Should work in spaces we are comfortable in, says Katrina Kaif on being a ‘glamourous heroine’
Bollywood actor Katrina Kaif who is riding high on the box office success of Salman Khan-starrer Tiger Zinda Hai, also has major upcoming projects Aamir Khan-Amitabh Bachchan’s Thugs of Hindostan, Aanand L Rai’s Zero, alongside Shah Rukh Khan and ABCD 3 opposite Varun Dhawan.
Hoping that it’s a “new chapter” in her life, the actor says she is feeling “connected and excited” about her work all over again. We caught up with Katrina to talk about life, career, her sister Isabelle’s Bollywood debut, and more.
Throughout your career, you have been looked upon as a glamorous heroine…
I’ve never agreed with tags anyway, and I disagree hugely with that tag [of being a glamorous heroine]. We don’t need to be carbon copies of each other. You don’t need to be slotted into a category just because certain colleagues of yours have done a particular kind of films while you haven’t. We should be working in spaces where we are comfortable. Also, at different times, there are phases in life when people do distinct things. There will be a phase when I will do something different, and all of a sudden, people will comment on that, as they would feel it’s a departure from the kind of roles I had done earlier.
But has that ever annoyed you, especially when you try your hand at diverse parts?
Right from the beginning, whether it was New York (2009), Raajneeti (2010), a comedy like Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani (2009) or Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011), I have always looked to be a part of cinema that’s creatively satisfying. At that early stage, I was choosing those roles opposed to more glamorous or showpiece roles. But then, a few big commercial and ‘glamorous’ films happened, and that followed with me being labelled with certain tags. Honestly, I feel people do it more out of a lack of something to write, so such tags are more habitual and not really necessary. There is no need for me to dwell on it too much. I am happy as a person and with the kind of work I am doing. But I am never satisfied and want to do better work, so, I am always trying to push myself in the search for something better.
You are also preparing to work with Varun Dhawan. How do you feel about that?
I am really excited to work in that film, because it is important for me. With regard to Varun, I have known him for a very long time and he is delightful. He is a very genuine, hard-working and positive person. It’s going to be really fun. Karan [Johar] was telling me the other day that Varun is going to be bouncing off the wall, so I have to calm him down. The film is in a great space and a fun opportunity for both of us.
You’ve been consistently working with the three Khans. Have you paused to think about it?
To be honest, not really. But I consider myself really fortunate and find it incredible that I am working with people who are on top of their game. They can only help me become better. You don’t last for 25-30 years [in the industry] without being damn good at your job. Being that passionate is no joke. Plus, the actor who you are working with is very important, as you are creating something together. I am here to do exactly that; to try and better myself and also surround myself with those who are the best in their field.
What do you think about the upward climb your career has taken, especially post Tiger Zinda Hai?
I really hope this is a new phase or a new chapter of my career, because that’s what I want to do. I want to keep moving forward. I read somewhere that if you are stuck in the same place, then you are dead. The flow of life is to keep moving forward. You can’t expect new experiences unless you do something different. It doesn’t mean I have to look for anything outlandish. Instead, the idea is to find a balance within the framework of what appeals to me instinctively. I want to try different things and be in a space where I am constantly learning, evolving and growing. For a few years, I had taken a backseat and I wasn’t connecting too much with work, but now, it has come back to me. I now find satisfaction, happiness and fulfilment on the sets. Now, I find myself much more satisfied.
As your sister, Isabelle, prepares for her Bollywood debut, are you ready to play the elder, protective sibling?
I am playing the normal part that any sister would play (laughs). Isabelle is really happy and excited, and is working very hard. I have been in the industry for so many years, so there are a lot of places where I can help and impart my suggestions. But the good thing is that she is independent and a strong-minded person. Isabelle’s take on things, besides the path that she wants to navigate is clear in her mind. Obviously, there will be certain struggles that she’d have to face on her own, but it’s great that she comes with a huge amount of formal training, as she has spent four years at Lee Strasberg (Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute, New York). I am very happy about it as she is coming in prepared.
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