Katrina Kaif is the current favourite actress of Bollywood. Last movie is Dhoom 3 which broke all the records of box-office collection. She is now part of the biggest hit of Hindi cinema. And it doesn’t look like the record will be broken anytime soon. In a recent interview to Times of India, the actress talks about her love for her family, her spiritual connection with Alvira Khan and what makes her care for Ranbir Kapoor the way she does.
How did you come into films?
I was born in Hong Kong. My mom is British, while my father, Indian and they separated when I was very young. I have six sisters and a brother and have three of my siblings younger to me. My mother always worked for non-profit charitable organisations. She first came to India at the time of tsunami and has been here for the past 6-7 years in Madurai, doing charity work and building a school for children that is now almost complete. Due to her charitable work, as kids, we travelled across various countries with her. We never had an elaborate life and so I wouldn’t say that we would go shopping, until I started earning for myself or going to the mall or driving around in luxurious cars. Our life was very frugal, just how it is for the life of all non-profit organisation workers’ kids. We were not financially secure. I was doing home school and little bits of modelling post school in London, when I first came to India at 17 to shoot for a magazine. So, I spent the last three years before coming to India in London. One of the first people I met in Mumbai was Anaita Shroff Adajania. I walked into her office in a ganji and shorts. And she asked me, ‘You came walking on the streets like this? You will have to do a little bit of adapting.’ And I then met Atul Kasbekar and Reshma Shetty as they were working together at that time. I had always been adventurous and fearless, but the difference was that this time, I had come alone to India. I somehow sensed a huge amount of warmth in everybody and felt that Mumbai is this one big cuddly city, where everybody is so nice. I was here for about two months and spoke to photographer Farrokh Chothia and told him, ‘I am not really getting booked.’ He asked me how long have you been here? I said, ‘Two months.’ He said, ‘You are young and really impatient. Persist.
People need to know that you are here. Take your cards with your picture and drop it at all the model coordinators and agents for ad films.’ So, I would go to Famous Studios every day and stand in the long line, holding the placard with my name and number and audition for all kinds of ads. Very quickly, I started getting selected for a lot of my auditions. The only one I didn’t get selected was where, in one of them, I was required to play kabaddi, as I didn’t know what was kabaddi. I started modelling and after a few years of doing that, I got my first Hindi small but apt role in Sarkar. My first big break was in Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya with Salman.
Did Salman Khan have a role in casting you?
At that time, for almost all the films that I was a part of, a lot of the actors had a say in it and of course, Salman was very supportive of me.
What are you like?
I still have a lot to discover about myself, but I know that I am intelligent. I have invested a lot of time from a very young age in actively pursuing work and wanting to establish myself in the world. Financial security was important to me and it was important for me to become something. I wanted to find my identity in whatever field it may be and finally found my identity in films. I worked with so much focus and passion, that maybe it not only helped consume a lot of my head space from a very young age, but also made me discover who I am. I know that there are things that life will throw at you, which will shake you up. God has helped me achieve a lot of my dreams and ambitions that I had set myself out to do. I wanted to achieve this against what people thought I could achieve, given my limitations. I learnt that with hardwork, you can always get and achieve what you want, but there are times when no matter how hard you work and what you do, how much you want something, there will be things you cannot change and you have to accept that. And the great thing of getting through that time of your life is that you know that things are not as bad as they may seem at times and you can go through a lot and still be happy. And still survive and still be strong and still come out.
Which was your lowest period?
I am very emotional and incredibly sensitive. I am actually very sensitive, shy and emotional, but closed to people who I don’t know. So people who don’t know me may feel that I am not a warm, friendly person, but I just have to know you and if I like you, then 99% I will love you till the end of my life and it would be very unusual if anything can change that. In my equations with people yes situations may change, the presence in their lives may change, but I believe I am loyal to my emotions and I don’t think they are fickle. That has its plus sides and downsides. The downside is that a lot of people may take you to be cold as I may not say a hi beyond to two people, but they don’t realise that even when I didn’t know anybody I would still do that. It’s a part of my nature I think. I am half the time daydreaming and my mind is somewhere else and that’s a bad habit that I need to try and change. I also have high expectations from people that I like and thus can get deeply disappointed if I am hurt by them. And my emotional reactions are quite dramatic. Being emotional, while you may be career-focused and ambitious but your most strong emotions are evoked by love, so your lowest point turns out to be connected with heart breaks, as that’s when you feel the most pain.
