Kriti Kharbanda: Deepika Padukone is my role model – Kriti Kharbanda is the bride in demand. After her last release Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana, in which she played Rajkummar Rao’s dulhan, the actress is seen as a girl whom Pulkit Samrat wants to marry in the just-released Veerey Ki Wedding. Later this year, she has Karwaan opposite Dulquer Salmaan, who makes his Bollywood debut with the film, and Yamla Pagla Deewana 3, in which she will share screen space with Bobby Deol. She talks to After Hrs about her upcoming movies, the actors on her wish list and how fellow Bengalurian Deepika Padukone is her role model.
From Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana to Veerey Ki Wedding, you are the bride in demand!
Yes, I just keep changing clothes (laughs). But the biggest difference is that Veerey’s Geet is a modern-day bride. Aarti of Shaadi Mein… had a touch of traditional values. She was a girl from Lucknow while Geet is from South Delhi. She is chilled out and talks like a boy. Although I am born in Delhi, I was brought up in Bengaluru. So, my Hindi accent has a South Indian twang. The way I speak English is different from how Delhi girls talk. I had to adapt myself and that wasn’t very easy. I spent a lot of time with my cousins to make sure I got that lingo. It was challenging because I have never lived in Delhi, but still had that pressure.
What did you like about your character?
I liked the fact that Geet is not perfect. She has a temper, throws tantrums, is extremely needy and emotional, and is strongheaded at the same time. She has an opinion on everything. She reminded me of every girl out there because all of us are like that at some point. Geet is nothing like what I have done before. Her flaws make her lovable.
Do you identify with her?
Yes, I am everything that she is, but Geet is filmi and exaggerated. I am not that bad! But I gave a part of me to her.
How was the experience of working with Pulkit Samrat?
Pulkit is one of the most technically-sound actors I have met. I think that comes from his TV background. He is used to working at a certain pace. He understands filmmaking. His knowledge of lighting and camera angles is commendable. Also, he is an effortless and easy performer which makes him a better actor. He is nice to work with and I like that he treats everyone on the sets well.
What was your equation with him?
Honestly, Pulkit and I hardly spoke to each other in the first few days. Both of us are introverts. So, it took us some time to become friends. We didn’t know about each other’s life because we didn’t interact much. It’s only recently, when we were shooting for the songs and promoting the film, that we started interacting a lot. Although I was not friends with him during the shoot, he made me comfortable. Our chemistry is effortless. Veer (Pulkit) and Geet are flawed, but likeable characters. So, they balance each other out. If she is irritated, he is calm and vice versa. We wanted to show that a modern-day relationship between people who are only 24-25, can be mature too.
How do you react to rumours of you and Pulkit seeing each other?
I don’t know where they are coming from, but Pulkit and I have barely become friends. People are bound to talk if they see you together at a couple of events. Rumours don’t affect me and if they are helping the movie, let them write.
Your song Pallo Latke from Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana was a hit, but the film did not do that well..
We had issues only in the first week because we didn’t get the right kind of theatres. But from the second week, it did well and ran into the sixth week. Even the reviews changed my life. People finally started taking notice of me as an actor. That’s what I was working for.
And this year you will have three releases..
Yes. There’s Yamla Pagla Deewana 3 with the Deols and Karwaan in which I have a cameo, but it’s a substantial role. I’m paired opposite Dulquer (Salman). Funnily enough, in all these years of working in the South, I never shared screen space with Dulquer. And now I am part of his debut Hindi film. It’s bizarre. I’m a big fan of his. I have watched a lot of his films and my favourite is OK Kanmani. He created magic on screen.
How was it working with the Deols?
Out of the world. They are one of the most powerful families in the industry. And they respect their fans. Dharam sir tells me you are what your fan makes you. Filmmakers cast you, but fans make you a star. He never says no to a picture. If there are 100 fans, he takes a picture with each of them. If he can do that at 82, we have a lot to learn.
Do you have a wish list of actors you want to work with?
Ranbir Kapoor, Ranveer Singh, Varun Dhawan and Saif Ali Khan. Ranbir is the most versatile actor; he is magical. Ranveer has awesome energy, Varun is the most hard working in the industry and Saif is charismatic and a great actor. I want to work with Farhan also — his talent knows no bounds.
Any actresses you admire?
Deepika Padukone and Alia Bhatt! They are effortless. Deepika worked really hard. I look up to her. She is my role model. One cannot control their journey, but I admire her never-give-up attitude and the way she conducts herself. Piku and Cocktail are my favourite films. Whenever I have met her, I have got nervous around her. I don’t know if she is aware of that (smiles).
As for Alia, she is the most talented actor of our generation. She is honest and genuine. She doesn’t fake emotions and she doesn’t become the character. she believes in it and plays it the way she would.