Her physical magnetism is so potent that you want to stare at her forever! After 15 long years in Indian show business—and tonnes of accolades coupled with enviable movie offers, and also 25 brand endorsements—Kareena Kapoor Khan continues to charm her fans with her unmatched effervescence. Ahead of the release of the trailer of her next movie with Salman Khan, Bajrangi Bhaijaan, we met up with the Kapoor diva. In a fun chat with India.com, Bebo (or Begum, take your pick!) discussed her association with Salman Khan, her ex-beau Shahid Kapoor’s forthcoming wedding, and how she manages to remain at the top of her game. Excerpts: (ALSO WATCH:Salman Khan Bajrangi Bhaijaan song Selfie Le Le Re making: Watch Video!)
Let’s break the ice with the obvious one – tell us about your character in Bajrangi Bhaijaan!
My character helps Salman Khan’s character sail through his journey. Basically I play a school teacher from Chandni Chowk in Delhi. I can’t reveal more than that!
We know what to expect from a Salman Khan movie. What makes this one any different?
Audiences have seen Kick and Dabangg, but Bajrangi Bhaijaan is very different from the rest of Salman’s movies primarily because this one has more depth and a substantial story. This one has much more performance than a regular Salman Khan movie. It is a Kabir Khan film, after all. I am working with Kabir for the first time, after having worked with so many different filmmakers.
Would you still have been a part of this project, had Salman Khan not been cast opposite you?
I think it is all about working with new people…with people I have not worked with in the past. I am working with Kabir Khan in this one and that made me say yes! And the fact that Salman the producer approached me to do this movie – no way was I going to say no to this film. In the past, I have worked with Aamir Khan’s production (Talaash) and with Shah Rukh Khan in his production (RA.One). And now, I am working with Salman Khan, the actor and Salman Khan, the producer! (check this out! OMG! Shah Rukh Khan remembers his first photo-shoot with Amitabh Bachchan (View pics!)
While film pundits may question your need to work with the Khans, at this point in your career do you turn around and say ‘Hey! Look, even the Khans want to work with me’? The same scenario can be entertained in one’s head slightly differently, right?
The fact remains that the Khans are ruling the roost in Bollywood, and who wouldn’t want to work with them? But I also try to strike a balance. Fans too want us to work together and Salman, Shah Rukh and Aamir also see that I am someone they can count on. Our pairing and our associations have always worked. So, why not?
How was it shooting with Salman, given the fact that his hit-and-run case is still on in court? Even while shooting the film, he was in the news for it. Do such trials and tribulations affect the artiste when it comes to delivering a performance?
Salman Khan is a level-headed person. He does not show his emotions easily. He is very emotional as well as very strong. Tough times have only made Salman Khan stronger.
Is it awkward to work with the man who is going through so much? Did you have to prepare yourself emotionally or otherwise before working with Salman again?
Salman Khan has risen like a phoenix every time. Be it this case (hit-and-run) or in his professional life. Whenever people have written him off, he has exploded with talent like a volcano.
While filmgoers and critics talk about content-driven cinema, the significance of it and the fact that more and more actors want to be associated with it, naysayers and critics tend to forget that even you have delivered different kinds of cinema. From Dev to Chameli to Omkara to Heroine, the variation in terms of performances cannot be ruled out. Do you get annoyed with comparisons being made in terms of the choices you make as an actor, as opposed to the choices made by actresses like Kangana Ranaut or Vidya Balan?
See, I love acting. It is my passion and I enjoy what I do. I love the whole process – arriving on the set, slipping into the costumes, become a certain character and deliver a performance. I don’t know anything other than that.
Also, good content works. It always does! If you look at films like Queen or Tanu Weds Manu, it’s the content that was strong. So strong, in fact, that no matter who was acting in the film, it was going to work. So yes, we are progressing in terms of the content we are dishing out for audiences.
From Kyunki to Main Aur Mrs Khanna to Bodyguard to now Bajrangi Bhaijaan, how has Salman Khan evolved as your co-star?
He is the biggest superstar of the country! And trust me, he doesn’t even know it. He dosen’t flaunt it and doesn’t even talk about it. He just believes in being and perhaps that’s what makes him the biggest superstar. He is getting better!
It’s been 15 years in show business for you Kareena. An actress of your stature must know if a film is heading in the right direction while it is being made. What was your feeling like while Bajrangi Bhaijaan was being crafted?
Bajrangi Bhaijaan is going to be the biggest film of the year! Take it or leave it! (Laughs)
And the fact that Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan promoted it on Twitter makes it even more special, doesn’t it?
Oh yes, they all have been friends for years. I think even they know that this film is going to be super-fun.
Tell us, honestly, were you surprised when Shah Rukh Khan promoted Bajrangi Bhaijaan via Twitter?
No yaar, I think both of them have reached an age where they respect each other’s work. They are great legends! I never thought that Salman and SRK ever had any issue. To pit them against one another is boring!
There’s tremendous buzz about Shahid Kapoor’s wedding. Would you be attending it?
Yes, of course! Why would I not? I wish him the best. I am sure he is in a happy space also because of his professional life. I think it is the perfect time for him (to get married)! Shahid is a good actor and he has that spark. He was waiting for that one film and he proved his talent with Haider.
You are working with Shahid again in Udta Punjab…
There are three different tracks in Udta Punjab, and our tracks never really meet.
So many brand endorsements and movies you are looking forward to; Kareena is juggling her professional and personal commitments quite diligently. On the professional front though there are hiccups like, say, Gori Tere Pyar Mein. Do you regret doing such movies or at the end of the day you see such projects as a learning curve?
I think it is part of the business. I don’t regret any choice I’ve made. The intention of a filmmaker is always right. Sometimes films don’t come out the way they are meant to be. Ups and downs are part and parcel of life. Flops are a part of my journey and my career. I am as proud of Gori Tere Pyar Mein as I am of my other films.
Edited by Shweta Parande.