She is the fashionista who does not follow trends much but is a woman of power; one of the biggest female icon in tinsel town. Yes, we are talking about the immensely beautiful and gorgeously talented diva Katrina Kaif.
In the best phase of her career, with three back to back films with the reigning ‘Khan’-daan of Bollywood, a feat seldom achieved by any other actress on screen, Katrina Kaif has catapulted to the pinnacles of success in her career in such a short time.
On a promotional spree in Kolkata for her latest and the euphoric Jab Tak Hai Jaan, she spoke her heart out when asked about her connection with Yashji, bonding with Shah Rukh Khan and Anushka Sharma and the way she would love to act Jab Tak Hai Jaan!
Getting to work with Yashji must have been a dream come true for you. What was it like when you actually got the offer to play Meera in Yashji’s ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’?
(Smiles) Yes, it was. You won’t believe, few years back when I attended the premiere of Yashji’s Veer Zaara, I had told my friend sitting next to me that I really want to do a film like this. Especially the scene where Shah Rukh carries Priety in her arms gave me goose bumps. I longed to have worked in such a romantic film with Yash Chopra. Each time Adi would call me to the Yash Raj office, I would pray that Yashji offered me a film. But that never happened and I would return back teary eyed. I would even go and pray at the Mount Mary’s church to get a film with him. And when Jab Tak Hai Jaan happened, I was thrilled and it has become all the memorable because of the love and warmth that Yashji left us with, through his films, this being his last film.
Ironically, it is Yash Chopra’s last film and it is titled ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’. How was it working with Yashji and being the last Yash Chopra heroine?
Yes, it is very ironic that the film’s title just got an entirely different meaning to it, one that was unfortunate and unexpected. To me, the news of his demise came as a shock. None of us were prepared to welcome such news and maybe even today, we don’t get to miss him much because he makes his presence felt somehow. I feel really fortunate to have worked with the man who is a living legend in himself and has been an epitome of respect for the last fifty years. It was lovely being directed by him because there were moments when we weren’t getting our shots right, Yashji would come and ask us to take a break and he would lighten the moment by cracking jokes and making fun. He never really bossed over us or shouted on us. He respected us and loved us a lot and now that he is not there, each moment with him feels special. Sadly that’s how Life is and you cant qualm about it because you never know that the person you are talking to now wouldn’t be there and it would be the last piece of memory for you!
A white chiffon sari and a romantic sequence in the Swiss Alps is something that is a Yash Chopra trademark love scene. Do you feel sad not getting to do the staple romantic sequence with Shah Rukh wearing the white chiffon sari?
Well, it would be wrong to say that no, I don’t. I really feel bad and all the more now after Yashji passed away. We had also tried out all the saris and Yashji had also finalized on one after the trial session. He even told all of us that more than that being a shoot, it will be fun! We would be spending time together, having loads of fun and ending the film in a special way. But unfortunately that did not happen. I would surely miss not getting to do it but then again the film in itself has been a special memory for me all the way!
Not just that, you shot in some extremely difficult situations in London and Ladakh. Tell us something about that.
Well, yes there was this song ‘Ishq Shava’ which was shot in London and it was almost -2 or -3 degrees then. It was freezing, spine chilling out there. We could not stand the cold and all I had to wear in that song was a short skirt and a top with a jacket. Shah Rukh, on the other hand was wearing quite an amount of clothes (Laughs). So each time, the shot was over, he used to come and wrap around a blanket over me. That was difficult. Plus Ladakh is a place where the high altitude doesn’t let you breathe in the air properly. At times we felt choked while shooting. But in spite of all the obstacles, the film has really turned out well.
Getting paired up with the Badshah for the first time and your chemistry with him being palpably delicious, how was it working with him? What kind of a rapport do you share off screen?
Shah Rukh is really gentlemanly. That’s the first thing you notice about him. But yes, before the film, I did not know him at all. This being my first film with him, I was very nervous. There was the first shot of the film and I was completely blank. He has got such an air which can blind anyone anytime. But as the shoot proceeded and I got to know him, I would say he is really a gentleman. The best part is the fact that he is equally concerned about his co actor’s performance as his own. That is one quality I really like in him. My experience of working with him has been good. Off screen, he doesn’t let me speak and I don’t let him end his answers. So that way, we fight a bit. But it was lovely working with him on ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’.
In an era where cat fights are the staple news that covers tabloid pages, you and Anushka seem to have gotten really well along the shoot of the film. How was it working with her?
You know it is true that when there are two or more actresses in a film, there seems to be a little bit of awkwardness in between. At times there is a lot of discomfort involved too, but with Anushka things were completely different! I found her really easy to get along with and it wasn’t at all forced from both ends! We did not have to put an overtly friendly act; rather we were very comfortable in each other’s spaces. She was sweet to me and the days that we shot together were one of the best days in the film.
Which one song would be your pick from the album and why?
From the album, I like ‘Saans’ the most because in today’s world there are so many romantic numbers that it becomes increasingly difficult for anyone to create something new and different. But I guess A.R.Rahman and Yashji really did that with ‘Saans’. It has got that hint of a Yash Chopra romantic feel to it but is very contemporary.
And you seem to be in the best phase of your career, signing back to back films with the three Khans! Are you thrilled?
Well, I have really worked a lot hard and I love everything that has come my way. It’s not about playing parts to the three biggest stars today but it’s more about doing the right kind of films. Once I got into the business, I always made sure that I made the right choices and I am happy that today, I am here.
‘Boom’ to ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’, how has the journey in the industry been?
Well, it has been incredible! Every experience that I have just got better with every film I did. And just as I said, when Veer Zaara released, I always desired to be in a Yash Chopra film. I don’t know why but I Believed it would happen someday! This also happens to be my first film with Shah Rukh. So getting directed by one of the most wonderful film makers of all times, it can be nothing less than a dream come true for me. It has really been amazing for me.