Katrina Kaif opens up on film with Varun Dhawan: ‘This is the dance film I always wanted to do’ – From the time when she received flak for her moves on screen to being hailed as one of the top dancers in Bollywood today, Katrina Kaif has come a long way. Whether it’s Sheila Ki Jawani in Tees Maar Khan (2010), Chikni Chameli in Agneepath (2012), Dhoom 3’s Kamli (2013) or Baar Baar Dekho’s Kala Chashma (2016), the actress has managed to turn up the heat. But in her 15-year long career, she has never done a complete dance film. That was up until now. She has finally signed the third instalment of the ABCD franchise where she will team up with Varun Dhawan for the first time. Here, she talks about shaking a leg with VD and being directed by Remo D’Souza…
There was a point in your career when someone called you ‘zero’ in dance…
That was when I started. I didn’t know much about it and although I would do it with as much dedication, I don’t think my choreographer was happy.
Today, you have established yourself as one of the best dancers in the industry. How did you change the perception?
I’ve focused a lot of my energy on it — whether it was learning Kathak with Pandit Viru Krishna Maharaj or working with choreographers like Farah (Khan), Bosco (Martis) and Ganesh (Acharya) for my films. Dance became my passion and I felt it was a different way through which I could express myself. It’s still an area which is unexplored. We can do so much with our song-and-dance sequences. There are endless possibilities to what we can achieve.
What took you so long to sign a dance film then?
I never sign films for the sake of doing a particular genre. I follow my instinct and choose from the best scripts that come to me at a given time. When this sequel in the franchise came about, it astounded me. I liked the concept and what the makers were planning to do with the story. I love Varun and his energy. I have known Remo for a long time, too. It’s an opportunity for all of us to do something special. This is the dance film I always wanted to do.
Today, with the ABCD franchise faring well, the genre, too, has evolved in the country. Do you think it’s the right time for a full-fledged dance film?
Remo did get it right with ABCD. But you also have to understand that a lot of reality shows in this category are aired on TV. A few of those contestants are doing so well in movies. It’s more about the connect than the space. Right now, the whole space we are getting into with this film is absolutely new. It’s a dance flick but in a different zone. So, it’s an amalgamation of all the right things put together.
What is this zone?
It comprises many forms such as hip hop, contemporary, classical or jazz. The movie’s setting, the choreography and the story allow me to do the kind of dance that I aspired to.
What dance forms are you training in?
(Laughs) It’s too early to talk about it. But there will obviously be a lot of new stuff that we will try and showcase. When we get into the schedule and start planning, there will be proper training and rehearsals in different forms for every song in the film.
This is the first time you’ll be paired with Varun. What was your first reaction?
I have known him for many years and he’s doing a fantastic job. I admire what he brings to the table. We have always discussed working in a film together and thought that whenever it happens, it has to be something in this space.
Which are your favourite dance films?
It has to be Dirty Dancing. I’m also a huge fan of musicals. Whether it’s The Sound Of Music or Seven Brides For Seven Brothers, I love all of them. I’ve always enjoyed classics like the MGM dance films. Last year, The Greatest Showman, starring Hugh Jackman, was so beautifully done. We attempted that in a way with Jagga Jasoos, although it was a lot different.
Are action and dance films your comfort zone?
I don’t think so. It’s just that my last release, Tiger Zinda Hai, was an action flick. But Remo’s movie isn’t my immediate next project. It’s coming after Zero and Thugs of Hindostan. It’s just a matter of time that I opted to do them right now. But there’s no strategy while picking these subjects. When I choose a film, I try to do my best with the opportunities that I get. TZH worked wonderfully, but sometimes, you also make wrong choices and don’t deliver. Right now, I want to do movies where I’m happy. I want to make every element on a set my comfort zone. Every new film is a new journey and experience where you engulf yourself completely.
You had a slate of disappointments but with TZH doing phenomenally well, are you veering towards more commercial films now?
No. That’s the way I choose my films and it will always remain the same. If I’ve something to contribute, I’d do it. Also, there are a lot of other factors. You only choose the best of what you get. If a film is shouting out at you and challenging you, those are the ones that I find exciting.