Kareena Kapoor Khan has been one of the most popular actors in Bollywood for over a decade now. She says that, even today, she is as passionate about her work as she was when she was a newcomer, because cinema is her greatest passion. She made her debut at the age of 20 (with Refugee, 2000), and till date has starred in around 50 films. Yet, she shows no signs of slowing down. Here, she talks about wanting to act “all her life”, and more.
You have acted in different kinds of films. What do you see yourself doing in the future?
I want to act all my life. It’s something that I do and love. I just want to try out different things. I’m glad that I am in a position to choose. I’m happy because my journey in the industry has been amazing so far. I enjoy what I do and I’m very passionate about it. Even 25 years down the line, I want to give an interview and say that there’s still something that I haven’t done; that there’s that one movie I can still do.
It’s believed that there’s been a change in your attitude, and you’ve become more approachable over the years…
I think that’s part of becoming more mature. And that comes with time. I belong to the film industry. I was born here. From the age of 16, it’s always been about films for me. And movies are my life. A normal person would have attended college, proms, socials, etc.; I never had the privilege of doing all that. But it’s something I never miss. There are other things that I can do now, which I enjoy. I take my time out, travel, read… So, I’m making up for it now in other ways.
Actresses often express their views on the disparity between the pay cheques of male and female stars in Bollywood. What are your thoughts on this?
A hue and cry is raised, and so many figures go around. But I’ve never had an issue. I’m not complaining about the fact that I’m not paid well. I don’t know what others get, but I know what I get paid, and the fact is, I’m very happy with that.
Watch Kareena in Mera Naam Mary here
Do the budgets of your films determine how much you get paid?
When you’re working on a big-budget film, then obviously your pay is more. Budgets of heroine-oriented films are a lot less, and that’s how the movie makes money at the box office. I’ve always balanced things out by doing big-budget films for the fat paycheques, along with smaller films for the interesting roles. So, I have no complaints.
Are women getting better roles and opportunities in Bollywood now?
I think the audience is accepting of good scripts now. It’s as simple as that. The lead can be a man or a woman. It doesn’t matter.
Heroine-oriented scripts have been working since Aradhana (1969) and Seeta Aur Geeta (1972). Karisma (Kapoor; Kareena’s older sister) did Fiza (2000) and Zubeidaa (2001). Every film works mainly because of its entertainment value. For example, Bajrangi Bhaijaan is a Salman Khan film, but it’s the story that worked, and the child actor (Harshaali Malhotra) carried the film on her shoulders. It’s good to say that heroine-oriented films are working now, but I think it’s just the good scripts. And we, hopefully, will get a lot more entertaining scripts in the time to come.