She has a mild fever and it’s late at night but Katrina Kaif doesn’t shy away from work. With her film, Ek Tha Tiger, ready to release, the actor is too much of a professional to even let a legitimate excuse stop her from doing her job. This explains why she, an outsider to the film industry eight years ago, is now at the top.
Relaxed, at Yash Raj Studios on Friday night, Katrina bares her heart to HT Café.
With Ek Tha Tiger releasing soon, do you feel the pressure?
I do, but I am positive. I am not letting ‘what if’ kind of doubts get to me. I am a religious person and rely heavily on prayers. There are huge expectations from this film because of the names involved.
We’ve heard that you haven’t signed any films after Dhoom:3. What’s the plan?
Yes, I haven’t. There are a few things on my mind.
Do you need a break?
I think you are right. It’s been eight years! But again, I’m a workaholic who will be restless after two weeks. And I have so many things on my plate right now.
Suddenly there are a lot of young actresses entering the industry. Do you feel insecure?
Oh please, I have zero fear. I am too focussed for all this. I believe in healthy competition. And in any case, what’s meant for you will come to you. Nobody can take that away from you. I am destiny’s child.
Salman (Khan) and you are not together?
I am single. Our equation is very different today and I believe that exes can be great friends.
You built a solid career in Bollywood with Salman’s help. How much credit do you give him today?
I believe in destiny, God’s hand and hard work. The audience has accepted me. But it’s also true that I’ve known Salman for eight years. He’s helped me as a person. His presence in my life was for guidance and, straightforward and simple views. He has immense knowledge of the industry and this is where he helped me from going astray.
But do you believe you wouldn’t have been where you are today without him?
I strongly disagree. Yes, I owe him gratitude, but it’s unfair to say I would have not got a break without Salman. In this industry, everyone has people in their lives to help them in the beginning. Salman was helped by Sooraj Barjatya. And Salman also helped Sneha Ullal and Zarine Khan. I was young, impressionable and hardworking. In fact, Akshay Kumar is one of the few people who instilled confidence in me. I pick up things by watching people around me, and I picked up a lot of things from Akshay. To be fair there are many people who have played different key roles in my life.
You are working with Shah Rukh in Yash Chopra’s untitled film….
Yes, it’s a big thing for me. He’s an iconic figure in the industry and I have a lot of respect for him. I had seen Veer Zara. He’s a superstar, a romantic icon and I desperately wanted to work with him. It’s like your resume is incomplete if you haven’t worked with Shah Rukh Khan. He’s a patient and supportive co-star.
Are the two of you friends now?
While shooting the film, I was tense and nervous to work with him and Yash Chopra around. The thought that I must not let them down was a constant burden on my mind, so I didn’t really have time for anything else. Yes, we spent time together, but Gauri was also there. And I have been in contact with Gauri more than with Shah Rukh.
Do you still think Salman is the best looking guy around?
For me, physical beauty is never the reason for attraction to anyone. Salman is blessed. His face has a very positive energy; there’s an aura around him today. I don’t know if it is success, his family or his good deeds, but I see a calmness, happiness and contentment in him today. Salman has changed for the better.
Does financial security still worry you? We know it’s been on your mind since you’ve had to work your way up from your middle-class background.
I kind of worry less today. I have a very positive attitude in life. My insecurity, fear and need to know about tomorrow has fortunately eased. What is going to happen will happen anyway. So why break my head over it?
What’s your favourite shot with Salman?
I can’t reveal it, the filmmakers will kill me! It’s just before the interval. He gets into this serious, intense and anguished mode; very real and dramatic at the same time. He reminded me of the classic Hollywood heroes. This is very unlike the usual stuff that Salman does.
Have you thought of marriage? Any pressure from your family?
Not right now. One has to be in that right space and feel right about stepping into that zone. There’s absolutely no pressure from my mom or anyone else. In fact, my mom is the biggest example and backer of an independent career. When we were young, she’d sing Que Sera, Sera (whatever will, be will be) to all of us.