Katrina Kaif has had a rough time since her previous birthday. Her love life was in a mess after her relationship with Ranbir Kapoor ended, and her career was suffering because of her love life.
However, on her birthday this year, July 16, she has a lot to smile about.“It’s not as if I was just lucky to be in successful films. Of course, I’ve been lucky. But I’ve also worked very hard to get where I am. And please don’t forget, I chose those films that went on to be successful. So please grant me that bit of intelligence,” she said, adding: “And by the way, I was advised by friends not to do many of the films that eventually turned out to be hits.”
She admitted that she required the help of Salman Khan originally to decide what films to do. “Not just Salman, I also took the advice of people like Sajid Nadiadwala and David Dhawan. But finally the films I did were my call,” Kaif said.“One has to work very hard. Men don’t like to be around women who can talk back. I like to make my point. But I don’t like to be aggressive and insistent in my attitude. At the same time you won’t see me knocking on producers’ doors at odd hours to get work. I never have. I never will,” she asserted.
Kaif is feels the best when the audience sees her as full-on desi heroine.“It’s because I grew up in a large joint family filled with seven sisters and brothers. The atmosphere at home was very Indian. We were brought up on values that are very Indian. I guess that explains why I’m so Indian in my outlook, although I’m half-British and half-Indian by birth,” the star said.
The beginning of Kaif’s struggle is dated back 2000 when she arrived in Mumbai.“I came to Mumbai to be a model. I had no inkling at that point of time that I was going to be an actress. I met photographer Farrokh Chothia who put me on to the right modelling agencies,” she recalled. Soon, modelling assignments began to dribble in. After her portfolio by photographer Daboo Ratnani was circulated, Kaif landed her first film project.“When I did Boom in 2003, I was clueless about my intentions, camera angles, language, the works. I’d say my film career started with Ram Gopal Varma’s Sarkar in 2005, followed by Maine Pyar Kyun Kiya. I was kinda getting bored with modelling and ramp walking. I sensed I had reached a saturation point there and needed to move on. Acting seemed the next natural step,” she said.
Kaif once described her early days in Mumbai as lonely.“To begin with I lived in a two-bedroom flat near Rizvi College. The entire day I’d be visiting modelling agencies. In the evening, I’d return home to a lonely house. I’d miss my sisters’ presence around me. But I didn’t really have to struggle hard. And nothing untoward happened to me. No one made any sleazy suggestions,” Kaif recalled. Her weak Hindi did not really bother her. “In any case, everyone in the modelling world speak English. That wasn’t a problem, except when I had to haggle with auto-rickshaw [drivers] to avoid being cheated and to find addresses in Mumbai. That was tough,” she said. What she found awkward were the gawkers. “Because I came from London, I dressed in a certain casual way that was not quite acceptable in Mumbai. You know, stuff like shorts and tops, or just the kind of clothes that are considered trendy among college kids, but somewhat bold for working girls. People would simply stare. I had to change the way I dressed,” she said.She hired a tutor to teach her Hindi and started taking Kathak dance lessons from a tutor who also taught Priyanka Chopra.
About her embracing Khan’s family wholeheartedly, Kaif says: “Salman guided me, helped me choose the right roles and was there for me constantly. With him and his family around, I never felt alone in Mumbai.”She says she often ends up “sub-consciously looking for a father-figure” in her male company. She and her sisters grew up without a father in the house. “So I guess I do look for sensible, wise male company. I get bored with giddy-headed guys my own age,” she said.Beyond that Kaif won’t talk about her personal life. “It’s very simple. I’m a friendly girl. I don’t like to offend anyone. But in pleasing others and not offending them, I won’t compromise with my own inbuilt sense of right and wrong. I know what I want in life. And I won’t take any short cuts.”
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