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Monday, September 12, 2011

I take my decisions independently: Katrina Kaif

The much-hyped Yashraj film " Mere Brother Ki Dulhan" that had an above average opening country-wide has proved to be another success story for the reigning queen and lucky mascot Katrina Kaif. It is her fine performance, endearing quality and histrionics(albeit a bit over the top) and looks that definitely salvaged the ordinary fare. Katrina talks about her experiences while doing the film.

This is quite a girl-driven film. The female protagonist of the film drives the movie. Was that something very challenging for you?

I don't know if there's ever been a female-driven film or a male-driven film. I don't believe in that. I believe a film is a film - a movie can only work if everything about the film works. I see the movie as a totality. I found our characters, then the romance, the story and the chemistry very interesting when I heard the script. There was scope for us to show a new dimension between the characters rather than mere traditional love story. So I think that was really the reason why both me and Imran were really happy and excited about the film.

You have been paired opposite Imran Khan for the first time. How come you guys never came together before?

Well, me and Imran were offered films earlier which for some reason or the other did not work out. There was something at the script level or the dates. It has always been like that for mewhere things have fallen into place at the right time when they were meant to be and I think both of us instantly liked the script. W e probably started shooting the film three months after saying yes to the script. So that was a really quick turnaround process and I think me and Imran both come from very different worldsdifferent kind of school of films. I think initially there was some awkwardness but in the end I think it's really worked out in a very great way. I think we slowly got to really appreciate what the other person brings.

You've known director Ali for a while. He was the first AD (assistant director) on New Yorkyour first film with Yashraj Films. Tell us a little about yours and Ali's relationship.

Working with Ali on New York was an amazing experience for me. It was just super positive and obviously I knew he was writing a script. But work is work and that's very separate - I mean I really take my decisions very independently even if I know the person or I don't know the person. So I read the script with a very open mind and I instantly thought this was something that I just wanted to doI don't know the exact reasons but it was just an instinct I had that it would be good. I think it has helped us in a certain way that everyone on the film is young - no one is conscious of each other and I think that enabled us to be very freeat least me in terms of the performance or what I tried to do with the character. I think there is a certain personality or a certain side to me that most people wouldn't normally see or have not seen before. I am shown very free and totally uninhibited in the film.. I am wondering if people will notice something different.

You have shot in places where you must have been before - in Delhi, Punjabbut this was the first time you shot there.. How was the experience?

Yeah we actually shot in some really nice locations in the filmI have shot before in Northern India in Punjab and stuff like that but this time we actually really got to shoot in Delhiand I always wanted to shoot a film in Delhi. We got to shoot in the main areas the famous landmarks, monuments in Delhi. We shot for a month in a place called Nabha, which is near Patiala and it was this really small, dingy hotelbarely a hotel you could call it. It was called Iqbal Inn and I remember Imran being terrified when we walked in. But it was a young unit and we had a great time. We forgot all the problems and decided to have fun together. We were there for about 25 days. We would eat only dal, roti and tandoori chicken but the environment was great. Imran couldn't adjust well and we would all pull his leg about it.

There were lots of road scenes and places where you were in a car or a scooter in the middle of Delhi and in the middle of Chandigarh, with the crowds following you all aroundhow was that experience?

Obviously if you are shooting in public places there would be people around you. You should keep your concentration and not allow yourself to get distracted. There were some very important scenes being shot with people being on either side of the street which is not visible to the camera or in the frame and they'll be shouting and screaming. During the edit it was great fun to see all of that.

Do you think Ali Zafar who plays Imran's brother in the film, brought in a lot of freshness to the film?

Ali Zafar was somebody who none of us had met before the film. When he came onto the setsI thought he instantly added a fresh and the whole new dimension to the film. He is a real good performerI think he is great at comedy and he just kind of brought lot of good vibes during the shoot. And since he is also a musician he would entertain us with his songs when we were shooting outdoors. He would play guitar and it was like a bunch of group of friends hanging together on the sets.

Ali Zafar claims to have given you some guitar lessons which later translated onto your screen image.

(Laughs) well I don't think he should be taking any credit for my guitar playing skills or lack of them in the film coz I don't think they are very impressive. Butyeahhe did try to teach me some guitar and I did try to learn but I think it was a little futilewe didn't get past more than three chords so I don't know if he is the best teacher or I am just a bad student.

