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Katrina Kaif is now as big as the Khans at the Box Office
So, who do you have in your film? Aamir? Salman? Shah Rukh? Katrina?” Her initials may promote Manoj Bajpai’s coaching centre chain in Aarakshan, but KK is really the new Khan in Bollywood. There has never been a question mark on whether she is sellable but now Katrina Kaif is really in a league of her own. Yes, there’s Kareena Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra but our Laila is the brand new password at the box office.Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara is the latest in a series of hits, superhits and blockbusters that Kats has delivered at the box office. She is in that dream win-win zone — when her films don’t do well (Yuvvraaj, Tees Maar Khan) it is the fault of the maker or her co-stars; when they do well, she gets a queen’s share of the credit. Really, Katrina Kaif can do no wrong. Whether you are an old hand like Yash Chopra or Subhash Ghai or a new hotshot maker like Zoya Akhtar or Kabir Khan, Katrina is the choice number one. The rest can follow.So what makes Katrina tick? What is she doing right that the others have not been able to crack? Kats tells t2 she has no plan or strategy. She doesn’t even analyse the successes. She just moves on to the next project. Huh? Yes!‘there are so many battles every day...’“You know, actually when you are in the middle of it all, you don’t see it like that,” Katrina’s usual matter-of-fact, just-chill voice and words greet us on the phone.You congratulate her on ZNMD’s success and the “Thank you” is even more mechanical. As if a new TV show she features in has got good TRPs rather than her big Bollywood film making Rs 82 crore nett at the box office.“There are so many battles every day, so much work which goes on behind the scenes every day. You are constantly fighting the battle, you are constantly struggling and you are constantly working with as much dedication as you can. Okay ZNMD has done very well and you are really happy but you know that there’s the next film, Mere Brother Ki Dulhan releasing in September. You start working on that. You start thinking of how best to put the film out there.”If there’s been one word that has always come up in a sentence describing Katrina — besides “stunning”, “sexy” and “beautiful” — it’s “professional”. That’s the word you will hear if you speak to any of her directors or producers or ad filmmakers. It is that professional approach that has for years even masked her limited acting and language skills.But the nonchalance is not just professional. It is also personal. “There are so many other things... in your head and in your heart... that you can’t really sit and start thinking: ‘Oh! I have had so many hits!’ And I think that’s been a very good thing for me.” The hint of emotion creeps into her voice. “It has never let me be overhappy or overconfident about things.” character, not decoratorOne thing the half-Brit half-Indian stunner does enjoy, though, is how filmmakers do not just want to decorate their films with Katrina Kaif anymore. They are writing roles for her in Bollywood now. You really can’t imagine anybody else as the globetrotting sea-diving instructor Laila in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara.“Ya, I think that is really nice,” she says, her voice now actually mirroring some excitement. “You do get a deep sense of satisfaction when you get a character which people really appreciate. Whether it’s a Raajneeti or Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara or an Ajab (Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani),” she says before remembering to plug her new release. “....and that’s actually what I am really hoping happens with Mere Brother Ki Dulhan.”For starters, Mere Brother Ki Dulhan, the new Yash Raj Films release, is promoting the film on the shoulders of Katrina. The song Dhunki, where Katrina is seen as a desi rockstar working the crowd from stage, smoking a bidi and finally being arrested, is already a rage.“That’s not the entire film,” Katrina laughs. “That’s the portion where Dimple Dixit, my character, is in college. Dhunki is basically a college song. She is like this wild girl who plays the guitar and is in that space. So the song which goes from Delhi to Agra kind of sets up the college life. When we come back to her, it’s four years later and she is like any normal girl now. Not a rockstar anymore but her characteristics remain the same.”She isn’t that sure about where this one will go although she loved shooting for the film co-starring Imran Khan and Ali Zafar. “Even though on the surface it may look like a regulation romantic comedy, my character is completely, completely different,” Katrina explains. “Either people are going to love it or think that Katrina needs to go to a mental asylum. It’s a completely mad character... she is really wacky, really carefree in a loud way. The film is in a fun space... probably the space I like the most... from all the films I have done. That way this is a very important film for me, very important to know how my character is accepted.”It’s a no-brainer that the film, directed by Ali Abbas Zafar and releasing on September 9, will get a huge opening. Not only does it star the ZNMD girl but also the Delhi Belly boy. “It doesn’t matter what I think of the pair or it doesn’t matter what Imran thinks,” Katrina again switches to matter-of-fact mode. “What matters is what the audience feels about us. That is something we will only know on the Friday. We have tried our best, had a blast making the film, we have really sunk our teeth into it, we both were doing only this one film at that time. We shot in pretty rough locations, not very glamorous places... didn’t stay in glamorous accommodations.”‘this is my job...’The unsaid formula of the Katrinisation of the Bolly box office is her brilliant PR skills. For everyone who thought that a certain Mr Salman Khan would kaput her career post their break-up, he is not only doing a film with her — Kabir Khan’s Ek Tha Tiger — he even requested her to do an item number in his Bodyguard, starring Kareena in the lead.As an industry insider observes: “Everybody has camps in Bollywood but despite being Salman’s girlfriend for so many years, you still cannot put Katrina in any camp. She and her box-office success are beyond all that.”Now, Katrina has done the impossible. Yes, signed a film with Shah Rukh Khan. The woman whose birthday party started the mahayudh between Salman and SRK will star opposite King Khan in Yash Chopra’s next. She is also very smart when it comes to working with GenNext — Ranbir to Imran. “Everyone whose name you mentioned, tell me one reason why I would not do a film with them,” Katrina shoots back. “If the film has a good script and you like it and you want to do it, you do it. This is my job. This is where I am working. I haven’t had an issue with any of them that would make me not work with them.”This Dhunki girl clearly knows how to make everyone dance to her dhun.


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