Kareena Kapoor Khan has proven the popular perception that actresses who get married have to quit films wrong, by going ahead and successfully churning out box-office hits like SINGHAM RETURNS and BHAJRANGI BHAAIJAAN. She says that she is indeed quite excited about having worked with all the Khans in the industry, including Salman Khan in BHAJTRANGI BHAAIJAAN, in a tete-a-tete with NRI Achievers’ Bollywood maven Jyoti Venkatesh … here’s are edited excerpts from the interview:
How would you describe BHAJRANGI BHAIJAAN ?
BHAJRANGI is completely different story driven film unlike BODYGUARD. It is important that an actor keeps working with different directors. Harshali the kid, who is playing the role of Salman’s kid in BHAJRANGI BHAIJAAN is going to be the real star of BAJRANGI, not me or Salman Khan.
How has the experience of working in BHAJRANGI BHAIJAAN under the direction of Kabir Khan ?
It was for the first time that I had the opportunity to work with Kabir Khan. I play a school teacher who helps Salman Khan in taking his child away from Pakistan. I would say that it was a very different film for me with Salman Khan as it is not like KICK OR READY or for that matter BODYGUARD, which were love stories. BHAJRANGI BHAIJAAN will offer something different for Salman fans as there are performances in the film, which also has an in depth story. Though I am romantically involved with Salman in the film, it is more of drama.
Is it true that it was for the first time that you had shot for a film in Kashmir ?
Yes. Everyone in my family except me has shot in Kashmir including my parents, uncle Chintuji and aunt Neetuji, grand uncles Shammi Kapoor and Shashi Kapoor Ranbir Kapoor. Though I had not shot there earlier, when I reached the venue, I could feel I was there at Lalit Hotel in Kashmir. It was quite an eerie experience.
Isn’t BAJRANGI BHAAIJAN your third film with Salman Khan ?
Yes. It is my third film with Salman after KYONKI ten years ago and BODYGUARD four years ago. I know him from 1990 when he was acting in NISCHAY for Bappi Soni opposite my sister Karisma. I know Salman, Shahrukh and Ajay right from those days, when I was very raw and new to films. Salman is calmer now. He is mature enough not to show whatever comes his way in his personal life on his work.
You seem to do offbeat films like CHAMELI and DEV on one side and BODYGUARD and BAJRANGI BHAAIJAN on the other !
It is important enough to do commercial films. I have already wanted to strike a balance between off beat films and mainstream films. I have done commercial films all my life. The big commercial bonanza films are part of my blood. You cannot take away the fact that Salman is a great person I am honoured that he took me in his first film as a producer. Who would say she can say no to a Kabir Khan movie with Salman? I had not worked earlier in any film with Kabir.
Has your marriage to Saif made any difference to you career-wise ?
After marriage, only the surname Khan has been added to my name – fifteen years after I came into the industry. It is indeed a big achievement for me that Salman is working with a married woman like me. I am glad that Kabir thought of casting me. I should say that marriage has not made any difference to me, as I have always been an exception to the rule. I do not think I lost even one brand ever since I got married. After marriage I thought this is the time to work with new as well as different directors. After a certain stage in your career, it is nice to work with different people. Kabir Khan makes larger than life kinds of movies which are not mindless and which also have a story.
You are now working with Arjun Kapoor in a film !
Yes, it is a great honour for me that after working with Anil Kapoor as his wife, I am now working with Arjun Kapoor as his wife. I think the younger generation actors are all brilliant and a lot more aware and conscious. It is about your passion and what you believe. I am of the opinion that you needn’t be seen in every film as you are as old as you look.
With TANU WEDS MANU RETURNS and PIKU, the era of heroine oriented film has come back !
That era has always been there. In the 1970’s there were SEETA AUR GEETA and AMAR PREM where the heroine had strong roles. Even JAB WE MET was also a heroine oriented film. I have always done heroine oriented films whether it was OMKARA or JAB WE MET. OMKARA was a title role for the heroine but Saif played the lead. Didn’t he ? However, I am not going to do a heroine oriented film till the script demands that just because everyone is doing a heroine oriented film.
What is your role in UDTA PUNJABI ?
I play a doctor in Abhishek Chaubey’s film UDTA PUNJABI. It has a brilliant story. The part demanded that it needed me. I wanted to cry when I heard it. People will talk of its story when it is released. I felt the part demanded me. I am not opposite Shaheed Kapoor in the film UDTA PUNJABI, though if I get a meaty part, I would love to work with him. I am instinctive.
Do you regret having turned down DIL DHADAKNE DO because you did not want to play Ranbir’s sister ?
I have no regrets not doing any film, even DIL DHADAKNE DO. I didn’t say no to the film because I did not want to play Ranbir’s sister. I had my own reason why I did not do it. The only regret is that I couldn’t do a film with Zoya Akhtar. But no problem since in any case, it wasn’t her last film.
You are perhaps the only actress who has been paired with all the Khans !
I have worked with all the Khans, whether it is Salman or Shahrukh or Aamir or for that matter Saif in not just one film but in three rounds as I have done two films with Aamir Khan, two with Shahrukh Khan – ASOKA, RA ONE and two with Salman Khan. The comfort level is there with all the Khans. It is very scary to work with Shahrukh because he has a lot of energy. Salman’s greatest quality is that he is the greatest star of the country. Aamir is a very intense actor. Ajay too is. I have acted in OMKARA, SATYAGRAHA, GOLMAAL and SINGHAM RETURNS with Ajay Devgn.
Is there any remake of which you would love to be a part of ?
I would love to be a part of the remake of AMAR PREM. I love song and dance. I love doing item songs.
Are you and Saif ready for a family of your own now ?
A child is not in our agenda now. We do not even discuss about family planning. I think neither Saif nor I am now ready for a family. I am very greedy right now for everything. People warned me not to get married but I did.
Why do you and Saif or Karisma not revive your grandfather Raj Kapoor’s banner ?
Even if I and Saif or Karisma decide to revive the RK banner and launch a film, the question is who is going to direct it ? We have to get the right director to live up the expectations. I think Ranbir should do it. Though my dad wanted to make RISHWAT under the RK Banner, we have to give him rishwat now to make a film under the RK Banner. (Laughs)
You detest doing action films !
I would love to do a KILL BILL but I cannot because I hate action. I do not have the fluidity of the body to do action roles. However, you do not know what Rohit Shetty will come up with next and hence if Rohit Shetty comes to me with an offer to do an out and out action, I cannot say no to him.
After Priyanka did MARY KOM and Vidya Balan did THE DIRTY PICTURE, do you plan to do a biopic ?
I feel that the content should matter and the role should suit your personality. Just because everyone is making a biopic these days, I do not think I should jump into the bandwagon of biopic films.
Did you dole out any advice to Ranbir after his film Bombay velvet tanked ?
Ranbir does not need advice. Why should he need my advice ? He has the biggest weapon – his talent. I am sure he is going to rise.