I slapped Imran some 16 times: Katrina Kaif

Let us start from the beginning. When you were first approached with this profile, what was your initial reaction?

Well when I first heard the script, I thought it wassomething very different, something very new, I was shooting for Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara in Spain at the time and I downloaded it from my email and I read it and I felt that it was something which had not been done before, something which had not been seen before and I mean at the end of the day that’s the kind of way I have always tried to choose my films. I don’t have any great detail or logic or exact point that I look for in a film. It’s just if I get a good sense from it and I feel that there is something interesting that we may be able to do with it, then I just kind of go for it.

What was the special thing about the character which you would like to tell us about?

There was room to interpret it the way I wanted to and I think that there was freedom. I knew the director, I knew what he was trying to do with the film and I felt that there was room for us to experiment with a very different kind of a heroine, a different kind of a girl and I thought that was going to be something interesting and I mean at the end of the day you try, you experiment and you only get to know once it releases at the box office whether you are right or wrong but at least you can you can give it that attempt.

This is quite a girl-driven film. The female protagonist of the film drives the movie. Was that something very challenging for you?

I don’t know if there’s ever been a female-driven film or a male-driven film. I don’t believe in that. I believe a film is a film – a movie can only work if everything about the film works. When people often ask me about characters I play in films or I have done multi-star cast films, I always say that it doesn’t matter for me. I see the movie as a totality and for me the romance and the story and the chemistry I found in this film was very interesting when I heard about the film. I found that very interesting between Imran’s character and my character and I felt that after everything we had been offered, there was still scope for us to have a new dimension between the two characters onscreen rather than your more traditional love stories. That was really the reason why both me and Imran were really happy and excited about the film.

You were being paired opposite Imran Khan for the first time. What was your impression before you met him and what was your impression after you actually met him?

Well me and Imran were offered films before which for some reason or another didn’t not work out. It’s always been like that for me where things have always seemed to fall into place at the right time when they were meant to be and I think we just both instantly liked it. I remember that I had said I liked the film and then they went and they spoke to Imran and the director told me that yeah you know he’s loved the film and it just happened very quickly. Everything just fell into place and we probably started shooting the film three months after saying yes to the script. So that was a really quick turn around process and I think me and Imran both come from very different worlds, different kind of school of films almost I would say. I think initially there was some awkwardness but in the end I think it’s really worked out in a very great way. I think we slowly got to really appreciate what the other person brings.

You’ve known director Ali for a while. He was the first AD on New York, your first film with YRF. Tell us a little about yours and Ali’s relationship.

The director Ali was the first AD on New York which was the first film that I did with Yash Raj and that was an amazing experience I think for all of us. I knew he was writing a script but I mean work is work and that’s very separate. So I read the script with a very open mind and I instantly thought this was something that I just wanted to do. I don’t know the exact reasons but it was just an instinct I had that it would be good. I think that it has helped us in a certain way that everyone on the film is young – no one is conscious of each other and I think that enabled us to be very free at least me in terms of the performance. There’s a lot of personality or a certain side to me that most people wouldn’t normally see or have not seen before. I mean we have to wait and see for the result but it’s something which I am also curious to know whether people will notice something different in the film.

How did you prepare yourself for the character in the film?

There wasn’t much character preparation to do. I mean the same for Zindagi- a lot of people have asked that question. Obviously in that film it was different as there was diving and stuff but besides it’s just finding your interpretation of the character. It’s not like you are having to train for something. It’s a really fun, romantic comedy. It’s more getting onto the set and everyone working together and trying to bring whatever they can to the scene.

Let’s get to the beginning, to the shoot. Now you were shooting in places where you must have been before in Delhi, Punjab but this time you were right in the middle of crowds. How was that?

Yeah we actually shot in some really, really nice locations in the film. I have shot before in Punjab and but this time we actually got to shoot in Delhi and I always wanted to shoot a film in Delhi. We shot in the famous landmarks and monuments in Delhi. We shot for a month in a place called Nabha, which is near Patiala and it was this really small, dinky hotel called Iqbal Inn. I remember Imran being terrified when we walked in and I think everyone was terrified. But that’s where it helped that we were all friends and we were all a young unit and everyone just went in there and said chuck it, let’s just have fun. There was no other food besides dal and roti and tandoori chicken.

