Katrina Kaif has had no release in 2013. But she is gearing up for her big film Dhoom 3, which hits the screens in the art week of the year. The film that is expected to break all records. The Dhoom franchise is all about guys and bikes but still incomplete without the femme fatales and Kat is all set to wow in an ultra glam avatar. I am meeting her after a long time and in the first few moments I begin to wonder if this is the new Katrina. Softer, mellower, and with her guard down.
Yes, she is still not ready to talk about her relationship with Ranbir Kapoor but she isn’t as cagey as she used to be. In between chiding me for asking personal questions, she talks about working with the three Khans in an interview that was rescheduled three times because she is so busy. Over to Kat...
Have you seen the previous Dhooms?
Yes, I have seen both of them. I don’t remember the first one as it was too long ago but I remember the second one very well. There is no franchise like D3 in India. It’s very innovative for its time. It is the traditional cops and robbers story but the format is innovative. It was a clever idea.
What prompted you to take up this role?
It was the script. They came up with a really good story and were not just relying on the Dhoom franchise. For me honestly, from a personal perspective, it was the performance and the dance sequences. For me to get the chance to experience circus performance and acrobats was fabulous! Dance in the last few years has been a big passion for me. It’s an aspect of our industry which sometimes is a little under-recognised. The chance to do the kind of acts I got to do in D3 — with the straps, hoops, acrobats — is something that would not come to me again and that was where my head was at that time.
It must have required a lot of training...
Everything in the film required a lot of training. It’s much harder than it looks. Even in the song like Malang which is just eight-nine minutes, it looks easy...You may appreciate the sequences but doing the act on a hoop is not easy. Nor is training yourself with straps etc and it takes lot of time. I am also one of those people, especially when it comes to dance, performance and physical execution of things, who won’t stop until I feel I have got it right to a certain level. I will probably do more than what I am asked of or required to do because I feel that it deserves that.
You didn’t sign film because of Aamir Khan who you hadn’t worked with?
These things are secondary. Especially now that I have been here for a few years and have the experience. It’s really about the films you leave behind... If you get a chance to work with three superstars then it’s an added bonus. They are superstars, they are passionate about their work, and extremely talented so working them is great.
Who is the toughest Khan to work with?
No one has been tough or bad — the three Khans are all great people but the equations I have shared with all three are different. With Salman, whom I have known for nine years, my equation is different. Shooting with him sometimes does become awkward because you know the person so well. Like during the Mashallah song in Ek Tha Tiger, he kept laughing when I was singing the romantic lines. When Kabir would come and say, ‘Salman we have to shoot the song’, he would just brush him off and laugh. What is so funny? Nobody else in the country finds it so funny! (laughs) But with Shah Rukh and Aamir... there are two actors, two people who don’t know each other so well so it’s more about the work.
All the Dhoom girls from Esha to Aishwarya are known for the glamour factor. Have you upped it for this film to keep pace?
I don’t know. I don’t think there are people who go to work and say, ‘Today let me just chill out and let not try hard and do much.’ I have done my best too. Upping the glamour quotient has been done within the script parameters and what was defined for me. I went into the film with the intention of doing what written and given to me – the songs and performance and doing the best of what I can and pushing myself as much as I can. In my capacity I have given everything that is possible for me to give.
All Dhoom girls have worn bikinis. Have you?
No, I have not worn any bikini. If I had worn one, don’t you think it would be in the promos by now? I don’t think in any part of the world what I have worn in the poster will be considered as a bikini considering my bikini experiences this year! (laughs)
So have you sworn off them completely in real life?
No. I have not sworn off wearing anything. I am not that childish. If you are asking if I will stop wearing bikinis in my personal life, while on holidays then no, I won’t. The pictures came as a shock. It didn’t happen in year one of my career but in year 10. In that moment when one is hurt or upset one will react on impulse and that [writing an open letter to the media to not invade her private space] was my impulsive reaction. Some people told me I should have reacted and some said I shouldn’t have reacted at all. Both opinions were right.
Don’t you think paparazzi invasion comes with the territory?
At that moment I felt it was unnecessary. It was very unlike what happens here in India. It’s been happening in the USA for many years. Have I seen it happen here before? No. Now will one see it happen more often? Perhaps. It will become a norm but at the time it happened it wasn’t the norm, not in our film industry.
Your colleagues say you come across as cold. Comment?
(Smiles wryly) With all due respect to anybody who made the statement that I am cold, it’s probably the most ignorant statement that one could ever make! People like me (Cancerians) always put up a front or wall around us... In fact, even now I am hating answering this question because I hate explaining my personality to people who can’t understand me.
If they don’t see the truth, they don’t have to know the truth. That’s what I believe. You build a wall to protect yourself. I think I am the most sensitive person that you will probably ever meet. I feel hurt not in a normal way, like most people do. My hurt is multiplied by a 100. The highs and lows I feel are extreme — when I feel low it is painful. And those lows are only brought by things in your personal life. So do I hurt? Yes! Am I a closed and guarded person? Yes! But I have been that even as a child. I’m a very emotional personal but I know that there’s a place and time for it and I keep that side of me where it needs to be and don’t carry it with me to work on a film set. Also often there are times you are in a very vulnerable space and you are finding it hard to keep up appearances with your emotions scattered all over the place, but you keep up a professional front or face.
