Sep 21, 2011

Kareena Kapoor Interview, Profile

Bollywood Actress Kareena Kapoor Interview, Biography
She’d rather avoid parties with loud music, questions on Saif, books, and Hindi movies — Kareena Kapoor, 31 today, on growing up

From “Refugee” at 20, to a “Bodyguard” raking in the money as you turn 31 — you’ve done a lot of cinema these 11 years. Compared to that, isn’t there rather little we know of you, as a person?
Whatever people understand of me is enough, I guess. Otherwise I’ve let my work speak for myself, let people see me on screen, and left it at that, at least the past two years or so. Having these experiences with the media — them misunderstanding me and portraying me as somebody else, as someone I am not — left me in a bit of a corner, you know, in a personal zone. So I was just like, let my people know me, and my fans can know me through the work I do.

But you’d have idolized stars as you grew up, and wasn’t knowing them as much a part of the idolization as seeing their movies in a theatre?
Absolutely. But then the press was so different at that time. There was a certain amount of respectability that was left — now, it’s scary. We have to train our minds and become this harder person inside, to be able to accept just anything.

What’s ‘anything’?
It’s a long story, from me and Saif getting married in a nikah four years back, to families having problems about our bond. These things make life a little murky. I don’t know from where all this comes up. And as to stuff about me and Saif, it’s boring even for us to read, now, so I’m honestly pitying the reader!
From the Kapoors being not-so-comfortable about their girls entering cinema, to how the Pataudis will feel about you as and when you formalize the relationship —

you’ve been sort of under the scanner for good behaviour over a pretty long while now, haven’t you?
I guess it’s about a search for gossip, a little controversy, kya hai... The Kapoors and the Pataudis are very liberal minded, cosmopolitan people. I was already an actor when Saif met me. Saif ’s mother and sister are actresses, and there’s a certain amount of respect, and I’m sure none of them mind the fact that I am an actress. My parents love the fact that I’m an actress.

Don’t fans in India love the stars more than the films? No disrespect, but Salman doesn’t need a script of any great detail for “Bodyguard” to make truckloads, does it?
But I think that’s the case with most actors in Bollywood, isn’t it? We say the script is the real hero, but is it really the real hero? We don’t really know. There are no answers to that. Salman has a persona on screen that he can carry off anything under the sun. But even if people go to see a star, there must be something in the movie to bring them to cinemas.

You were ready for all this when you entered the industry?
Umm… of course, I come from a film family, so I was armed in a way. And my parents warned me that it wouldn’t be easy. We lead very public lives. I tried to keep my track uni-dimensional, just to be known as a good actor. And the perks of superstardom are not really perks; they’re usually about reading something in the dailies each morning. Trust me, there are absolutely no perks to this.

When you were 20, there weren’t many actresses in their 30s. Of course, the female leads have had shorter lifespans than the heroes. Did you think you’d see yourself being talked about in all these mega-box-office terms after you’d crossed 30?
In today’s generation of stars — or at least, I’d like to believe — it’s, at least in my case, also about talent. It’s about what you offer on screen, it’s about what you offer directors. And I think it’s not like somebody is 30 or 31, so there isn’t space for them. I don’t want to believe in that. I hope one day I can be doing a “Devil Wears Prada” when I’m 64. And I want to believe in it and I think that if I believe in it, it’ll happen. It’s not that I’m sweet 16, or Bollywood is looking for someone who is sweet 16 anymore. It was a little like that in Karisma’s time, but not any more. Our scripts may not be changing much, but certain directors’ mindsets are changing. They don’t care how old somebody is, they just want to work with someone who’s talented. When I was around 20, I was giving some of the biggest flops in my career, while “3 Idiots” came just two years back. So it’s not like it’s the age that matters, it’s from film to film.

How have you changed through your twenties?
Of course, I’ve changed. I hope I have grown. The ultimate goal is that one should grow, not only as an actor, but also as a person. It’ll help in my performances as well. In my 20s I was a little more impulsive. Today, my likes and dislikes have changed a little, but I think that comes with age… I don’t know… I know many people say that ‘Oh, is it because of Saif?’ I don’t know. I am hoping that it’s also a little bit because I have grown on my own, with my own personal experiences.
    I am sure Saif was also doing and thinking differently when he was 25, 30, as compared to what he is today. If I say to Saif, we have to go to a party tonight, and there’s going to be loud music, he gets a little perturbed. But when he was 28, 29, perhaps the only thing he wanted to do was to listen to the loud music. And similarly with me as well. I also would rather sit across with friends and have dinner, today, rather than go to these crazy parties with 100 or 200 people. Once I used to look forward to it. I guess it’s just a natural progression that takes place.

