Posted by Fenil Seta
Nayandeep Rakshit (DNA; July 8, 2017)
From the time we last met, there’s been a remarkable change in Katrina Kaif. Otherwise hesitant to talk about her personal life, she accepts the emotional turmoil that she’s been through last year. It has made her stronger and a better version of herself. Today, she doesn’t get riled up about whatever is written about her — good or bad — unlike in the past when rumours would upset her. Talking to me, while munching on makhana, Kat gets candid about success, failure, the unique world of Jagga Jasoos, being Ranbir Kapoor’s heroine before-and-after their much public break-up and how she has grown in the last year.
You have completed around 14 years in the industry. Has your way of perceiving success and failure changed?
Of course. First, you respond to it like a child responds to a candy or to a kick. Or maybe, like a chocolate and biscuit sometimes (smiles). When you succeed, you are like, ‘Yippee, yay, party all night!’ Honestly, I didn’t see that much of failure in the earlier part of my career. So, didn’t really feel the lows of it. For me, the biggest experience of lows came with Fitoor and Baar Baar Dekho. Actually, not so much with Fitoor but Baar Baar Dekho’s failure really hit me. I did go through that process at that time. Now, I think I am a bit more balanced about it. I understand things better. There are a lot of things that are far beyond your control. The kind of back-to-back successes or support the audiences gave to the films I was a part of, at one point, that was anyway supposed to break. It’s not just for me, it will break for everyone. That’s the law of nature. Of course, it wasn’t fun when it did. But I’m more balanced right now.
Do failures make you work harder?
There’s really no room for me to work harder. There’s no harder work for me, you know what I mean? In fact, I keep reminding myself to take a step back because I work too hard. I think, in some way, it gives me a lot of gratification and peace that yes, I’m still in a position where I’m working with amazing actors, directors and getting good scripts even after my last two films not doing well.
That is also something you have to be careful about in this industry. You cannot place your value on success or failure. If you are good at your work and people believe in you, as an actor or performer, and you have the credibility with the audience, you won’t need to go up and down with every film.
Jagga Jasoos is a musical adventure. Is it a space you enjoy watching as a viewer?
Yeah, it is. I grew up watching films like Sound Of Music, Mary Poppins, Beauty And The Beast, My Fair Lady... I love that space and more recently, there was this film called Across The Universe. It didn’t do so well at the box office, but it was an amazing film. It’s a complete musical, amazing and very ahead of its time. When Dada (Anurag Basu) came up with this idea, I thought he had merged the two worlds — one that was a musical and the other which had the universal appeal of an adventure film. I always felt that this film was going to take time.
Ranbir has admitted that he wanted to shelve the film at one point. Did that thought ever cross your mind?
Yes, it did. In January last year, I felt that this film may get shelved. That was for a very short period of time. But after that and before that, I always believed that it was going to be made and we would finish it.
You went through a lot that time personally, and the last time you told us, you couldn’t give 100 per cent to your work before because you had other priorities. Comment.
Every day on the sets of Jagga, both Ranbir and I have been very passionate about the film. There wasn’t a lapse of interest for us because of the uniqueness of being on the set and what Dada was trying to create. In terms of the last year-and-half for me, I did have to get back into a different pace and rhythm at work. I think, I had to do it very quickly and I did that. I knew what I needed to do and I was determined that when Jagga went back on floors, I would give it my all; because back then, it was the only film I had. I could not allow anything come in the way of that.
There was a time you used to get really upset about all that was written about you. Are you more chilled out now?
I’m more accepting as long as it’s well within the realm of decency. Yes, I do think that I have become a little easier and I’m not so affected or bothered by everything. It’s also been that much longer. How long can you get affected by the same thing? But the amount of conjecture that people have regarding everything — well, I do find it a little humorous. It doesn’t greatly harm or bother me.
Your co-stars have always spoken about the energy you bring on the sets and off it. Post the break-up, was it difficult to get the same Katrina off the camera?
Whether it was, how difficult it was, is honestly something that will stay with me. And only with me. Not even with Dada. Because it’s not something I want to discuss. Not now, maybe. You can never say about the future, but definitely not right now. Whatever it was, however it was, it will always stay with me.
Post break-up, all the versions were coming out. Except yours. Did you feel cheated that time?
A really big lesson for me in the last year or so has been to not have a strong opinion about what the other person should do. That other person could be my mother, sister, husband, boyfriend, lover — whoever it is, we are all individuals. I may have an opinion on what’s right by me for you to be doing. But that’s what my version of what is right. It doesn’t need to be yours, too. But whatever a person does, I believe they are doing it for themselves. One individual should never deny another the right to do whatever they want to.
There were reports that you said you don’t want to work with Ranbir again. What if Jagga becomes a franchise as planned?
Honestly, none of us is thinking about that. I can give you that in writing. Firstly, I have got my few films lined up. So does Ranbir. And we all are waiting for that Friday to see the response to this film. There’s no thought beyond it. People might feel that we think and plan a lot, more than what we do, but right now, we are all here and our eyes are on that Friday.
But initially, it was meant to be a three-part series, with the second part beginning right from where this one ends. Has it been designed that way?
Lots of film are designed that way. This is also one of them. But it all depends on the outcome of the first one. In design yes, in principle yes — all of us, including Dada, thought it would be a series. But we all have to wait and see.