It is 5pm, and Katrina Kaif has already given a couple of interviews. Yet, when we walk up to her for our turn, the actor, who is wearing a white asymmetrical short lace dress, welcomes us with an endearing smile.
“You must be tired,” we say, almost sensing her fatigue, to which she replies, “I am actually hungry,” and orders a grilled fish. A picture of composure, Katrina settles down, and signals that we start the interview.
There have been rumours about your relationship with Ranbir Kapoor. Would you like to set the record straight once and for all?
From the start of my career to now, personal stories have always come hand in hand with the professional ones. So, I take it the same way as I have always done [in the past]. I take rumours with a pinch of salt. I have always taken a stance of not commenting on my personal life. So, for me, there is nothing to address.
You haven’t done too many films in the past couple of years…
It was a conscious decision. I was focusing on different things in the past two years. In a career spanning 13 years, there will be some years where you end up focusing on something else, for personal reasons. But this year, I have three films releasing, and that’s going to be fun. For around nine years, I had four movies releasing every year, and I was running from pillar to post. So, it’s good to have a balance, and break the monotony.
But in a competitive industry like Bollywood, is it wise to take things slow, especially when your contemporaries are doing so many projects?
I compete with myself. I think that is something that most people, who have an identity of their own, have in common. I know that last year, I had taken a step back, and put my focus on other things. Now, I will focus on the kind of films I am doing. I’m always aware of where my focus lies.
On the finale episode of Bigg Boss 9, Salman Khan recently called you the most “hard-working person” he knows. Do you immerse yourself in whatever you do?
I try to, and I feel it’s a good philosophy for everyone to abide by. You should try to do whatever you are doing to the best of your ability. But I am aware of the few times that I have not put in my 100% into my work. I feel bad about that.
Salman also called you a very strong person…
It’s such a general statement that it’s hard to dissect it. Strength can mean different things to different people. If you are a person who knows his or her mind, who believes in his or her choices, and has conviction in his or her decisions, then, for me, all those qualities define a strong woman.
Do you feel that more often than not, people focus on your looks rather than your performances?
No, I don’t think so. Sometimes, we do pay too much attention to the styling or the glamorous side of an actress, especially nowadays, since it is becoming more and more important on digital platforms and social media. But, as an actor, every time I have gotten into character, whether it was for a role in Raajneeti (2010) or Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011), I feel the response has been appropriate. It is not that my performances went unnoticed.
You are mostly calm and composed, and hardly get embroiled in any controversies. Is that the real you?
I believe that your behaviour should be dignified at your place of work. You owe it to the platform you are on — whether it is representing a movie, or a collection like La Vie En Rose by L’Oréal Paris. You owe it to them to behave in a dignified, respectable and calm manner. It is my job. It makes me feel secure, whether it is financially or professionally. So, I treat it like that. By nature, I feel that I’m outspoken and fun-loving, but only with the people I know well. However, I’m not an extrovert.
Watch Katrina Kaif in Fitoor trailer
Do you feel that celebrities nowadays get targeted a lot more than they were earlier?
If you are in the public eye, and you get the benefits that come with being famous, then you also have to be careful about what you do and what you say. That is because your words come with a certain weight, and your behaviour also carries a certain weight.