I play characters that I believe in: Katrina Kaif – Katrina Kaif has not exactly had a good year, what with her last few releases — Jagga Jasoos and Baar Baar Dekho — faring badly at the box office. But with Tiger Zinda Hai, which has the actress reuniting with her ex, Salman Khan on screen, five years after the hit espionage thriller Ek Tha Tiger, her fortunes might just turn around. Here, Katrina talks about reprising her character Zoya and being happy in her own space…
How was the experience of working with Salman again after five years?
In the first few scenes, we were getting used to each other and finding our feet again. Salman has so much gravitas as a performer now. It was always there, but I can see that with years he has gained in experience and maturity.
For me, it helped that we were playing the characters of Tiger and Zoya as we had already done a film together. It gave me a starting place to work from. I knew the dynamics between them and the love they share, etc. Also, as a person, Salman has a lot of love and warmth to give everyone around. I have known him since I was 17 and he is a very important person in my life. It was wonderful to work with him.
You are also reuniting with Shah Rukh Khan in the Aanand L Rai film and with Aamir Khan in Thugs Of Hindostan…
Yes, and I’m enjoying working with them. They are incredibly passionate about their work. Aamir has a brilliant cinematic mind and is a lot of fun to work with. As for SRK, he is one of the best actors in the industry. His energy, passion, and work level is so high that it’s great being around him on the set. And now that I know both Aamir and SRK well, there is a fondness for both of them. We joke around and it’s a friendly environment to work in.
Your contemporaries are doing films that are female-oriented. Aren’t you looking at doing a movie in that space?
If the story excites me, I have no reservations. I haven’t found any such film, that interested me. I also feel there is a slight (herd) mentality here — just because one does it, others have to follow. All my contemporaries are wonderful and talented. But sometimes when you are asked this question, you are also like, ‘Oh, why am I not doing that?’ I looked a little deeper inside for the answer.
All of us are different, we have our unique strengths. We should celebrate that rather than be on the same plane doing the same kind of cinema. Somebody might be fantastic in a female-driven film in XYZ space. I might be great in action, dance or a thriller space. Someone else might be good in comedy. We all might be good in different spaces at different times. Maybe I will go into comedy, next! Let everyone be in their different places at different times. Why do we all need to be in the same place at the same time?
But today actresses talk about playing a strong female character…
(Cuts in) People forget I have done films like Raajneeti in the past, where I played a strong character. Did that film have other strong male characters? Yes, but that is as it should be. Can it be without men? Yes. Can it be with the men? Yes. As a woman, you have the responsibility to portray women and to speak for women in a manner which relates to you. Zoya in TZH is a strong female character. She has the strength to pick up a gun and go into the battle field.
Today, women are joining armed forces across the world and also going into combat. This is a more literal example of strength, but to me, a woman like that standing equally besides a mega star, who has a slightly more macho image, is a beautiful statement. I believe in doing films that speak to you, which you feel right. If in a film a woman is struggling in her relationship which is not going right and is dependent on someone, it does not mean she is weak. These are phases of life that one goes through. I play characters that I believe in. I relate to all the characters that I have played so far except the one in my first film, Boom, which everybody knows.