One of the sessions that every one looks forward to at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summitis is the one with Bollywood actors and actresses. From Shah Rukh Khan to Aamir Khan, Deepika Padukone to Katrina Kaif, some of the film industry’s biggest names field questions, chat and make the audiences laugh.
This year, superstar Amitabh Bachchan will be in conversation with Karan Johar. As we prepare for the upcoming summit, here are some interesting things said by actors and actresses at past summits.
Shah Rukh Khan, 2007
The actor and director make for a hilarious combination on any given day, but at Bollywood’s first outing at the summit, Johar’s sharp questions and Khan’s equally witty answers had the audience enthralled.
“I haven’t been to a gathering called a ‘Summit’ before,” said Khan, surveying the packed hall. “I read the names of the people who have spoken at the Summit and I wondered, why me? Why was I included in such an important list? I guess I’m the only one among them who has to wear makeup before going to work every day.”
As the audience dissolved in laughter, Shah Rukh added, “So I’m going to be very intellectually advanced today. I’m going to use words like ‘synergy’. And the one that really turns me on: ‘three sixty degrees’.”
Sanjay Dutt, 2008
“Indian jail manuals have not changed in the last 100 years,” said actor Sanjay Dutt at the 2008 summit, openly discussing his time in prison for the first time. “I was locked up in my cell from 12 noon to 7am the next day on Independence Day, because the manual says so, even though I, as an Indian, wanted to celebrate my country’s Independence Day.”
The actor also remembered his special prison friends — a little sparrow and a big rat. “It took me three weeks to get the sparrow to eat from my hands,” he said. “I named the rat General Saab because he would come everyday at 11pm, collect food and leave sharp at 12.15.”
Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan, 2009
Before the actors were married, the power couple made some candid revelations about their relationship as well as their careers.
Asked how the love story started, Said said, “She said a few very funny, outspoken, politically incorrect things and I thought — she’s so refreshing!”
Kareena revealed the reason behind her size-zero look for Tashan. Apparently, the press wrote that Kareena looked overweight in the Ye mera dil song in Don. She decided to change her body shape.
Commenting on her size zero avatar which was grabbing the headlines, she said, “I am where I am because of my body of work, not just my body!”
Rishi Kapoor and Ranbir Kapoor, 2010
The father-son duo talked about the kind of relationship they have and both were not afraid to speak what was on their mind.
While Rishi praised Ranbir for not playing the “bubblegum hero”,Ranbir confesses that he has his share of confrontations with his dad. “Like any father and son, we, too, have contrasting opinions and we do have confrontations. But, one needs to stick to one’s beliefs while being open to those of others. He (Rishi) has taught me how important it is to have independent ideas and he respects the fact that, at times, we don’t agree on some things,” he says.
Vidya Balan and Frahan Akhtar, 2011
Both Vidya and Farhan spoke candidly about how they view their relatively newly acquired sex symbol tag.
“I enjoy and celebrate my body,” said Balan, fresh from the success of Dirty Picture, which had just released. When asked about his transition from a director to an actor, Akhtar said, “Everyone at some level wants to be a sex symbol. No one says, ‘I detest being one.”
Kajol and Ajay Devgn, 2013
Bollywood’s powerhouse actor couple let down their hair at the summit, talking about everything under the sun.
“I saw him on the first day of the shoot of Hulchul and was taken aback. I asked the director, ‘he’s the hero’? I was 19 and didn’t think highly of people who didn’t talk. I had an image of the hero, who is larger-than-life and has 10 people around him. I realized later he only talks when he has something to say, said Kajol, describing her famously reticent spouse.
“She’s a great mother and wife, and such a good actress that she complements every actor she works with,” said Ajay about Kajol.
Kareena Kapoor and Kangana Ranaut, 2015
The two actresses, both at the top of their game, had a frank discussion with director Imtiaz Ali over the pressures of work.
“It hits you emotionally and mentally,” said Kangana. “When everyone says pack up, you are left feeling empty and cheated because you just can’t get out of the frame of mind of that person. You don’t know what to do with yourself.”
But Kareena had a different take, saying she is able to switch between the character she is playing and her own self. “ I don’t know how to explain because I live in the moment. I become that person and then after the shot, I just go back to looking at my phone.”