What really bothers you?
So many things can hurt you... We feel the impact of so many things... Life is going alongside work. There’s the thought of the future, of what are you doing today, about the the people in your life who are supporting you and are alongside you... You have things in your life that are meaningful and worthwhile, there’s the responsibility of your family, there are two million things going on inside your head and they are very least of the stress is about work really.
Going by your calm façade one would never imagine that…
What do you benefit from putting your emotions and vulnerabilities on display to people who may not have your best interest at heart or who may not be able to help you or use it in the right way? So I don’t choose to do it.
There have been rumours of an impending wedding. Fact or fiction?
Complete fiction. There’s no thought or plan in my mind about marriage right now. Why are people talking of my wedding and putting us out there when the thought or conversation is not even there? Maybe this started after Kareena came on KWK but I wasn’t on that show and that’s unfortunate for me and if I am not mistaken Ranbir also didn’t say anything about marriage. The comments were made in jest. That’s all.
Many thought she was getting you ‘married off’ to snuff out competition.
That’s a very layered and complex way of seeing it (laughs) and I wouldn’t even go down that road! Why make life full of complexities? I see the comments she made as a joke to her cousin. But on the flip side of it is there is no truth to it because firstly I am not getting married and secondly no one has asked me to marry him.
No one has proposed!
Nobody! And this realisation hit me last week when I was on the way home after a press conference. Everywhere I have been asked, I have been saying I won’t get married for the next five-ten years, but the fact is: Nobody has asked me even yet! (her eyes twinkle)
You seem to be the only one not talking about Ranbir. Why?
Is Ranbir talking about me? Is the other person involved talking about me? No. Am I talking about it? No. Which means the two people who are the topic of this conversation are not talking about it. My stance won’t change. I don’t feel the need or want to talk about my personal life.
Reportedly Ranbir proposed to you on his birthday…
Where do these nice stories about my marriage proposal come from? That’s not where my life is at the moment. Marriage is not happening anytime soon but I promise you that the day someone proposes to me and I say yes, and we are engaged, I will never hide it. I will never prolong the time between the proposal and engagement to marriage. There is no reason to hide or be discreet about something like that.
But in love one has to be discreet?
Being in love and being in a relationship are two different things. A relationship which is not fully committed to, or which has not yet reached a culmination is something I believe you should be discreet about. And I have always tried to be discreet about what’s in my life.
Why is that?
Because that’s my nature. It is my nature. I guard what’s close to me and I guard my feelings. And you are talking about my feelings? A relationship is also about half of your feelings and half of somebody else’s. Why do I need to talk about somebody else? I have developed this guardedness about my personal life from the beginning and also it was an advice that was instilled in me early, when I started out perhaps, and then later it became a part of me…
By Salman? He is known to do that.
By who it’s not important. It just came about and now it has become a part of me and something I don’t think I should change.
You never spoke about Salman also when you broke up...
No. I never spoke about Salman ever. Why should I? As an actor, there are many complications and speculations... Why add to it and put it out there for opinions? And it is out there. I am not dumb to not see that. But to that extent it is okay. It doesn’t need to be dissected upon anymore until the time one is 100 per cent sure where this relationship is going to culminate.
Are you in love? Yes or no?
(Grins naughtily) I won’t answer that as it will add fodder to more speculation. It’s a something that people in my life and the person in my life or the people I am hanging out to know. And hopefully they do, or it’s a sad state (laughs). Do they know if I love them? Yes. Do I feel the need to say if I am in love in print? No. I don’t want to say I am in love.
Ranbir once said that apart from his family and Ayaan, you would be one person he would give up his life for.
I really hope that’s true. I think that friendship, support and being there for each other in life is extremely, extremely important and if I was ever in need, I really hope that he (Ranbir) would be there for me and that will be a great thing because being selfless in life is important.
Do you believe in selfless love?
I believe selfless love is an idealistic concept. I feel people should find a balance between the good and bad times and what you need and what you can give. Relationships and everything in love and life is give and take. You can’t always expect if you are not giving anything but the foundation or the base is very important. You should have a firm base on which your love is based. Your support and priorities should be very clear, correct and precise.
Who or what are your priorities right now?
My work, my family and what is my personal life consisting of my friends and the people who are there in my life.
I am not going to name… (laughs). Everyone knows we are friends and the people who are in my life.
Is he a friend or someone special?
Why do you have to give everything a tag? I know a lot of people who give sweeping statements about people they are supposed to be feeling emotional about but they are not even true but exaggerated! So why do you want me to make untrue what is true in my case? Is Ranbir an important part of my life? Yes, of course! Ranbir is an extremely part of my life but beyond that I can’t say anything more.
But you would like to get married and have babies at some point?
Yes I think so. When I see my sister’s children I feel like having children… eventually… Not thought about how many.