Interview: Katrina Kaif on 'speculations' regarding her personal life, professional regrets and more

Katrina Kaif talks about being unfazed by media scrutiny regarding her personal life, not doing women-centric films unlike her contemporaries, upcoming film 'Jagga Jasoos' and other topics

I am ready to turn on the recorder and shoot a long list of questions at Katrina Kaif when the actress, sitting pretty in casual clothes and zero make-up, excuses herself and furiously types out something on her phone. It's a message for her mother, she explains.

Katrina Kaif
Katrina Kaif

"Mom's here only for a day and I was supposed to reach home half an hour ago. I will have only the night with her; she has an early morning flight," she shrugs. After hitting the 'send' button, she takes a moment to lean back on the couch. 'Shoot', she says.

Excerpts from the interview:

Q. You don't belong to the industry, but you are now counted among the A-listers. Do you feel secure about your position? Or is this an industry where you cannot afford to kick back and relax?
A. In any industry, especially acting, complacency can always be a distraction. You have to remain alert, evolve, change, adapt and constantly innovate, otherwise you are not going to be exciting to your audience. I never need my audience to tell me if I am becoming stale or repetitive because I know that already to change it or break it. But as long as you can see it, the intention is there; an actor keeps reinventing himself/ herself.

Q. What challenges have you faced in reinventing yourself?
A. The biggest struggle has been to improve my Hindi because it's not my first language, which I often wish it were. I think in English and translate my thoughts in Hindi. I have worked very hard, but still have to put in a lot of effort. I always speak in English. The only people I talk to in Hindi are the ones who have been working at my house for many years. With them, I go on interacting in Hindi. Everyone has their own battles. For someone, it might be dance, for another, it might be doing action, but this (Hindi) is my cross to bear and I will have to constantly work on it.

Q. It is important to have a USP to make a mark in this industry. Shah Rukh Khan is known for romance, Vidya Balan and Kangana Ranaut for their acting chops, Shahid Kapoor and Hrithik Roshan are good dancers. What is your unique skill?
A. For me to say what my USP is would be slightly presumptuous. I will have to allow the audience to give me that feedback. If you analyse what films of mine have been well received, what performances or dance numbers are fondly remembered, then you know my USP.

Q. Some of your contemporaries have gained filmmakers' confidence and have been doing women-centric films. But why have you, so far, not done any film that will solely ride on your star power?
A. The reason is my choice. I am responsible for my own choices. Have I been offered female-centric films? Many. Was it lack of belief from the directors' side? No. Was it lack of choice? No. Was it a lack of vision from my side? Yes. I didn't have the vision. My headspace and interest were different. But that's how you learn from your mistakes. So, as much I may say I didn't have the vision then and that I feel a certain change within me now, life will present me with right opportunities at the right time. Maybe, the time then was not right for me and hopefully, it (the opportunity) will come to me when I am completely ready.

Q. What's your instant reaction when you see yourself on the big screen?
A. Honestly, I can't watch my films on the big screen. I am too critical. Some people I know watch their films so intensely, they can just watch their entire movies coming on TV and I am like, 'How do you do that?' Everyone is different. I watched a few of my films in trails, but I do analyse in bits and parts where I could have been better and what could have been done differently and what to learn from an experience.

Q. Who's your worst critic in the industry?
A. Myself.

Q. No one else?
A. I think Adi (Aditya Chopra) has fair opinion. I don't know if it's fair or not, but I respect his opinion.

Q. A lot of actors are venturing into production or other businesses. Do you also have similar plans?
A. I am not superiorly business-minded but I have a few ideas. I am not sure in which direction it will go. These ideas are of different aspects related to the film industry. I am just getting started now, so, let's see.

Q. Your personal life is talked about more than your acting.
A. Any actor who is in the public eye has to deal with it. It literally goes hand in hand with your profession.

Q. You always shy away from talking about your life. Do you think that generates more curiosity?
A. I don't think so. It takes me two lines to say 'I don't talk about my personal life', but if I start speaking about it, I will have to say 10 sentences, or maybe 20 or two pages to discuss each and every situation as it comes. It is for this and many other reasons that I choose to not discuss it at all.

Q. Much has been said about your break-up with Ranbir Kapoor. Will it not be tough for you both to shoot together for 'Jagga Jasoos'?
A. This, I think, is a personal question because you are trying to assume my status. So, I would only like to say that my personal life is personal. And 'Jagga Jasoos' is a wonderful film and Inshallah, it will turn out well.

Q. Do you feel bogged down by the media's constant scrutiny of your personal life?
A. It is okay. Actors have to accept it as a part of their job. The more you make it into a monster, the more it will become a monster for you. If you accept it as just something that goes hand in hand with an actor's life and not let it rattle you or start reacting to every story, then you will be okay. You understand that it is just speculation, just articles, and when you separate that from your professional life, you are fine.

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