcore sequence and she does it so well. It’s my second song with Katrina after Teri ore (Singh is Kinng), though I do a lot of her clothes for stage shows and appearances. Yashji’s (Chopra) film will be my first full-fledged movie with her. And I am quite looking forward to it.

GANESH ACHARYA, choreographer

“She is not Sheila.... She is Chikni! Full freak-out hai”

I am very happy; this is the first time that I am getting this kind of a response for a song. I have got a lot of calls from the south and from Bollywood also.... Dharma Productions called me after 20 years for a song. I have given my 100 per cent to this song. There is a hit Marathi song called Kombdi Palali, which is now Chikni Chameli. This was challenging.

Katrina Kaif ka ek proper, ballet type ki image hai. And this was very raw and raunchy. Mere ko thoda sa tension tha. She has given her 100 per cent and paid attention to every detail. She is not Sheila or Munni. She is Chikni! She has a different attitude and confidence. Full energy hai! Full freak-out hai! Bindaas!

The song is set in Sanjay Dutt’s (who plays badman Kancha Cheena) house. Hrithik (who plays Vijay Dinanath Chauhan) has come to meet him. Karan Johar and Karan Malhotra (the director of Agneepath) did not really give me any brief. They knew that yeh mere touch ka gaana hai... yeh zabardast gaana hai.


on dancing to Alibaba, the item number in Amitabh Bachchan’s Agneepath

In our time, there was nothing called an item song. To be called an item girl was quite a disgrace actually! But today, it’s taken as a compliment.

There’s a nice nugget of history behind Alibaba. It wasn’t the song that was recorded initially. The whole unit was in Goa for the song, but for two days we were twiddling our thumbs because the song was still being recorded in Bombay. The song that was recorded first was actually Jumma chumma, but everyone felt that it was such a great number that Mr (Amitabh) Bachchan should also dance in it. But, if you recall, there was no scope for his character (Vijay) to sing and dance in the film. So Jumma chumma was set aside for a later film — it, of course, became a part of the soundtrack of Hum and one of

Mr Bachchan’s best songs. In its place, Alibaba was recorded and that’s the song I danced to.

My look in the song was completely designed by me and I still haven’t got paid for that costume! I did a black miniskirt-and-jacket look with high heels and wore a French cap tilted to one side. I opted for a wet hair look and I had to keep wetting my hair after every shot. At that time, this kind of look was very unconventional… very Westernised… very pop and rock. It was something new for Hindi films... Everyone was raving about my figure. I was very slim then and that was the focus of everybody’s attention!

I honestly feel that what Katrina did in Sheila ki jawaani was absolutely superb… 10 on 10. That’s my limit for Katrina doing loud movements. Chikni Chameli is a little too loud and in-your-face than how I would like to see Katrina.... I wouldn’t have ever been comfortable doing those movements in my heyday.


“Chikni Chameli is not my usual style”

The response to Chikni Chameli has been fun and heartening so far. It was a lot of hard work. We did a lot of rehearsals and preparation for it. It’s a song with a very fast tempo and it’s not my usual style. But I took it as a challenge and went ahead and I am glad that all the hard work that we put in as a team has paid off. After Sheila ki jawaani (in Tees Maar Khan), I am happy people are liking Chikni Chameli.



She is stunning — and she knows it. Katrina Kaif lets t2 in on her beauty secrets.

What is the secret of your beautiful skin?

I use a day and a night cream religiously. I make sure that my day cream has a powerful sun block because discolouration of the skin is not ideal. I always make sure I remove all my make-up before I sleep so that my skin can breathe at night. And I make sure I stay happy as much as possible!

Why do you endorse Olay Natural White?

Though there are quite a few whitening creams in the market, the kind of quality that Olay Natural White promises is something that you won’t find in others. It really protects my skin… it has a very good sun block in it that really works for me. It’s about taking away the tan and keeping what you already had, rather than whitening your skin. It’s also a brand that I have grown up with and trust completely.

Do you think fairness is synonymous with beauty in India?

I often do wish that the name of these fairness products could be changed because beauty is not about being fair. Across the world, you have people with all kinds of skin shades and they are all beautiful. I believe that more emphasis should be given to the evenness of your skin, as opposed to the colour of it.

What common make-up mistakes do you see among women in India?

I see a lot of women making a mistake with the colour of their foundation. Most tend to use a shade that doesn’t match their skin tone. The first thing should be to find out what kind of a skin tone you have and match your make-up to that.... Overdoing the eyeliner and lipstick are also big no-nos for me. Make-up should not overpower the person that you are. It should be subtle and just enhance your best features and hide the ones that are not so great!

What has changed in your skin and diet regimen as an actress?

I have to go to the gym regularly now. I was always into fitness, but now I have to take care to train certain parts of my body. Also, my diet needs special care. I am not too finicky about anything, but I make sure that my food isn’t too high on fat. In the industry that I work in, one is always short on time. So a skincare and fitness regimen that takes care of all my requirements in the minimum possible time is what I constantly look for.

What are your day and night looks for winter?

I am going to be in London with my family and it’s terribly cold there. So, the idea will be to just keep myself warm! But here in Bombay, it’s the festive season and in this weather, you can wear whatever you like.

What does being beautiful mean to you?

Being comfortable and confident. Looks-wise, it’s about understanding what your best attributes and features are and playing them up. Understand what style suits you and do not ape others blindly.

Who is the most beautiful woman in the world according to Katrina Kaif?

I think Penelope Cruz is beautiful. I have always liked her style. She’s never over-the-top in the way she dresses. She is presentable… relatable…. I just like her!

What makes brand Katrina tick?

Reliability is a factor. I feel that I can reach across to different sections of the audience. I keep trying different roles… I don’t restrict myself to one particular genre. Typecasting is something that I am very scared of. The audience appreciates the fact that I give them something different each time.

In which film have you looked your best?

Oh god! I have no idea… okay, I think I looked quite good in Ajab Prem ki Ghazab Kahani. A lot of people still tell me that they liked my style and the way I looked in that film. Very fresh and relatable.