There were lots of road scenes and places where you were in a car or a scooter in the middle of Delhi and in the middle of Chandigarh, with the crowds following you all around. How was that experience?

I mean obviously if you are going to shoot in public places, there are always going to be people. So you have to really keep your concentration and not allow it to distract you because you’ll be doing a really important scene and you have people on either side of the street which are not visible to the camera or in the frame and they’ll be shouting and screaming. But in the end it was really fun and a nice experience to see all of that.

Let us talk about Ali Zafar, who plays the character called Luv.

Ali Zafar was somebody who I think none of us really had met before the film and he of course plays Imran’s brother in the film. When he came onto the sets I thought he instantly added a really fresh and new dimension into the whole dynamics of everything. He instantly got the tone of the film. He is a really, really good performer. I think he is great at comedy and he just kind of brought a really fun vibe onto the whole shoot of the film. He is also a musician so in between the shots-we were shooting mainly outdoors in big spaces so we had a lot of space, a lot of time and he played his songs for the whole unit. It was just kind of a big bunch of group of friends hanging together on and off the sets.

Ali Zafar claims to have given you some guitar lessons which later translated onto your screen image.

(Laughs) Well I don’t think he should be taking any credit for my guitar playing skills or lack of them in the film because I don’t think they are very impressive. But yeah he did try to teach me some guitar and I did try to learn but I think it was a little futile as we didn’t get past more than 3 chords. So I don’t know if he is the best teacher or I am just a bad student but it didn’t work out too well.

Let us go back to the song Dhunki. You all were shooting in the mad heat of the northern plains in Agra.

Yeah we shot the song Dhunki in Agra and I think that was probably the most trying part of the film. It was way too with uncontrollable crowds. The media was constantly filming everything from a very close distance. It was probably the most difficult shoot I have been on. I think we kind of managed to pull it off together and it was like an ordeal at the end of it and everyone was really happy and just glad for it to be over. But we worked really hard on it and everyone pulled together as a team. In the end there have been so many crowds around who actually helped us.

There was a very critical scene in the film where Imran confronts you and you are supposed to slap him at a certain point. Imran was saying that you slapped him at least 20 times.

There was a scene in the film where Imran confronts my character about something. I wasn’t feeling we were getting the tone of the scene right and I felt that it was just not coming up and I was getting very frustrated and at one point I have to slap Imran. It was quite a long take and I think we did about 15 takes and because of the close proximity between him and the camera, you can’t really cheat a slap. So Imran said just slap me for real or look real and it will have more impact. So I said, okay fine. Well I don’t think he anticipated that we were going to shoot that particular bit 16 times, so he got awful lot of slaps from me and they were pretty hard. By the end of it he was like, I can’t take any more slaps but we got it really well in the end and I think we were happy with it.

Any sequences for which you had to really push yourself?

I think the sequence which was a little difficult was where I did the dialogue from Sholay and it was the first day of shoot with Ali Zafar and I think my second or third day of shoot with Imran. So none of us really knew each other very well and Ali and Imran are sitting down in the car. I am standing on the bonnet, wearing a short dress and I am supposed to be kind of very high and saying Dharamji’s dialogue from Sholay where I am referring to Ali Zafar as Basanti and Imran as the bad mausi who is coming in between. So it was very funny and that’s what I liked about the character – it’s the girls giving it back to the boys.

Could you describe your character and her style in the film?

I play a character called Dimple in the film and she has two looks in the film. One is when she is in college which is more like the whole rockstar, grunge vibe- very unkempt hair with a lot of kaajal on her eyes, just jeans and. Rocky S and me kind of worked together on that. The second look is after about 4-5 years later in the story and completely normal. I mean the kind of clothes you would go and buy from Linking Road, not giving too much thought or not over-styled. The main thing was to try and keep her real. She’s not supposed to be an unattainable or overtly-glamorous girl. She’s a normal girl who is just you know kind of really adventurous and passionate about things and a little bit whacky and we didn’t want the styling at any point to overpower anything. Except as I said for the college portion. So I think it’s worked really well. In terms of the character, I think you have to see the film and decide.

Why should people go and watch the movie?

I never have a reason why someone should go and watch a film. As I said, you take a film, you put in as much love and hard work you can. You give it everything and then you put it out for the audience to see and judge. And then you just have to hope and pray that they like it, that’s the way it works.

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