What else is part of the natural progression?
I think I’m a little healthier and my brain is a little stronger. I am much more aware. My brain has grown to be sharper, if I may say so. And not in a wrong sort of way. I think I am just a little more aware; at 21 I wasn’t that aware of things, not as alert. And of course, I’m healthier than what I was when I was 21.
Your health and weight have,of course,been subjects of national debate.
Oh my god, yes, even that. I am very health conscious, though. I like to do yoga. I am normal also, there are days when I fall off the wagon and have my pizzas and do stuff like that, because, I’m a human being, yaar!

Does being more aware translate into being more diplomatic now?
I don’t generally understand this term, when it’s asked if someone has become more diplomatic. I don’t think I have become diplomatic, it’s just that I’ve become more conscious of the pros and cons of things.

But you do say blunt stuff now and then, even now, don’t you?
I mean, I’m honest, yes, I am open and I’m honest. And with the press, I’m as honest as I can be.
But the ‘as honest as I can be’ has changed, hasn’t it?
Umm… I’m a little more wary now. I have my family to protect; I have my relationship to protect. And I don’t know — ya, I don’t want anything to be murky. I hold back a little bit on that account, yet.
    And frankly I wish people would ask me more about my work, more about specific things I’m interested in, rather than ask me again about where Saif is, and what color suit he is wearing on our next holiday, you know, that’s what they’re often asking!

Do reading tastes also change over age?
Sorry to disappoint, I’m just not into reading. Saif would earlier buy me books but he’s given up, poor chap, and says it’s a waste of money to buy me any. I read the papers and all that, I like to know what’s going on, but I’m not one to take a book and sit down. I’d rather spend that time in watching DVDs; I play a lot of Sudoku, I’d rather do that for a couple of hours.

What sort of DVDs do you watch?
Mostly English movies; I like watching Meryl Streep’s work, like the “Bridges of Madison County”. Of course, “Godfather”. Stuff like that. Drama based, and love stories. Hindi — I don’t watch too many of the latest releases. The last movies I saw were “3 Idiots” and “Dabangg”. We don’t watch a lot of Hindi movies

That’s a question of taste, or of not having much to learn from them?
(Laughs) I think it’s also a question of a lack of time, and a little bit of a lack of interest.
Isn’t that a diplomatic answer?
Well, there is a lack of time. Both I and Saif are not very hot on going to the theatre and watching the latest release, at least the latest Hindi release. I think the last movie he saw was also “3 Idiots”, and later he saw “Dabangg” on DVD. He’s not seen “Bodyguard” also.
How tough a bargainer are you? During the time you were in the process of signing “Heroine” there was a lot of talk that the final call was being held up since Kareena was driving a hard bargain over the money…
Oh God! I don’t get into the money aspect of things at all. My managers do that and stuff. And also, there’s a lot of speculation about such things, most of which is not true. Let me tell you, I’m making the least money in every project possible!

Is that so? You’re commonly described as the ‘highest paid actress’ and you make the least?
(Laughs) But nobody knows actually how much I get paid. And trust me, I wish it was a little more!
The common reader has a vague idea that
you’re charging 8 crore for “Heroine”.
I wish that was true! I really do!

The birthday is a time for family?
Yeah… I guess we’ll just spend time with friends and family. We’re not really travelling out of the country because we want to be closer to Saif’s dad. So it’s not quite the way we have sometimes done it in past years.

Are you the sort to go to a temple first thing on your birthday?
I don’t know if I am very religious. I go everywhere. When I was in Patiala I went to the gurdwara. When I am shooting in Ajmer I go to the dargah. If I am in Jammu I will go to Vaishno Devi. I think I am more spiritual than religious. So it’s not like I will go out of my way to, you know, be religious, or this sort of thing. I go to church because we believe in Jesus; my mum is like half Catholic.

I didn’t know that. You’ve been attending church since childhood?
Yeah. I’ve been going since I was in my mother’s arms; it’s part of my childhood. Every Christmas, it’s a must. I’ll probably make my children do that as well, it’s a tradition and an offering of love and respect. That is something that will always be there.

Is there an instinct to look back, to rewind, as you end another year of life?
No, I don’t look back. I’ve never done that. Good things are remembered, bad things forgotten. If I have done something, it’s obviously for a reason. I want to obviously move ahead. And I learn from the mistakes, that I do. But I’m not one of those to look back at life.

What did you ask Santa for, on Christmas, most often?
It was always like, never take my loved ones away — that’s always been the basic prayer, whether it was Santa or Jesus Christ. It was always, always like, never take me away from my loved ones. That’s it. I’ve never asked for anything much.

You’re happy with life?
Happiness is quite relative… but yes, I really couldn’t have asked for more. I think God’s given me a lot. I’m happy, I am.