Barring Ranbir Kapoor, who are the people you care for the most in the world?
I love my mother the most and love all my sisters equally. In my head I think am a boy and feel responsible for my family and sometimes I am uncomfortable with my weaker, feminist side as I am usually so adjusted to being the stronger one. I am equally close to each of my sisters and when it comes to the normal things and the boy problems, we are all equal and we sob, there is full judgment that happens and we all become just girls. I count it as a huge blessing in my life that I can look after any financial difficulty in my family and those are the moments you feel proud of yourself. In India the three women I am closest to are Reshma Shetty, Alvira Khan and Karishma who has been an AD on many of my films and is now my friend. With Reshma, I truly believe that she cares about me and I have seen her put herself in discomfort to try and help me with what I want. When I came here, I was very young, I would go stay at her house and would cry and she would fight for me and stand up for me. A lot of people can say that it is about work, but I don’t believe that to be the connection. Alvira is very spiritual and I met her when I was very young. She would take me to so many religious places and people. I believe it gave me a lot of stability and peace in my life. Her spiritual beliefs and her conviction in it and her support in me, her love for me also gives me peace as I am deeply religious and a big believer in God. I may not get to see her as much, but I have almost the same feeling for her that I have for my sisters. I love her and I know that she loves me.
To your credit, you are one of the few actresses who has never talked about films you were offered but did not do, or about bringing down other actresses.
Yes, as you have to have some principles in life and I just feel that it is not dignified. Also, I feel that the only way you can maintain and achieve and sustain success is when you deliver. The only time I get emotional when it comes to work is when you become friends with a director and feel hurt if he doesn’t take you in his film.
Which are the directors you are emotionally close to?
Ali Abbas Zafar (Mere Brother Ki Dulhan), Kabir Khan (Ek Tha Tiger) and earlier when I was worked with Vipul Shah on Singh Is Kinng and Namastey London. I am also very fond of Zoya Akhtar, Karan Johar and Ayan Mukerji. I will feel missed out if in the future they will cast others, but so far such a situation has not presented itself to me.
What is Ranbir Kapoor like?
In the time that I have known Ranbir, since Saawariya released, I have seen a lot of change in him as a person. Not only from the proximity that I have known from, but also as an outsider, given how much he has matured and evolved as a person. The film industry is where he belonged and was immediately accepted, but I have seen him hugely grow even as an actor. Ranbir is like me, in the way that he is very loyal and emotional to the people he really cares about in his inner circle, which is very small. He can come out very detached to people outside of that. The only difference between his behaviour and my behaviour, let’s say on a film set, is that while he is incredibly charming and polite with everyone that he comes in contact with, I don’t think he yet realises what an important and amazing trait that is, I will get tired after saying a good morning to just three people. He is incredibly polite at all times and makes that extra effort to come out of that circle of introspection and make that other person feel good. I see in him a lot of depth and he has so much in him that probably even he has yet to discover. I think he has the capacity to help people even more than he does and as time goes by, he will find even more strength and satisfaction in giving strength to other people. He can be detached, but I can’t be. He is incredibly funny and charming. I guess to connect with a person at such a deep level, our souls must be connected.
What does he like the most about you?
Maybe the way I think, my mind.
Who is brighter between the both of you?
Out of the two of us, let’s pretend that both of us were scientists, then I think it would be me who would make the bigger discoveryJ
Who is more emotional?
I would say me, but then, everyone gives themselves more marks.
He had told me last year that he can give his life for you. How special is he for you?
I care a lot for him and feel protective about him. He has the capacity to be an extremely talented actor and a deeply evolved, highly intellectual and sensitive human being at the same time. He has the capacity and I can see the height of his potential.