In love, you forget social norms, break rules, adjust, compromise, follow heart.. So says Salman’s girlfriend.
New York got you good reviews?
Yeah, and it’s a hit too. It was kind of poignant, almost symbolic, that the day we wrapped out our three-month schedule there, Barack Obama was elected President. Post 9/11 and the global meltdown, there was a movement for change. America was looking for a man who could pioneer this wave and found him in Obama.
Director Kabir Khan and your co-actor Irrfan Khan have admitted to being detained when in the U S because their name is Khan.
Have you faced any such discrimination because your name is Kaif?
New York was warm and welcoming. But when I was in London, in my pre-college days, there was an unspoken feeling of segregation between Asians and non-Asians that made me feel a bit of an outsider.
Don’t you feel like an outsider in India too because of your anglicised accent and looks?
No, people here have opened their hearts to me. Their support is evident in the voting polls.
Yeah, you recently topped a poll for the Sexiest Asian Woman..
I think it was Race that tilted the scale. My fans saw a different Katrina and they liked her. But I think here people vote for who they like as opposed to the west where they are governed by the definition of the word. Personally, I’d prefer being called desirable to sexy since I don’t want to alienate my family audience. Maybe 20 years from now, I’ll find it sweet.
Will you reappear in the Race sequel?
Let’s see, the script is still being written.
You’ve said that Maya, your character in New York, was a lot like you.
Yeah, she’s an NRI who’d grown up in America. I know some may question her decision later in the film to stand by Sam but I endorse it because in love there is no right or wrong. When you are in a relationship, you forget acceptable social norms.
You break all the rules and just follow your heart.
And what if your dreams and desires were thwarted by the man you love.. would you still follow your heart?
That’s a difficult decision that only the heart can make. But why be pessimistic? When two people care for each other, they can always arrive at an agreeable solution. Love is all about adjustments and compromises.
Recently, when Salman Khan was questioned about the ambitious Ms Kaif, he insisted that you’d have been happier as a model. True?
(Laughs) Well, modelling would have meant a lighter workload. As a movie star, you have more responsibilities and, being a sensitive person, I react to the stress in an emotional manner.
Did you enjoy your second innings on Salman’s show, Dus Ka Dum?
Coming on the show again made me realise how comfortable a host Salman is today. He’s found his space on television. His energy was so high and unpredictable that it was hard to match it.
Would you ever host a TV show?
Not a talk show in a studio but a few years from now, I wouldn’t mind a travel show. I’ve been around.
Yeah, you supposedly grew up in 28 countries..
(Laughs) Eighteen actually. That’s why I feel like I belong to the world at large and not any one country. I’ve met people from different backgrounds. And today, when I have the means and position, I’m reaching out to them. My mother is a social worker and I got actively involved with her orphanage last year.
What was it like growing up with six sisters?
It’s a great blessing to have the support of six strong individuals. My sisters are fearless, confident and content in their own space. Every time I spend time with them, I come back appreciative of what I have.
Your younger sister Isabella aspires to follow in your footsteps.
Isabella is studying drama and is more interested in acting, singing and dancing on stage than Bollywood.
You have a brother too. How does he feel when he’s out with all of you?
(Laughs) He’s like our big caretaker.We sisters are about a year apart and similar in height and build. It’s quite a sight when he’s out walking with seven girls.
After last year’s headline making party, buzz is that you are planning to bring in your birthday more quietly this year with your family?
I don’t know. My work could get delayed and I could end up staying here. But all my sisters will be in London on July 19 and it would be nice to spend the day with the family.
Did you do any scuba diving with the sharks when shooting for Blue?
(Laughs) No, since it’s only a special guest appearance, my daring was limited to dancing.
What’s happening with Sanjay Gadhvi’s 7 Days in Paris. Apparently, you turned down the film because you were scared by the Hindi dialogue.
There’s not even one per cent truth in these rumours. I can guarantee that I can deliver any dialogue, 100 per cent.
Yeah, we’re told in Rajniti you’re speaking chaste Hindi.
I’ve been working on my lines. More than content, I want to get the intonation right. Director Prakash Jha sits with me late and we work on the dialogue together. Rajniti is an interesting thriller. And wearing a sari made me feel so empowered.
Apparently your character is modelled on Sonia Gandhi?
There is a political angle but the character is fictitious.
Tell us about Ajab Prem Ki Gajab Kahani.. the title is intriguing.
It’s a Rajkumar Santoshi kind of a comedy.. Chaplinesque, tongue-in-cheek humour in the Andaz Apna Apna mould.
Will it make Ranbir Kapoor and you a hit jodi?
(Laughs) I hope so.
And when do we get to see Salman and you together on screen again?
The script has to be something special because that’s what determines the chemistry between co-stars.
Akshay Kumar and you have great on-screen chemistry.
Akshay and I don’t even speak to each other for three-four months after we finish a film. Then, we meet on another set and things just fall into place naturally. A good script and director helps.
There’s been a lot of talk about your friendship with John Abraham that you have dismissed as “Chinese whispers”..
They are that. The nature of the film industry is such that rumours come with the job. They have been buzzing since the Marilyn Monroe days and there’s not much you can do but dismiss them with a laugh. As long as the people involved know the facts, it’s okay.
But doesn’t it make your working relationship with a co-star awkward?
We’re professionals and since we know the truth, why would we be uncomfortable? New York was a big step for all of us. We believed in the film and supported each other. It helped that the whole team was under 33 and there were no starry tantrums or ego clashes.