Pretty woman? Yup, sure. Mrs Salman Khan some day? Not sure. Actress of calibre? Umm, let’s see, it’s possible. Cool conversationalist? Yes, yes. So, here’s Katrina Kaif in conversation with Nikhil Taneja whose dil went dhak dhak dhak.
Salman Khan has mellowed down. Are you responsible for that?
I don’t think so. If he has mellowed down, that’s wonderful. On occasion, the media can be (struggles to find the apt word) aggressive and write something hurtful. But at the end of the day, there’s no need to be upset. I’m glad that he’s more comfortable with the media.. because I think no one is against him.
How would you describe your chemistry with him?
(Pause) What do you mean?
I’m talking on screen, of course.
See, it’s being said that Yuvvraaj is the first film in which we’ve been teamed romantically. But I would like to point out that I’m in the film 100 per cent because of Subhash Ghai.. and not because of the pairing, which is secondary. And yeah, I think the chemistry between us is very spontaneous. It doesn’t look forced.
Has the off-screen chemistry helped in achieving that?
(Smiles) Since we’ve known each other for many years now, there’s an equation. He’s a very, very special person, you have to give him a lot of leeway, space and understanding. And that’s exactly what I do when we work together as well.
He’s even signed on Zarine Khan in Veer who looks like you.
(Laughs) Isn’t that flattering? I think that’s so sweet. I even helped her with her make-up during her screen test. She’s a lovely girl and I hope she does very well.. though I don’t think she looks like me. But if Salman misses me and wants to work with girls who look like me, that’s so sweet.
You’ve said he is very unromantic.
I was speaking as someone who knows him, and not in an intimate way.
You were supposed to do all your interviews together, but now you are..
(Cuts in) No that wasn’t the promotional strategy at all. I’ve always given interviews on my own. But yeah, we are doing a few interviews together for news channels in Delhi. Having said that, Salman’s too unpredictable. (Laughs) I’m afraid to do interviews with him.. you never know what he’ll end up saying.
Subhash Ghai has said that there’s not much of a role for the female lead in Yuvvraaj.
Now, where did you get that? He’s a legendary director and has a reputation for showcasing his heroines. I wanted that experience, even though I knew I wasn’t the central character. (Laughs) Salman has pointed out too that Yuvraaj can’t obviously be about me.
The critics had written you off as just a pretty face.. did that hurt?
I don’t think I’ve faced an unreasonable amount of criticism. My initial goal was to do many commercial movies, so I could be well known in the interiors of India. I’ll be experimenting with performance-based roles in 2009. I don’t want the audience to just think that she dances well and looks pretty.
Priyanka Chopra has alluded to you.. without taking your name.. when she said she would rather be known for her performances than for giving seven hits.
(Smiles) I see everything in life with the glass half-full, not half-empty. If you think everyone wants to attack you personally, you’ll be a very lonely and unhappy person. So I would like to think she wasn’t talking about me.
Have you come to terms with catfights?
Most of these are egged on by the media. I didn’t come in with a big launch film which shot me to the top immediately. I had to take baby steps, and now I’m being offered good work..so I’m very happy.
You did the Temptations tour with Shah Rukh Khan. Did you discuss the Salman Khan fight with him?
No, of course not. He’s a thorough professional…we did a great show together. In fact, it was the first time I went on stage without getting the jitters.
Have you tried to resolve the issue between them?
I don’t know, baba. This isn’t about me.. it’s about Salman and Shah Rukh. I know Salman for many years but I don’t control him. (Smiles) I don’t even have control over him. It’s a matter he has to sort out on his own.
Has the recession affected your price?
No, not yet. I don’t think it will either, since I didn’t over-inflate my price.
Are you aware that Bipasha Basu will be paid a higher fee that you for performing at a hotel on New Year’s eve?
To be honest, this game is very silly and childish. Very, very childish. I don’t like it. I have six sisters and several responsibilities. I have to make decisions which secure my future. If someone gets less money, more money or the same money, good for her. It’s not a game. I don’t care who is getting paid what. I don’t care who is doing what.
Is it possible to sustain yourself in Bollywood with such an enclosed attitude?
Why not? I’m not Mother Teresa. I have my insecurities and problems like any normal person. I won’t sustain myself anywhere by pulling others down.
Arbaaz Khan is producing a movie in which he wanted to cast you opposite Salman Khan. It’s rumoured that Malaika Arora-Khan wasn’t happy about this.
That’s probably the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. I can’t think of one reason why she’d have a problem with me.
You seem to know how to discourage controversies.
Why would I want to encourage controverises? A lot of people have asked me how I manage to stay out of drama in my personal life. It’s because I want to avoid drama at any cost.
Okay, you’ve sent your sister Isabel for an acting course to New York. Has she expressed interest in Bollywood?
I haven’t sent her.. she wanted to go, I just helped her to get admission. It’s a wonderful opportunity for her. She doesn’t know what she wants to do.. she may try her luck in Hollywood as well.
Do any of your other five sisters want to act too?
(Laughs) No, they are all very settled in their respective fields. They have absolutely no interest in all this. Isabel is the only one who likes being around here.
It’s rumoured that you want to marry after you finish your current assignments.
That’s ridiculous. That’s people talking nonsense, as they usually do. I have six films on hand. I’ve agreed to do four more movies.. so it will take me a while to finish them.
Will you ever talk openly about your relationship with Salman Khan?