It’s been a while since I met Katrina Kaif but she’s as warm as ever. We catch up on various things and interestingly, her take on love, marriage and relationships have changed with time.
Quiz her on her marriage plans and she looks at me quizzically. “How do you expect me to get married if there’s no guy? What do you want me to do? Okay fine I want to get married but now? There should be someone whom I can marry no? My marriage is genuinely not in my hands. I made a plan once to get married but that wasn’t such a good plan so now I am hoping that’s my marriage will be planned without me planning it.”
In her relationships, one person who has always loomed larger than life is Salman Khan who seems to be a friend-philosopher-guide, something more, an advisor. There’s a pause and she reflects quietly for a minute and replies, “It’s difficult for me to place Salman in my life as categories… He’s so much more… It’s a private space which I would rather not get into.”
But Katrina doesn’t mind opening up about her perfect man today. “I want a partner in life – someone who is there with you alongside your journey. Will Smith said this so well – he said ‘A successful marriage in today’s world is two people walking alongside each other in two different paths and not two different people walking along and then going different or opposite paths or ways.’ So he is there on his path and I am there on mine but we are together. If I want to stop and spend some time with you or have coffee with you along the way, you have a companion with you on the journey…”
Her perspectives on love and relationships have changed… “Yes, definitely I think so though it doesn’t mean that the intensity with which I believe in love has diminished in any way, it still remains the same because that’s who you are and the core of you but I think what I expect out of love today and the pressures I put on it, are different now. I understand now that we are more responsible for ourselves. It’s not that I didn’t want to take responsibility earlier but just that I didn’t understand the responsibility of how we feel in our head. We cannot completely depend on another person to always make us feel good. Things like he is not making me happy right now, but today I have understood that my happiness is my responsibility, even if you are going through a rough time in your relationship. Like if you are doing something which is really making me upset and I am really unhappy with you but that has to be confined to me, it cannot consume my whole life and being and I have lost who I am and I hate you, you are no longer a person for me, you are the person who is doing this to me, etc! That’s not right from any perspective though I can stand my ground and tell you I don’t like what you are doing as its hurting me and making me feel uncomfortable but we should still have a pleasant conversation and not slam the door in your face, walk by ignoring each other – all that I wouldn’t do now. That I would say it but calmly maybe with tears in my eyes but I would also interact with you. You are also a person beyond how you make me feel and your commitment to me – we are both persons apart from what you are making me feel – so having that little distance is the biggest change in me.”
Professionally, too, Katrina’s working style has changed. She agrees. “Yes, there’s been a difference in my working style from when I entered. I have a different approach now and a different understanding. I never had formal training before so as the years have gone by you gather more information and you start to develop the thing to search that information which came to me naturally later and I was like no I want to learn a little bit more, discover a little bit more in-depth ways and find different techniques to add to your craft. Today I have started enjoying zones I have not been in before and roles I have not done before so the fact that I had clarity on my role from Aanand sir was great.”
Talking about her role in Zero, Katrina says, "The best part about Babita Kumari (her character) for me in the movie was that Aanand wanted to play her exactly opposite of everything I am as a person. She would do the opposite of what Katrina would do instinctively as a person. If Katrina would avoid someone at a party, Babita would go right up to the person and say something obnoxious. Everyone reacts differently. Babita won't cry or feel sorry for herself or want audience sympathy. That's why he set her up in this way as a person. She has everything as a person - the love of millions, money and fame but when you see her personally, you think you don't want to be her. What Aanand sir wanted to say in this film was that as human beings the core wall is the same. Most people feel incomplete - as human beings deep down you have a sense that I am not quite complete, something is missing and how do I search for it... How do I find that thing which is going to make me feel complete or complete me?"
The actress adds that audiences like to see a character who is fighting. “Fighting against the world, to survive, against herself, love – anything but they want to see someone fighting. We are all struggling and fighting to get somewhere and above somewhere. I have found myself doing that every second day and I try to deal with it by first accepting the situation and making peace with it. Earlier I used to run away from it because it scared me if I felt insecure or lonely or terrified and distract myself saying I am feeling happy. Now I make peace with it first. I accept and acknowledge the situation and how I am feeling and then sometimes I try and tackle it and sometimes it dissipates on its own. You don’t always have to find a solution for everything.”
Ask her how would Babita Kumari deal with such conflicts and Katrina says, “She is someone who makes her realise her own self-worth. She is fixated on something that doesn’t really matter and just gets back her own confidence and own feeling of excitement of wanting to live. She realises that her happiness and life is not over because of that one person. She learns to be happy again and Bauua helps to bring about that realisation.”