'I will be shattered if Khushi fails'
Her last two films were a disaster, but Kareena Kapoor's feeling fine
Kareena Kapoor is supremely unperturbed.
Her last two films, about the fact that her last two films, Kunal Kohli's Mujhse Dosti Karoge and Talat Jani's Jeena Sirf Merre Liye fell flat at the turnstiles.
"One or two swallows do not make a summer," she says as she settles down for a tete-a-tete with Vickey Lalwani:
Are you not disappointed at the dismal fate of Mujhse Dosti Karoge and Jeena Sirf Merre Liye?
Why should I feel low? I am feeling absolutely fine. No actress has hit the jackpot continuously. Two films are not going to decide my career. I have two very exciting roles, Dharmesh Darshan's Talash and Surya's Khushi. Talash will hit the theatres in December end and Khushi is due in mid-January
Let's talk about Khushi first.
Oh yes. Khushi is a Hindi remake of a film which ran for 220 weeks in South India. The film was made in Tamil and Telugu as Khushi, directed by Surya. The euphoria it created was far more than Aditya Chopra's Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. Boney Kapoor bought the rights of that film. He thought only I could do the female lead's role. This is one of the major films of my career.
People will realise that there is more to Kareena than just glamour.
But you do need a change of image, don't you? The Poo character of Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham spilled over to Mujhse Dosti Karoge and you almost got straitjacketed in the glamour mould.
(interrupts) I am fed up of people literally coming at me with this. You have to do films where you need to prance and dance in skirts. There are hardly any films being made where the heroine is not a glamour doll. Kajol and my sister Karisma did that for ten years.
Why do I need a change of image after having done just seven to eight films in my career? Tomorrow if I do a role wearing a sari so early in my career, these same people will say that I have become old.
I am very happy with what I am doing, simply because nobody can do what I am doing. Do you know heroines around 30 are dying to don Western and modern outfits?
Tell us about your role in Khushi?
I play Khushi, a college-going girl as transparent as a mirror. I am an outspoken and fearless girl from a small town who falls in love with the foreign-returned Karan (Fardeen Khan). Egos divide them apart. Collegians will identify with my role.
Did you adopt a different method of acting?
Yes. This is the first I have worked on my character. I have adapted a different style of acting. I am not in my usual glamour avatar. Khushi is a very simple girl.
There is just one song in college where I have worn clothes which reflect fashion and attitude.
Also, considering the fact that Khushi gets into fights very easily because of her frank nature, I had to get into the skin of the character as a T. Else, the entire essence of the film would have been lost. Every boy will want to fall in love with my character.
Do you mean to say that the audience will see a non-glamorous Kareena in Khushi?
Except in that one song in Khushi, the audience will not look beyond my face. If they do, I will change my name!
Is Khushi your most challenging role till date?
(laughs) Hmm, I don't know. Today, I cannot figure out what is challenging and what is not. Considering the fact that both Jyothika (who played Khushi in the Tamil version) and Bhumika (who played Khushi in the Telugu version) won awards for their performances, it has been a challenging role, yes.
How did you prepare for this role?
I saw the Tamil version. Frankly, I was nonplussed when I saw Jyotika's performance. It was awesome. Till date, Karisma and Kajol have not performed as strongly as that.
I told Boney Kapoor that I should not be taken for this role. I told him he should cast Jyothika. He smiled and said he needed someone from Bollywood. And according to him, I was best suited to give justice to this portrayal.
Any highlight of the film?
The scene just before the interval. Khushi and Karan have a major quarrel. It is a long, 12-minute scene which is actually one full reel. Fardeen and I worked very hard for that shot.
What if Khushi does not click?
I will be shattered. I will take off for a holiday for four months. I am confident it will do well. It could turn out to be a trendsetter. It does not have snow-packed mountains, chiffon saris and garments worth thousands of pounds. It is not candy floss, yet it is a love story.
How was it working with Fardeen Khan?
Great. He has acted brilliantly. With the Provogue campaign, Fardeen has resurfaced. With Khushi, he is going to silence all his detractors and become a huge craze. We gelled so well with each other that we really started thinking that we were Khushi and Karan.
Initially, people thought that Hrithik and I made a great pair. But after Khushi, people will say the same for me with Fardeen. After the release, I am sure that we both will get at least three movies together in a short period of time.
Your mother (Babita) advised you not to sign Mujhse Dosti Karoge. Like always, did you consult her this time?
This time, my mother was adamant that I do this role. And, my mother's choice has seldom been proved wrong. She saw the Tamil version of Khushi before I saw.
Tell us about Talash now.
Oh yes. That's a tailormade role for me (smiles). Talash is an out-and-out action film, and I have done all that heroines normally do in action-packed flicks.
You are the new element in J P Dutta's LoC. Will you have enough footage in that huge batallion?
J P Dutta is a special person. I owe a lot to him. He introduced me in Refugee. People did not like that film but everyone said, 'That girl (me) is a star'. I am not demanding my market price from Dutta. Whatever he gives is fine with me.
Come to think of it, J P Dutta will not give me a raw deal. I will be noticed. I am very excited about this film. My portions will be shot in Delhi. I don't have to go to Ladakh.
Whom are you cast opposite?
That's a surprise. I am not disclosing (laughs).
Why did you walk out of Karan Johar's home production which is being directed by Nikhil Advani?
They made Rs 180 million from Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Rs 500 million from Kabhie Khushi Kabhie Gham. They wanted me to cut down my market price.
Why should I let go a rich party on the payment front? Don't I work hard?
On the other hand, I am definitely considerate for filmmakers who are hardpressed. My family has been in the film business for years and we know what the ratios are.