‘Once I was wary of experimenting.. now I want to explore’

On a hotline from Turkey, Katrina Kaif talks about her recent highs.. and lows.. with Hiren Kotwani.
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Updated on Feb 23, 2009 05:33 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | ByHiren Kotwani, Mumbai

On a hotline from Turkey, Katrina Kaif talks about her recent highs.. and lows.. with Hiren Kotwani.

Congratulations, you’ve topped the HT Brunch poll, with 35 per cent votes. You must feel on top of the world?
Sure, it feels great. It means that people have liked my films.

You’ve polled almost twice as many votes as your closest competitor Priyanka Chopra (second spot with 19 per cent) and Kareena Kapoor (fourth spot with seven per cent). What do you attribute your popularity to?
I don’t live my life by comparing myself with others. Tomorrow, someone else will score better. And it won’t break my heart. I’ve never had any great expectations. But it’s exciting that so many avenues are opening up for me now. Each film takes me into a whole new world. At one time, I was uncertain. Now I’m sure I can grow as an actress.

2008 began with a hit, Race..
(Laughs) This year will begin with Yash Raj Film’s New York. Only after we started shooting for it did I see Kabir Khan’s directorial debut, Kabul Express, and I was impressed. New York took me to another level altogether and I made some good friends.

It took you a while to get talking with John Abraham. Not surprising given Salman Khan’s animosity towards him and yours towards his steady date, Bipasha Basu.
Why only John. It took me a while to click with the whole team. We were all strangers initially but slowly we became one unit.

Right now the jewel in your crown is the Rob Cohen directed Jewel of India. But with producer Firoz Nadiadwala making offers to Hollywood beauties, Cameron Diaz, Eva Mendes and Monica Belucci too, won’t you eventually get sidelined?
It’s too early to talk about Jewel of India but Rob’s take on cinema is enlightening. Apart from being a knowledgeable filmmaker, he’s also a charming person.

Have you hired a Hollywood agent yet?
What for? I’m happy with the work I’m getting here in Bollywood. I’ve really slogged to get to this position and the journey is not over yet.

But the buzz is that your movie journey is coming to an end.. Salman Khan is keen on a 2009 wedding?
(Exasperatedly) Why are you bringing this up again? Haven’t I said work is my priority? Apart from the movies I’m already working on, I have two projects with Studio 18. Abbas-Mustan will be making the first. As soon as the script is locked, we will proceed. Then I have two films with UTV.

There were a lot of expectations from the Salman-Katrina jodi but neither Hello nor Yuvvraaj worked.
Hello was just a guest appearance, a couple of hours work for my good friend Atul Agnihotri. I wouldn’t like to comment on Yuvvraaj because Subhashji is a senior director. It is better that he speaks on this matter.

So Salman and you won’t be doing any more films together?
We will if there’s a suitable subject. We can’t team up for a movie just because we’re good friends.

There’s a Katrina Kaif lookalike, Zarine, in Veer?
I think it’s very sweet of him (Salman) to take her. I’m already working on Ajab Prem Ki Gajab Kahani and Rajniti so I couldn’t possibly shoot for Veer simultaneously.

At one time you were mostly paired with Akshay Kumar. Now you have just one film together, De Dhana Dhan.
One has to branch out.. work with other actors. Akki and I share a great equation but after a point everyone would be asking why we had to only work with each other. So now, we’ve decided to do only one film a year.

Deepika Padukone was being called the new Katrina Kaif in Akshay’s professional life.. then Chandni Chowk to China flopped.
(Sternly) Don’t be judgemental, they’re still doing one more film which could be a big hit.

Seems you are suddenly switching to more serious cinema with directors like Rajkumar Santoshi and Prakash Jha. Apparently you turned down Rohit Shetty’s next movie because you don’t want to be just the glam quotient in yet another comedy.
I’ve never shared my reasons for not doing a project. All I can say was that earlier I was wary of experimenting. But now I want to explore.. see what kind of cinema works best for me.

Just for the record, Rajji’s Ajab Prem ki Ghajab Kahani is a romantic comedy with not a single serious moment. As for Rajniti, I was blown away by Prakashji’sscript. It’s amazing how well he handles realistic issues within a commercial format. And he’s so organised even in the most difficult of situations.

Apparently, your character in Rajniti has been modelled on Congress President Sonia Gandhi?
My character goes through several life-changing events and learns from every experience along the way. She’s not inspired by Sonia Gandhi.. you can draw parallels with so many others.

Buzz is that your cosy dinners in Ooty with Ranbir Kapoor during the shoot of Ajab Prem.. had Deepika Padukone come hurrying down.
Where do you hear all this stuff? Ranbir is a great co-star who believes in team spirit. His excitement over the film equals mine.

At a time when your career’s going great guns, why do you need to do a cameo in Blue?
I did it for a friend.

Reportedly, you lost out of a Yash Raj project with Shah Rukh Khan that was to be announced on your birthday, after the infamous brawl.
The Chopras have been a part of the industry for 40 years. Just because they don’t ask for clarifications doesn’t mean people can say anything.

It is believed that Asin is being considered as a replacement for you.
That I don’t know about.

Apparently, you were uncomfortable over her growing friendship with Salman Khan so you flew down to Chandigarh and landed on the London Dreams set.
Why would I need to check up on anyone? Who has the time? I went to Chandigarh for personal reasons.. just like I’ve gone to Ajmer Shariff many times before. We’re all grown ups. I don’t think I need to comment on such reports.

After Bipasha Basu, now Priyanka Chopra has problems with you after you insisted on performing the grand finale at an award function last month. You even chose the same colour as hers for your act.
That’s one of the most ridiculous things going round. Nothing like that happened. I performed because it’s a respectable function.. the production values were good and so was the deal.

May be your rivals are finding it hard to digest your popularity since you don’t even have a beauty pageant crown to boast of?
I don’t think my contemporaries can be so petty. I just wish I wouldn’t get associated with such silly rumours. I’m here to work. Period.

Apparently you are also grooming your sister, Isabel, for a career in Bollywood and have got her enrolled in an acting institute in New York.
I repeat what I told you last time. Isabel is too young to be focussing on anything other than academics right now. You must shoot your informers in the head for the kind of rumours they have been spreading about me.

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