‘At this point, it’s the role that matters to me’: Katrina Kaif


Bharat opened to a resounding Rs 42.3 crore at the box office, making it superstar Salman Khan’s biggest Eid release till date. Along with the Dabangg Khan, it’s also Katrina Kaif’s achievement, who, as Kumud, plays his love interest in the Ali Abbas Zafar directorial. The actress, naturally, is over the moon with the response the film has generated and also grateful for the love that the audience always showers on her and Salman’s jodi.
“Ali and Salman have such a successful pairing with Sultan, Tiger Zinda Hai and now, with Bharat. Salman and I have Ek Tha Tiger, Tiger Zinda Hai and now Bharat. But it doesn’t make us complacent. In fact, it makes us more conscious, that so many people have come and seen us on screen. Now, the story has got to deliver a better and newer experience and take it one dimension higher,” she states. Over to the actress...
The film has opened to such good numbers. Are you happy with the response?
Yes, all of us are extremely happy. Bharat has truly been a team effort. Everyone working on the film has put in their best, starting from Atul (Agnihotri) who bought the rights for the remake of Ode To My Father. It’s always been a passion project for Atul and Alvira Agnihotri who are the producers. There is a lot of heart and passion behind the decision to make this film. I loved the script from day one. It was a joy to be on the sets. I was having such a good time playing the character; I felt confident that people would respond positively to it. I was able to find the enjoyment and connection with the character.
You’re finally getting appreciated for your acting skills, something for which you got flak for in the initial years. But Zero, and now Bharat has changed that. Does it feel good?
Very much! Getting the right role and the right director to guide you and walk through the journey with you plays a crucial part. And of course, with each film and role, you try to take it a notch higher. You dig deeper within yourself and better yourself as an artiste. That’s the only way you can keep your interest alive in your work.
In the initial few years, there is a lot of glamour and other things about being an actor that excites you. At this point, it just has to be the role. Now, it’s about trying to explore the character and create something out of it. My greatest desire now, when I’m doing a film, is to see how much the audience can connect with my role.
You played an older character in Baar Baar Dekho (2016) and the film didn’t work at the box office. Was there any apprehension in your mind about sporting grey hair again?
On the contrary, I loved it! I was so excited to get that look right. Ali and I went to London from Malta after shooting the schedule there. We met the prosthetics team and attended their workshop, which was absolutely fascinating. Ali had shown them references of Nafisa Aliji and Rekhaji to show how gracefully and beautifully these ladies have maintained themselves. He was clear that we wanted the look to be delicate. We also used my mother’s pictures as a reference. We had a three-day look test, which lasted for eight-nine hours daily. We tweaked each look to see how it appeared on camera. Once we got that right, I felt so comfortable in my skin. Later, it was a whole new experience to find the right body language and attune to the mindset of a senior citizen. It’s the pace at which you move, even if you’re active. But there is a certain stillness you reach in your mind and body. That was the main thing for me.
While there have been positive comments, there has been some criticism about your look as well, especially the curly locks...
Honestly, I’ve only seen positive comments. In fact, the most compliments I have received are for that. I think it’s just worked fantastically for the character.
While Priyanka Chopra Jonas’ exit from the film had created headlines, even now, Salman’s comments about her are making news. Have you spoken to Priyanka on what’s your take on the situation?
Priyanka is a dear friend of mine and this is a professional decision of hers. Everyone respects that. Very frankly, these are just highlighted things in the media. This is a complete non-issue for me, for Priyanka, for Ali and for Atul and Alvira. We all know how Salman is. He likes to joke around. Honestly, it’s a non-issue for him as well.
Next, you have Rohit Shetty’s Sooryavanshi with Akshay Kumar, another star with whom you share a great on-screen chemistry. Do tell us about that.
It’s been eight long years that I worked with Akshay, so I’m really looking forward to being back on set with him. Rohit is another person whom I admire a lot. He’s worked his way up from the ground and built this huge empire and brand of cinema people have come to follow. And I’m hoping we can create something great together. Akshay and I have always tried to do something nice on screen and that’s the effort this time as well.

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