He also seems to take credit for your cricketing skills

Yeah, we played a lot of cricket during the shoot. That is something which I really enjoyed and actually kept me fit and gave us a form of exercise in between the shots. Imran would be patient enough but his kind of tolerance level was about 15 minutes after which he was like 'I am done playing cricket with youI am not throwing the ball for you anymore'. So he would kind of wander off whereas Ali is extremely passionate about cricket. But the sad thing is that he is under the misconception that he is a great cricket player. In fact, I think I am probably as good as him; but he is under the impression that he is teaching us all cricket. He feels he is supreme in the game while he is quite ordinary. I have tried to explain that to him but I don't think he really gets it. (Laughs) The whole unit would sometimes create two teams and play. Of course I have my own special rules when I play cricket which everyone kindly lets me follow.

People have called it a brave attempt from your end to actually walk with the crowd during the Dhunki shoot in Agrathere were some 10,000 people across the ground

I have never been afraid of crowd. I have never been afraid of people. I guess this is because I have always shot from the beginning of my career in public places and at the end of the day the people are there just to see you, they are not there to hurt you or to bother you. They are there to support you and I think you have to respect that and appreciate it. Sometimes, it is a bit too much in your space when you are trying to work and it is difficult but it is ok. I have learnt to block it out.

There is a very critical scene in the film where Imran confronts you and you are supposed to slap him at a certain point. Imran was saying that you slapped him at least 20 times

Yeahthere was a scene where it's a kind of confrontation. Imran confronts my character about something. I wasn't feeling we were getting the scene right and I was getting very frustrated, and at one point I have to slap Imran. It was quite a long take and I think we did about 15 takes. And because of the close proximity where he was standing and the placement of the camera, you can't really cheat a slap so Imran was like, 'Just slap me for real or look real and it will have more impact..' so I said, 'Okay fine..'. Well I don't think he anticipated that we were going to shoot that particular bit 16 times so he got lot of slaps from me and they were pretty hard. By the end of it he was like, 'I can't take any more slaps'. But finally we got it right.

On a separate occasion, there's a scene where you hold a gun

There is a scene where I am holding a gun to Imran while having an argument with him. It is a long rifle that the watchmen usually have and I am holding it on his neck and he is supposed to kind of push me away. But somehow some mis-coordination happened and that gun ended up whacking me in the face pretty hard. Some crew members were heard saying, 'Aah last time this happened that film was a hit, so yay! It's good luck!' But I was in pain and felt, 'Yeah it may be good luck but it really could be avoided' and (smiles) Imran of course completely blamed me and said it was all my fault that I'm clumsy and I'm uncoordinated and that I pushed the gun into my own face and I was like, 'why would I do that'.

Everybody is talking about Dharmendra's dialogue from Sholay, the scene that you enacted..

It was the first day of the shoot with Ali Zafar and I think my second or third day of shoot with Imran so none of us really knew each other very well. Ali and Imran are sitting in a car and I was standing near the bonnet, wearing a short dress. I was supposed to be drunk and had to say Dharamji's dialogue from Sholaywhere I am referring to Ali Zafar as Basanti and Imran as the, 'bad mausi' who is coming in between so it's very funny and that's what I liked about the character - it's the girls giving it back to the boys. But anyways it was a little awkward since none of us knew each other and I was screaming and shouting at the top of my voice late at night. But I think that in a way broke the ice and everyone after that scene was like 'okay you are kind of crazy' (laughs).

How would describe your character and styling in the film?

My character Dimple has two looks in the film. One is when she is in college which is more like a rockstar, the grunge look with unkempt hair, kohl on her eyesshe just wears jeans, ganjees, boots.. The second look is four to five years later..more sober.. I mean the kind of clothes you would go and buy from Linking Roadjeans, t-shirts, completely casualnot giving too much thought or not over-styled. I mean, the main thing was to try and keep her real. She's not supposed to be an unattainable or overtly-glamorous girl. She's a normal girl who is adventurous and passionate about things and a little bit whacky and we didn't want the styling at any point to overpower anything. In terms of the character, I think you have to see the film and decide. It is something different..one has to always take the risk and wait and watch what the audience verdict is at the end.

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