Katrina Kaif and Akshay Kumar chit chat about their films together and on-screen chemistry. Hiren Kotwani caught up with this superhit screen jodi to understand what makes them click.
Q: Your first film together was Humko Deewana Kar Gaye. What were your thoughts about each other, given that he’s an established actor and she’s a newcomer, not well-versed with Hindi?
AK: She’s a greedy actress, for roles, characters that challenge her, sound scripts. I like that trait in newcomers, whether actors or directors, that burning ambition to make it big.
KK: I was nervous. We didn’t really interact much in the beginning. I was a bit, like why does he do some things he does, and then I understood he’s sincere about and completely focused on his work.
Q: But it was only after the Namastey London that you two became the hit jodi.
AK: Namastey London was her film. When I read the script, I pointed it out to Vipul (Shah). But I had no issues about it, since it was basically my idea. Not many people know that.
KK: Really? I didn’t know that either. Thank you so much.
Q: As a senior actor, weren’t you apprehensive about a newcomer doing the movie which revolved around the girl?
AK: It’s all about the box-office, getting the script right, clicking with the audience. The story works as a whole, so I wasn’t perturbed that Namastey London revolved around Katrina. I don’t choose films according to the length of the role, but the strength it has in the storyline. Khakee, for example. I liked the character that Rajkumar Santoshi had written and told him that I wanted to do it. In fact, it was initially written for Paresh Rawal.
KK: When I came in, I was a little scattered.. somewhere I wasn’t too sure if I was in the right path. Honestly, Salman (Khan) and Akshay have been strong support in my career. So yes, I do owe a lot to them for the success I’ve achieved.
Q: In the interim, it was reported that you don’t want to do too many films together. Was it to avoid over-exposure as a pair and do limited movies together?
AK: I never said that. The right scripts and roles have to come our way. I’ve worked with other actresses, so why shouldn’t she work with other actors?
Q: Apparently, Akshay thinks of Katrina as his lucky mascot. That’s why he wanted her to do a guest appearance in Blue.
AK: I didn’t request her to do Blue. It was too small a role.
KK: The producer, Hiren Gandhi, is a good friend. So when he asked, I couldn’t say no.
Q: Does Katrina discuss film offers with Akshay? Does he play mentor and give her appropriate career guidance?
KK: Well, depends on whether he’s in town. Generally, I do discuss my films with Salman and Akshay.
AK: She’s smart and wised up on how to go about her career. And going by her choice of films and how they have fared, she’s doing very well.
Q: Akshay is also co-producing De Dana Dan. How much was that influential in getting Katrina on board for the film?
KK: Is he? Then I want more money.
AK: Yes, why not? After the movie makes money, that is. She wanted to do a film with Priyadarshan. He and Santoshi are the two directors one must work with, if one wants to understand commercial cinema. She spoke to Priyan and he decided to cast her in the film.
KK:Thank you. I did want to work with Priyadarshan. Yes, initially it took me some time to settle in the set-up. But soon, it was fun working with him, he’s a fantastic director.
Q: Which other co-stars look and work best with either of you?
KK: Apart from me, it’s got to be Kareena Kapoor.
AK: She looks good with Salman (Khan), Ranbir (Kapoor).
KK: John Abraham, Abhishek Bachchan... (smiles) Name everyone in the industry...
Q: What about her strengths and weaknesses as an actress?
AK: Her biggest strength is her focus on her work. I’ve seen some portions of Rajneeti and I must say she’s wonderful. For someone who didn’t know Hindi to start with, and to do that kind of a role, she’s too good. She’ll emerge as the surprise package of the film. As for negatives, she’s very well aware of that and she’s doing a fine job of covering them up. She’s very sharp and a fast learner.