After watching Hindi cinema for years, I have come to the realisation that even though the primary job of an actor is to act, there are some who are loved because they take us to la la land. There are many in the history of Hindi cinema who could never act and looking back, we still can’t understand why they were popular. It wasn’t their acting but probably their charm and beauty that bowled us over. To this day, their sheer presence is enough to make us sit straight up and their charisma never fails to leave us gobsmacked. And one such movie star is Katrina Kaif.
Katrina has been around for 15 years and it is hard to believe that this movie star is 35 years old. Watching Welcome the other day on television made me realise that it is nothing short of a miracle that Katrina hasn’t aged a day since that comedy caper 11 years ago. So I have good reason to believe that Katrina has found the mythical youth elixir.
Katrina is definitely a hard working woman and while we might not have been impressed with her acting abilities or her inability to speak Hindi while working in Hindi films, we sure can’t look away when she breaks into a dance number on screen. The audience might have arrived late to that party, but the makers were far-sighted enough to arrange it for us. Katrina is beautiful, and an unmatched dancer and honestly, there is nothing wrong with owning your two best qualities and creating a fan base where people go gaga over you.
The first dance number where Katrina truly caught the attention of fans was Race’s “Zara Zara Touch Me”. Swirling around in a fringe dress, Katrina owned that number. With Farah Khan’s “Shiela Ki Jawani”, Katrina established her domain and said it loud and clear, there wasn’t anyone better at performing the so-called ‘item songs’. If she could do such a graceful job at this, it felt quite demeaning to even call them ‘item songs’. Much credit to Farah Khan for portraying Katrina in a breathtaking manner. With “Chikni Chameli”, Katrina had a 5-minute appearance in the film at a crucial juncture. While Hrithik Roshan and Sanjay Dutt’s characters are engaging in a power struggle, Katrina swoops in and steals the show.
We often hear many actors and actresses giving out statements that they are looking for meaty parts where they can show their acting craft and more often than not, we know they are being delusional. Now this is nothing to take away from their approach but let’s be honest, not everyone who has a chance to be in front of the camera is supposed to ‘act’. Some people are meant for different things and only if they realise that, will they realise their true potential.
For me, the only time Katrina’s acting worked in her favour was in 2007’s Namaste London where she played a London bred girl who wasn’t trying to be something she was not. The role was tailor-made for Katrina but 11 years later, I still like watching Katrina on the big screen. There is a certain dream-like quality about her that it’s easy to imagine her as a divine beauty which is probably why Zoya Akhtar cast her in that exact role in her Bombay Talkies short.
Even in a film like Ek Tha Tiger where Kaif had much more to do than dance, we saw her performing a dance number in the end because by this time, the audience and the makers both knew what they wanted to see. It’s like SRK being the lover boy and Salman giving popcorn entertainment, the audience knows what’s going to happen but they still want to watch it happen.
Then came Dhoom 3 which was the least Aamir Khan-like movie that we have seen in recent years. It did the numbers but in comparison to its franchise predecessors, the film just couldn’t make the cut. But what made me sit through those painful 3 hours in the movie theater was Katrina’s dance numbers. Though her character helps move the story along in the second half, but we all know why she was cast here. If there was anyone who could have made this movie tolerable, it was her. She lights the screen on fire with “Kamli” and with the song in the closing credits, Kaif is at her best.
Be it Bang Bang or Baar Baar Dekho, we know these films had nothing to offer. But what works for them to this day are the music videos that featured Kaif.
Tiger Zinda Hai’s “Swag Se Swagat” was one of the most annoying songs of 2017 but what made me watch it over and over again was Kaif’s enchanting presence. In fact, I remember watching the song when it first came online and was left wondering as to why Salman had more screen time here when Katrina clearly dominated it from start to finish.
Her next release Thugs of Hindostan features her in a few dance numbers. This is something that I and millions of other Katrina Kaif fans are looking forward to and I guess, YRF knows that too. Precisely why they haven’t put out the videos of Kaif’s numbers online during the promotions which is a common practice. We are yet to find out the plot of the film but we sure know from the teasers of the song that even if nothing works for this film, Katrina will hold fort all by herself.
Katrina Kaif has the kind of presence that makes you want to watch her so go ahead and criticise her acting all you want, the woman will change your opinion, at least for the 4 minutes when she dances and you just can’t look away.