Its been almost a year since we saw the exquisite actress on the silver screen,but if the stunning swings and twirls as a circus performer in Dhoom 3 is anything to go by,then we are in for another round of spellbinding performance by KATRINA KAIF.
Barring the fact that she is a tad too thin,Katrina Kaif is looking as alluring as always in a skin fitting jeans and top. Tell the actress that she needs to put on a bit of weight and she surprisingly agrees. I know its damn irritating because generally I am a little more full. I can hardly feel any flesh now. And I am desperately trying to put on some weight, she chuckles,adding,To make sure I dont lose more weight I have started eating a big bowl of milk and rice. Its easy to eat and helps to put on weight. Pinching the flesh on her arms and calves,the actress says good-humouredly,Come back! Where have you gone?
Kaif,who came at a time when foreign actresses were just considered frills to the movies,steadily rose to greater heights. She went on to become the queen of the marquee,working with the best heroes in business Salman Khan,Akshay Kumar,Ranbir Kapoor,Hrithik Roshan,Shah Rukh Khan and now,Aamir Khan. Her story has a fairytale quality to it.
The actress is presently quite excited about her once-in-a-lifetime role in Dhoom 3 that of a circus performer for which she went about preparing after her last film,Jab Tak Hain Jaan,a year ago.
Seated on the fourth floor of Yash Raj Studios the actress is eager to talk about the third installment of the racy Dhoom franchise. Her role of a gymnast is a first-of-a-kind role attempted by a Hindi film actress. I have put myself out there and am waiting for the public verdict, she says.
Strangely,the promotions for Dhoom 3,which is up for release next week appears to be very low key. What is your take on this strategy?
Its an interesting promotion strategy that Aamir (Khan) and Adi (producer Aditya Chopra) are trying. I am sure they must have had some marketing plan in mind. Both feel that every film is different and the marketing strategy has to comply; they are trying something different with Dhoom 3.
Its for the first time that a Hindi film heroine will be seen playing the role of a circus performer/gymnast in a film. What was your reaction when the script was narrated to you?
It is going to be Aamir Khans best role! Yes,that was my first reaction. Otherwise,I could see that Adi and Victor (Vijay Krishna Acharya,the films director) were very clear about their vision and what they wanted to do. And that kind of instantly jelled with me. Also,the film came to me at a time when I was really in that space to do it. I could see myself playing the part right away as music and dance are a passion for me and something I enjoy tremendously. I was also quite clear how I wanted to go about playing the character from the beginning. It was a vision I had in my head and one which matched their vision. And I had the right platform and support to do it.
Could you elaborate on your role in the film?
I am a performer in a circus which Aamir owns. Its a cops-and-robbers thriller,but there is a story weaved around it also. The scale of the circus and everything shown in the film is huge. Adi and Victor wanted to pitch the film on a high level and not just kind of get away with it because it was a franchise So,I also wanted to put in that effort and try to make it look a little different. My intention was to look like a gymnast and perform and dance like one.
The song Malang in which you are performing on hoops and straps looks stunning. Were you scared performing that high in the air?
I wasnt scared at all,because I had prepared myself and trained with the best. The only time it seemed scary was when we were shooting for it because we had trained at a lower height. The altitude was higher during the shooting,we were almost 50 feet in the air.
What you have seen of the song is just one per cent,the rest is saved for the film. All the spinning,hoops and straps may look impressive,but I can tell you that it was a lot harder than what it looks. It takes a long time to train anything on a loop and I had to hang my body from one with only my feet around it. The shots were wide,with me more than 40 feet in the air no harness,no ropes,nothing!
Did any kind of research go into your character?
Besides seeing some circus performances,I also got to see the performances of those who were coming down to train me. These trainers came from abroad for the shooting of Malang. There was a team of 30-35 people who were performing the song,training at the same time,executing it and looking into the safety and co-ordination of all the other artistes who were on stage. A lot of work has gone into Malang.
Have you see the earlier Dhoom flicks and what did you think of them?
I have seen both Dhoom and Dhoom 2,but I liked the latter better. The franchise has gotten better with every film,and I feel that should keep happening with any franchise. A sequel should take the film one step higher,otherwise you are just making a franchise for just the sake of it.
How was it working with Aamir,who is also known to be a perfectionist?
Aamir is an artiste who just wants to do his work. Hes genuine! Instead of calling him Mr Perfectionist I would say hes more genuine that anything. You can see that hes putting his best in everything and doesnt come on the sets unprepared. It pushes you to do equally well.
Is there anything that you imbibed from him as an actor?
The scenes in Dhoom 3 are such that it came very naturally to me. But I must say that there was a lot of competition between us when shooting the Malang song,especially when we were on the hoops and straps in the circus. We would see who is spinning faster or who is hanging on longer and stuff like that. It was healthy and a fun competition and in that sense it was nice,because he was putting in his work from his side and I,mine.
What do you recall as the most memorable part of the shoot?
