Interview | Katrina Kaif: I’m at peace with myself now – There is a popular perception that Katrina Kaif is hesitant to open up about her personal life. But every time we have met, she has been a delight to talk to. Her latest film, Tiger Zinda Hai (TZH), has put her right on top again. She is visibly overwhelmed, but she’s not letting it get to her. “I don’t let failure or success affect me personally. I learn from them but I don’t let them take over my life,” the actress tells us. In a tête-à-tête, Katrina gets candid about the difficult times, why TZH is just the beginning of a beautiful innings and, of course, marriage.
When we last met, you accepted that your complete concentration wasn’t on your work. With TZH doing such great business, are you happy?
I’m extremely moved and super proud of the film that Ali Abbas Zafar has made. It’s been an incredible journey for him and me because he had made his directorial debut, Mere Brother Ki Dulhan, with me. Now, he’s so clear about his movies and his grasp on what he wants is impeccable. The fact that so many people have gone to watch the film and liked it is such a wonderful feeling. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to start the year.
Have you ever gone back home and introspected why your films weren’t working?
I had loved the concept of Baar Baar Dekho as it was very novel. Sometimes, you don’t understand why a movie didn’t work. With Jagga Jasoos, it was an epic journey. It was in the making for two-and-a-half years. Dada (Anurag Basu) had a beautiful vision and we did some amazing things. We don’t have answers to why the film didn’t work. But Dada is an amazing filmmaker and the next thing he does, I’m sure everyone will be able to connect with it.
This has come after a few movies which didn’t work. Does this success feel sweeter than the others?
Every time my film has done well or I’ve received great feedback, I’ve always been ecstatic. I’ve never got into a space where I haven’t taken these things seriously. If TZH is extra special, it’s because I wanted this journey and this movie to be as good. So, I don’t know if it’s sweeter, but it definitely feels good.
There are fewer action roles written for women. Do you think that will change now?
It’s not just about action-oriented roles. All the pieces in the puzzle need to fit in to create the perfect picture. The action sequence that I did in TZH is definitely one of the highlights because Ali designed it that way. But there are so many other incredible things in the film which makes it an overall great viewing experience for the audience.
That’s what I look for in a movie. Do I want to be part of action movies? If the story is great, yes! But I’m not looking for that one film where I’m doing action or something else. It can’t be uni-dimensional. I’m looking for roles where the audience will come out of theatres satisfied.
Despite being so dedicated and hardworking, time and again people have written you off. Has that ever bothered you?
Everyone is subjected to this and I guess all of us have to face it anyway. After all, acting is an art form and it’s subjective. Everyone has their own opinions and they need to be accepted and respected. When I hear people saying things to me, I listen to them and take anything which is constructive. But for me, only my process is important to me. So, if I know that I’ve been professional and given it my heart and soul, I’m always confident of my film.
But if I haven’t put in enough, then, of course, I’ll suffer somewhere. I’ve been working in this industry since for many years with some of the most incredible people, that is the greatest gratification I can have. People loving my film is the most important thing. Everything else comes later. If I feel that I’m evolving, what more do I want? The best directors and technicians are working with me and I’m doing films that are big-event films. You can criticise me as much as you want. But there’s no end to perfection. So, at some point, you just sit and realise this is just good.
Even though your films weren’t working, you never really lost your stardom. But have you ever felt insecure?
I went through a period when I faced a lot of insecurities because of several things that happened. But today, the most important thing is that I’m at peace with myself. Obviously, I’m working as hard as any other person in the industry. I’m not an exception, but I’m secure and happy with myself now. I no longer get hyper and let that affect the film. I’ve done my training, put in hard work and I just want to let it flow easily rather than add force. Sometimes, force resists you and easing up makes it better. The last two years have taught me much more about myself — how to work, introspect and lead our lives.
Shah Rukh Khan had said once that he will never cease to be a star. Have you ever thought that someday everything might just stop or vanish?
I believe in the theory that what you think is what will happen. Also, after a point many people themselves want to step out of it. The film industry requires complete dedication. Of course, there are some people who balance work and life which is incredible. You can do that for sure and when you get the perfect balance, your work load automatically reduces. There comes a time in your life when you get married and have kids. At that point, work takes a backseat because family becomes your first priority.
So, it’s a mix and match. Life brings things that you want, think about and aspire to achieve, For the uncertainty and unexpected side to life, you need to witness it. You need to be open to everything and go with the flow. During the in-between phase when you are not in a passionate relationship, married or have kids, you keep your eyes focussed on what you want to do. That’s when work consumes you and you do great stuff.
Have you pictured yourself as a married woman?
Yes, of course, I have. I’m no different. All that doesn’t matter. But what does matter is I know that when you do get married, it’s gonna add to your life. However, never lose yourself. You don’t have to lose yourself just because you’ve found someone.