One of the Bollywood's most scintillating dancer, Katrina Kaif is now ready to sizzle with yet another chartbuster, Afghan Jalebi, in Saif Ali Khan's forthcoming film, Phantom. The Kabir Khan-directed film releases on Friday. However, it's not the songs that make Katrina nervous about her performance. Shooting in front of thousands of prying eyes, trying to concentrate in front of a 'rowdy' crowd, she says, is her worst nightmare.
"Shooting the climax sequence of Phantom was very difficult. The crowd in Malerkotla (Punjab, where Kabir recreated a Pakistani village for his movie) was very rowdy... they were sweet but very rowdy. The climax was an emotional scene where I was running into the camera, see something, and was supposed to have a powerful, charged reaction on my face. I am supposed to be emotional and tense at that point. But the crowd around us kept saying funny things, were laughing and calling me names all through," Katrina said in a candid chat with Hindustan Times.
The unit's shoot schedule in London was no different, the 32-year-old actor said. "As an actor its hard to focus when the crowd around you is hooting and making funny faces. I loved shooting in Lebanon as there was no one around. We got to create our own ambience."
Any chat with Katrina invariably veers towards things we all want to know about her and her rumoured beau, Ranbir Kapoor. But we asked her a different question: How does it feel being asked the same questions, over and over again, despite Katrina saying in as many words that she doesn't want to talk about her personal life? "We are in an age where we debate about equality of pay. I feel if we do have to bring gender equality, we cannot obsess about a woman's marital status and ignore her work. I do understand you too are under pressure to ask such questions, but I feel you can choose not to ask. Lets just not ask the question. I'm here in the capacity of an actor and its a professional setup. We can just avoid asking the question. Let's say if you are at a chat show, that's where you chat about life and stuff."
So does that mean she's demanding a pay cheque equal to that of her Phantom co-star Saif Ali? "Wonderful question, you got me thinking I should look into it," she laughed it off.
Katrina also played a secret intelligence officer in her 2011 film opposite Salman Khan, Ek Tha Tiger. So how is Phantom different? "Ek Tha Tiger took a lot more cinematic liberties. With the backdrop of 26/11, Phantom had to be very close to real life. Perhaps the training and knowledge you'd have as an agent is same but the story is more about the human connect of people."
Working on a film that explores or even touches upon something as sensitive and a fresh wound like 26/11 Mumbai attacks, you cannot skip proper research. But for Katrina, Phantom's director Kabir and writer Zaidi came to her rescue. "All the research was done by Kabir and Zaidi. I knew about 26/11 incident, but Kabir told me about the facts of the devious plannings behind the incident and people the government believes are responsible, which I had no clue about. For me to do my own research wouldn't have been right as they had their own reliable research. I left that part to Kabir and Zaidi."
"Working on the movie added to my knowledge. There are facts that are out there but we choose to ignore. Maybe not ignore, 26/11 was one incident everyone is concerned about but we could have known about these things if we choose to read. But we do not. So for that matter, Phantom was a learning experience for me," she adds.
Several people feel that Phantom's trailer is a bit too jingoistic in its feel. Katrina, says the film is not. "Sometimes because of the experience, filmmakers and producers bring the highest drama and emotion in the trailer. But the film is really not jingoistic at all."
Read: Review of Phantom trailer
Read: Pakistan bans Phantom