Humility is her second name, courtesy her best companion. She comes across as honest, frank, genuine and largely undiplomatic. She doesn't parry a question either. If she isn't able to meet the time for her interview, she would start her message with humbling words like …“my sincere apologies…”, a trait quite uncommon in Bollywood.
Meet Katrina Kaif. These days, more than Prakash Jha, the producer-director of her film Raajneeti, Rajneetireleasing this Friday, she is making news for playing a “non-glamorous” role in it. She feels rather amazed at the epithet, “It's a misconception. I think the glamour comes from a woman's strength of character, the fire in her and ability do something rare and not by wearing a mini skirt. I think the role of a domesticated woman is rather more unglamorous than the one I am playing in Raajneeti.”
As Indu in Raajneeti, Katrina adds, she plays the daughter of a political financer, is spoilt, wears trendy clothes and lives life on her conditions. “Indu is very outgoing, fiery, brash and wants everything in life. She is quite shameless in love, meaning, without any caution she goes to the person she loves and pushes him to love her back. When it doesn't get reciprocated she feels jolted and realises she can't get everything she wants, that way my character is pretty glamorous. The so-called unglamorous part comes only in the later half of the film when I am pushed to live a politician's life out of business compulsions.”
Next, speaking “straight Hindi” has been one of the hardest practices she did for the film. She admits, “I really tried to push my boundaries to do better; I hope I am accepted by the viewers.”
To maintain a recall value, Jha has been talking about Raajneeti in almost all his interviews and he minced no words earlier saying the film is on the first family of politicians in India, a statement he now refrains from, so do his actors.
Quips Katrina, “I think the blame should go to me as I come from a foreign land, speak accented Hindi which has made the media think that I am portraying Sonia Gandhi. It's not her biography. In fact, as a politician I come pretty late in the picture,” she asserts.
And to portray one, Katrina spent a lot of time with Jha who is familiar with the politics of Bihar. She also saw videos of several women politicians. She of course has reached an opinion too. “I think it is easy to criticise politicians. Some of the criticism may be right but by playing Indu, I realised how tough and courageous a job politics is. They take the responsibilities of the fault done by others and have to take many unwarranted things in their stride. Though the job comes with a lot of benefits, it requires a lot of personal sacrifices too. We never keep ourselves in their shoes before criticising.”
Katrina's frankness seems to have come from life she lived with her mother who, as a single parent, nurtured her along with her six sisters and taught her the virtues of living a privileged life. She agrees, “I regularly pray to God and thank Him for giving me so much in such a short span of time. I feel so privileged that if I worked hard, I got returns too. So many people work hard, get frustrated for not achieving what they worked for.”
She adds that accepting success easily also came from her frequent travels. “Within quick short spaces I frequently changed countries, societies, cultures and language that it became easy to accept everything that came to me. I take people on their face value and never judge them. I open up to those who talk to me with a clean agenda.”
Films are not the only thing on her mind. An orphanage in Mumbai, which would be an extension of her mother's orphanage she runs in Hong Kong where Katrina was born, is next she wants to have “instinctively.”
“It needs lots of permissions to have one in Mumbai. We have just got one in Madurai and admitted a baby girl there. I would like to have a house of my own in Karjat and Madurai so that I could take care of the orphanages too.” So, what makes Katrina so humble and gracious? She laughs, “Life taught me to forgive those who haven't been nice to me. I may been bad with some people before whom I can't go with clean conscience. I seek such people's forgiveness from God,” she says.
As Raajneeti, like any other film is “an exam for her”, she asserts that she didn't do it to change her image or audiences. “I did it because it was engaging, exciting and I liked shades in my character. I am not saying to people ‘watch me, I am different in it'.”