She was once Salman Khan's arm candy. And got her movies courtesy her beau. But that's no longer true.. if it ever was. She's just signing a two-movie multi-crore deal with a corporate house. And has big movies like Race and Singh Is Kinng coming up. She even has a Yash Raj film in her kitty.
Today, she makes more news for her professional moves than her personal life, though that doesn't stop the grapevine from buzzing overtime. In the comfort of her home, over chai and cookies, Katrina Kaif talks shop.. and shares a few heart secrets.. with Hiren Kotwani.
What's with the rumour that Salman Khan slapped you in a coffee shop?
I can only say that those who write such stories are wasting their talent. Given their imagination, they can always turn scriptwriters. The film industry needs such good writers. <b1>
Okay, so how would you react if your man got violent with you?
I'm a pretty strong girl myself and I'll give it right back. So he'd better watch out. (Laughs)
Do you mean Salman Khan?
I mean anyone who tries to misbehave with me.
But he's the one you're dating?
I've never opened up on my personal life. And I'd like to see who can get him to talk on this subject. We prefer to maintain a dignified silence instead of clarifying and giving undue importance to such speculation.
But apparently you're doing an item number in Wanted - Dead and Alive at his request?
I'm not doing any item number in Wanted. Prabhudeva and his brother Raju Sundaram offered me a south film. But I won't be doing that either.
You were with Salman in London when his wax statue was to being unveiled but we didn't see you at Madame Tussauds' on D-day.
I went to London to see my sister. She had just delivered a baby .
The buzz is that Salman Khan has forbidden you from doing more films with Akshay Kumar. True?
(Snappily) Untrue. <b2>
Ever been in love?
Yes, I've been in love. It's a wonderful feeling.. something that can't be expressed through words. One has to feel it to understand it.
What happened? The relationship didn't work out?
Did anyone say I'm not in love? I could be.. (Smiles)
With Salman Khan?
(Laughs) Bas, I'm not saying anything more on the subject.
Would you marry an actor?
(Exasperatedly) There you go again. Love and marriage can't be planned. It happens at it's own time.. in it's own way. You can't say you won't get involved with someone because of his choice of career.
Okay. You've just signed a two-movie deal with Studio 18. That's quite an ace up your sleeve?
I don't know about aces but I'm very happy right now. I've got more than I could have asked for. I've nice working with Studio 18. They've distributed some of my films in the past and will market a couple more in the coming months.
Also, I'll be working with directors I'm comfortable working with, like Anees Bazmee and Abbas-Mustan. They've targeted one film for 2009 and one for the year after.
You're said to be commanding a price of Rs 3 crore per film. Can't you scale that down so you could do more heroine-centric projects like Priyanka Chopra and Kareena Kapoor?
I don't know how much anyone else charges so I can't speak for them. You can ask for any amount but it's not necessary you'll be paid that much. You get only what you deserve.
I want to enjoy my work. Working with a good team is a great learning experience. I'm only 23 and at the moment I don't want the pressure of carrying a film on my shoulders.
You have a big release coming up, Race, in which you've supposed to have done some spine-chilling stunts.
I have only one major action scene in the climax. It required me to be strapped to a car speeding along, upside down. I remember feeling very claustrophobic. Frankly, I didn't know till the last minute that they weren't using a duplicate. I ended up giving four takes for the scene. But I have to admit it was a big thrill because this was a first for me. <b3>
We're told that following your differences with Bipasha Basu you'd made it clear to the producers that you won't appear in any promotional events with her.
Rubbish! Bipasha and I may not be the best of friends but we're not at war. Where's the time to get friendly I do my work without any hassles. That's it! The only promotional event I've attended so far is the Voice of India talent hunt. I was told everyone would be there. But a day before the event, I learnt from Anil that he wasn't coming. It was only Saif (Ali Khan), Akshaye (Khanna), Sameera (Reddy) and me.
You must have been shocked when you were ousted from the Yash Raj movie being directed by Siddharth Raaj Anand?
Not really Given the complexities in the plot, I'd guessed they'd overshoot the stipulated length. It's a good thing we didn't shoot otherwise it would have been a loss of time, money and effort.
Had they shot with me they might have wanted to retain the scenes and then the film would have become too long. It's better they thought of doing away with my character completely. <b4>
You were compensated with a solo heroine project.
I didn't anticipate it. It's a nice romantic film that will reveal a new side to Kabir Khan. He has his sensibilities right and will stick to subject.
Are you doing London Dreams?
No, I don't have the dates. I have four films to complete before the Studio 18 project takes off.
You've done three films with Akshay Kumar already and there's Singh is Kinng coming up. Is there a conscious attempt to make a hit pair even though at 40 plus he looks years older than you?
If the audience likes watching us together and if we continue to get substantial roles, why not? As long as the combination works, nothing else matters. Besides, I don't think Akshay looks old.
You've also been paired with Salman Khan and Govinda before. Is there a dearth of younger actors?
No, there's no lack of heroes. There's Shahid Kapur with whom I was almost paired. John Abraham with whom I'm doing Kabir Khan's film. And Ranbir Kapoor who's my co-star in Rajkumar Santoshi's next.
But John Abraham is 35 and you look taller than Shahid Kapur.
That leaves only Ranbir Kapoor. John doesn't look 35. Shahid, I haven't interacted with, so I can't comment. But Ranbir is quite tall.
Aren't you a little too westernised to play a gaon ki gori convincingly?
(Frowns) I have a fair complexion but that shouldn't be a deterrent.
Your sister Isabel looks set to follow in your footsteps?
She's only 17 and still studying. My parents wouldn't want her to start thinking of a career already . Yes, she does accompany me to shoots and parties but studies are top of her mind now. And work is my priority, got it.