Every day of the film stands out. The entire shooting was like an event and a big challenge. For most part of it,there was a lot of physicality involved. One had to always maintain a high level of fitness and energy and be very charged about it. When the film got delayed by two-three months,we had to maintain that fitness and energy for quite some time.
What was the training for a gymnast like in terms of diet and workouts?
A diet may work for a certain character,but in this film I play an acrobat which means I had to be strong,so I wanted my process to be that way. I wanted to eat well,train,become strong,and not lose weight quickly,diet and become thin. The intention was to develop the physique of an acrobat, who would be able to do these things. My strength and my upper body toning were achieved with functional training. Push-ups and pull-ups are essential to be able to hold your body weight on your shoulders,that does not come naturally to girls. The training was very,very different and something I am not likely to do again. You can do this kind of a role only once,and I did it to the best of my ability.
Victor is a writer of the Dhoom series,including the third installment. What is his forte as a director?
Victors forte as a director lies in the fact that he is primarily a writer, and as a writer-director,he is close to the script. Hes also very insightful and has a vision about what he takes up. The film is made on a huge canvas and I guess,he has to deliver. Like we all actors are up for judgement on Friday,he will also be up for judgement as the director. And then the verdict will be passed. I have done my best and I know that there was nothing more that I could have done.
While you and Aamir are new to the Dhoom series,Abhishek Bachchan and Uday Chopra have been present throughout all the series. So what was it like on the sets?
Both knew what they were doing,but for me it was a chance to do something new. I found them to be very funny on the sets. They entertain themselves a lot and keep each other occupied. Theres a lot of non-stop talking between them more than anything else!
You are in the midst of four films now Kabir Khans Phantom,Siddharth Anands Bang Bang,Anurag Basus Jagga Jasoos and Abhishek Kapoors Fitoor. Whats happening on the front?
I have wrapped up one schedule of Phantom and one schedule of Jagga Jasoos. Bang Bangs next shoot is scheduled for January. I only hope that Hrithik (Roshan) can start shooting by then. If that remains on schedule,its great. If not,I shall start shooting for either Kabir or Anurags film or maybe even start Gattus Fitoor. All my dates are locked between these four films.
What is your character in Phantom like?
Its difficult to reveal that. But what I can tell you is that the story is written by Hussain Zaidi and that the film is a fictional take on what could have happened after 26/11. You know,a particular response which could have happened after the terrorist attack. The film is a tight thriller and right in Kabirs space. Theres a very good and realistic vibe to the film.
Ranbir Kapoor is playing a detective in Jagga Jasoos. What are you playing in the film?
I have not spoken to Basu on how he wants to project the film and me,so I would not like to say much. But I play a very quirky character,who helps Ranbir (Kapoor). Basu creates a world and develops the characters for you,so half your work gets done. Its hard to describe the genre of the film,but I would say that its a romantic comedy. It is really nice working with him,because he has such a clear vision. Phantom and Jagga Jasoos are story based films,while Bang Bang has a certain amount of action.
You have been a part of the film industry for almost a decade. Have you set any dos and donts for yourself?
The minute you set dos and donts,you start curbing yourself and leave yourself no room to grow. You dont leave yourself open for opportunities,which may allow you to grow. After so many years in the film industry,one develops a little more confidence. I remain instinctive and try to follow my heart. Besides,my interests may vary at different times. Like my interest last year may have been a little different,and the kind of movies I have signed this year are definitely different from last year. I do the kind of work I have in my head and make sure that I can create that. I had a vision of certain kind of space,characters and tones in the movies that I wanted to do,and was very fortunate to have gotten those kind of movies. And they were the directors I wanted to work with.
What kind of space is Fitoor in?
I really dont like to speak about films before they go on the floor as it does not make much sense. Having said that the film is an intense love story.
A lot of aspiring actresses look up to you as a role model. Who is your role model?
I dont think I have a role model. I think the best way is to be true to yourself and to listen to yourself as you know your limitations,what you can achieve and your dreams. It should not be pre-decided as everyone has a journey and destiny that is different. But remember behind my journey and destiny,there has been a lot of hard work.
What about your plans of turning producer?
Not right now as I have these films to work on. Besides,it takes a lot to put a film together,
Are you doing Dostana 2?
I dont know anything about that one.
If given a chance,which actor or actress from the past would you like to have dinner with?
Raj Kapoor! He was a man ahead of his times,and a good artiste more than anything else.
What do you have to say about the paparazzi intrusion in your personal life,especially after your pictures with Ranbir went viral?
Most times I am okay with it as it does not really matter to me. But in case of that picture which released,it is something that has never happened before in all the years that I have been Bollywood of people intruding upon a private moment like this. My being ruffled by it was natural because I didnt have a reference to it. Now I will be little more prepared for it.
At the trailer launch of Jai Ho,a member of the media asked Salman Khans reaction on Kareena Kapoor referring to you as her sister-in-law on the Koffee With Karan show. And he chastised the journalised asking the question.
I heard that he gave an apt reply. They need someone like Salman to tell them that sometimes the things they ask are not very nice!