The common man’s dream girl and on every filmmakers' wishlist, actor Katrina Kaif's journey to what and where she is today is no less than a fairy tale. The Hong Kong born girl travelled across the globe and landed with small modelling assignments in London. She even walked the ramp for the London Fashion Week, and it’s there that she caught the attention of London-based filmmaker Kaizad Gustad, who eventually paved her Bollywood entry through the erotic flick Boom in September 2003.
It’s a different story though that the actor regrets having ever acted in that film but what followed was a slew of hits and sustained success for the last 10 years — a feat that few in this industry can boast of. One of the highest paid actors of our times, she has worked with all the top actors including the Khans of Bollywood. The 30-year-old has recently finished shooting for the third installment of the hit Dhoom franchise, Dhoom 3, along side Aamir Khan.
Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya (2005)
After a slew of flops including a few unsuccessful regional attempts, Kat’s career finally got the much needed kick—start when her supposed godfather in the film industry, Salman Khan took the reins of her career in his hand. He got her to act alongside him in Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya. The film got a moderate response at the box office but Katrina did finally manage to draw those much-needed eyeballs.
Namastey London (2007)
The year 2007 was the turning point in Katrina’s career as she delivered four back—to— back hits including Namastey London, Apne, Partner and Welcome. Kaif’s performance in Vipul Shah's romantic comedy Namastey London, where she played the role of a spoilt British Indian girl not only attracted positive reviews but also introduced the audience to her sizzling hot chemistry with Akshay Kumar.
Though failing to garner much critical acclaim, this Anees Bazmee film was a huge box office hit, adding yet another feather to Kat’s cap. It earned around `1.16 billion worldwide. Noted film critic Taran Adarsh wrote that even though the film is male-centric, “Katrina gives to her role the freshness that it demands” and that she looked “bewitching”. Katrina Kaif had finally arrived.
Sing Is Kinng (2008)
Cashing in on the chemistry between Kat and Akshay Kumar, the very next year Anees Bazmee once again paired Katrina and Akshay in his action comedy. Singh Is Kinng became one of the biggest Bollywood grossers of all times. This was her fourth film with Akshay (before Namastey London and Welcome, she had acted with him in Raj Kanwar’s Humko Deewana Kar Gaye in 2006 that bombed at the box office). Katrina’s performance got mixed reviews to the extent that some called her an “eye sore” while others hailed her as “hot and ravishing”. The film raked big revenues at the box office, adding one more hit to Kat's list.
Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani (2009)
This Rajkumar Santoshi film — her first with Ranbir Kapoor — was certainly another turning point in Kat’s life. Well, that is if the rumours about her alleged affair with the Kapoor scion is anything to go by! In fact buzz is that Katrina got so cosy with her co—star on the sets of this comedy flick that it
ultimately brought about a rift in her relationship with her then alleged beau Salman Khan. Rumour mills aside, her fresh
pairing with the Kapoor lad was lauded by all— the critics and the audience. The film emerged as a blockbuster hit that year.
So far only known to grace the typical Bollywood masala films, Katrina finally grabbed a role in National Award winning, filmmaker Prakash Jha’s political thriller, Raajneeti, alongside Ranbir Kapoor. Adding fuel to rumours about the duo’s alleged affair, while this film finally put an end to the Katrina-Salman relationship (who continued to remained friends though), Kat’s portrayal of a widowed politician in a stark contrast to the sing—song roles that she had been playing so far was admired by one and all. The film fared well
at the box office.
Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011)
By now Katrina was already being counted as one of the top league stars of Bollywood. She was paired with Hrithik Roshan for the first time in this Zoya Akhtar film that turned out to be a huge hit, winning multiple awards. Talking about Kaif, film critic Rajeev Masand wrote in his review, “She (Katrina) brings a charming, lovely touch to her role.” Indeed, Kat brought certain freshness to the character of Laila as a carefree, fun-loving diving instructor and it was for her till date much criticised accent that lent her character the realistic touch, winning her accolades.
Mere Brother Ki Dulhan (2011)
Kat was quick to get a Yash Raj film next, alongside actors Imran Khan and Ali Zafar. She played the role of a fun-loving punk-rock girl Dimple Dixit and her power-packed performance won such rave reviews that people said that the film entirely “belonged to Katrina.” It was indeed Kaif who surpassed the male leads in terms of performance and infused a brilliant dose of energy into the film that went on to gross brilliantly at the box office.
Ek Tha Tiger (2011)
Shutting rumour mills Katrina Kaif once again paired up on screen with her Bollywood godfather and ex — Salman Khan and needless to say, broke all box office records with this film, last year. Sallu played the role of an Indian spy besotted by Zoya, an ISI agent in disguise played by Kat. Ek tha Tiger became the third highest-grossing Bollywood film of all times. Though an out— an—out Salman film, Kat was recognised for more than just being a muse. “Katrina Kaif holds her own in a film that has been sold all along as a toast to its hero,”wrote film critic Vinayak Chakravorty.
Jab Tak Hai Jaan (2012)
Getting to play an‘Yash Chopra heroine’ has always been the dream of all Bollywood actors, and Kat’s hard work did pay off. Possibly the biggest milestone of her career till date, Katrina acted as the lead in legendary filmmaker Yash Chopra's swan song, Jab Tak Hai Jaan, alongside none other than Shah Rukh Khan. In fact Jab Tak Hai Jaan emerged as the fourth-highest-grossing Bollywood film of all time overseas. Talking about Katrina’s performance, film critic Saibal Chatterjee wrote, “Katrina plays the grounded Meera with assurance... the actress lets herself go and makes an impression.” Rajiv Masand too joined in the praise—wagon saying, “Katrina Kaif looks ethereally beautiful.”