Patcy N in Mumbai
Kareena Kapoor may have married Saif Ali Khan but is not ready to assume the title of a begum just yet.
After the much publicised nuptials that took place in October this year, speculations related to the actress's filmi career were rife -- will she change her surname post-marriage? Would she still be open to donning a bikini onscreen again, etc.
In an exclusive interview with rediff.com's Patcy N, Kareena talks about, among other things, her first book as an author -- The Style Diary of a Bollywood Diva -- and sets the record straight.
Catch the first part of the interview here.
Would you have preferred to enter the industry looking the way you look now, or are you happy with the way you looked then?
I think that had its charm and uniqueness. I was young, just 18, and you are kind of raw then and there is a raw kind of beauty about you.
I don't think I would change my transformation from the way it has happened in the book to what I am today because everything just worked out fine.
I am so happy that because of the way I looked -- I was plump -- I did a film like Refugee and played a Muslim girl at 18.
When you look back, is there anything that you hate now but loved at that time?
There was an entire phase when I went blonde. Everyone was turning gold and had goldilocks and I did so too. At one point my hair went orange which was quite bizarre and I don't think I would do that today.
That was very happening at that point of time and it was fun but that's one thing that I will definitely not do now.
Watch Kareena talk about her film career and new book here!
Watch Kareena talk about her film career and new book here!
'I enjoy being glamorous'
What look were you most satisfied with in a movie apart from Tashan's bikini?
Well, I think Tashan was great for the fact that it started the whole size zero phenomenon. It started a trend where a girl looked like a model and looked beautiful in it and that was the beauty of Tashan.
But there were also other films like Kambhakt Ishq which was extremely stylised in terms of wardrobe, hairstyle and makeup. It was the first time that we had 200 shoes on the sets, a crazy number of options for clothes and for bags because of that particular role.
I think that I enjoy being glamorous. I enjoy being dressed up. But I also enjoy being very, very simple and very casual in my films like in 3 Idiots. So, there are two sides to me.
Any movie where you didn't like the way you looked?
I don't think so. Every film has so much work going into it, plus an actor always sits on a look board.
When you are working on a film for 80 days, you wear those clothes for that many days, so obviously you make sure that you are comfortable at all times, if you are not comfortable the performance suffers.
I am lucky that the kind of films I have done, I could keep the clothes real as well as comfortable and there is nothing more stylish than being comfortable.
'If my director wants me to do intimate scenes, there is absolutely no problem at all'
In the book you say you are not going to wear a bikini in a film again. Now that you are married, are there other things that you've decided not to do in films, like an item song or intimate scenes?
I enjoy doing item numbers so I'll always do them. Song and dance is in my blood -- I am from a family that is full of rhythm, songs and dance.
I don't think I would not wear a bikini just because I am married. Saif is the most liberal man ever. He always tells me you must wear a bikini, but I don't have the patience to have a beach body. I don't think I can do that.
What about intimate scenes...?
That's absolutely fine if it is part of a story. I am a director's actor, so if my director wants that, there is absolutely no problem at all.
'Kate Moss and Angelina Jolie are extremely stylish'
You have said that you don't follow any particular actress in India but you always followed your sister.
Absolutely. She is amazing.
Which foreign actor do you look up to?
There are so many. Kate Moss and Angelina Jolie are extremely stylish.
They are all stylish because they are always casually dressed. If you notice, there are so many events where they are so themselves. They will wear just t-shirt and a jacket on top and jeans and boots.
If you are at a great event where you have to unveil or launch something or at a red carpet event, then it is great to be in a gown. But if I have to constantly be dressed like that I don't think that would make me stylish
'Marriage is overrated because many people have pre-conceived notions about it'
From B-town royalty to actual royalty is quite a transition. What is the significance of the title Begum of Pataudi?
Of course, there is a lot of history and lot of respect behind it. All this comes together when people ask me what I feel about being Begum of Pataudi.
But to me, my mother-in-law (Sharmila Tagore) is the Begum of Pataudi. She is the epitome of elegance and ultimate beauty. To me it's always looking up to her, learning from her.
Of course, I am honoured that people ask me this question but I think what I am is because I am an actor. I won't take any title too seriously but I do respect it and hold it close to my heart.
You have only recently got married. Is the start of a marriage all lovey-dovey or is it full of adjustments?
Marriage is overrated because so many people will have so many pre-conceived notions about it.
I think if you are in love and you meet the right man, it's great.
I am not any different from what I was before October 16, and I hope that it continues to be like that.
'If you are in love, it's not a crime to want to be together all the time'
In the book you mention that you have been on holidays with Saif and have never been secretive about the live-in relationship. Was your family okay with that arrangement? Would you advise youngsters to have a live-in relationship?
Saif and I were just discussing that we Indians are schizophrenic in our behaviour. We tend to hide behind the curtain a lot of times.
I am a modern girl who is also traditional in some ways because I come from a family which is extremely traditional. The fact is that my family allowed me and gave me the freedom to choose to be in a live-in relationship and I think there is absolutely nothing wrong in that.
There are always two sides to a coin. Everyone has a take on the issue and some conservative families will say it's not right. I think it is ultimately what you believe in. It is a very, very individual decision.
If you are in love it's not a crime to want to be together all the time.
My advice is not to shy away from it but if you don't want to do it there is no hard and fast rule that you must do it.
'Our wedding was rich in emotions and love'
How did Saif propose to you?
That's an extremely personal question which I don't think readers need to know.
But you could tell us about the preparations -- getting dressed, getting ready, the functions... did it unnerve you? Was it hectic and exhausting?
We were just exhausted with the party because we had friends from Kenya, England, America; we had friends from all over the globe who had come across to be with us.
It was unusual, it was different, it was a wedding which was rich in emotions and love, and that's why there were just 100 people.
It was a unique wedding. It was a marriage that both Saif and I wanted which was very special and that's why we don't talk about it too much.
'Saif eats anythign that walks'
You have been a vegetarian for a while now. Do you miss non-vegetarian food?
Not really. I eat eggs from time to time and that keeps me going. Inherently I just kind of enjoy eating more vegetables. People think there's no chance that I eat lauki (bottle gourd) but I love it and it keeps me calmer.
Saif is a non-vegetarian...
He eats anything that walks.
When there's non-veg food on the dining table, do you crave it?
No. In fact when he is in India, 90 per cent of the time Saif is a fishitarian -- he eats lots of fish and vegetables, salads and soups. I enjoy my paneer, tofu, Indian dals and rajma.
When he is abroad and we travel on vacation he loves his steaks and red meat and lamb. He doesn't do that here, he is very fitness conscious
'I will never look at anything in my career as a mistake'
In the book you talk about your mom trying to feed you lots of ghee and food. Did she also give you tips about your career and acting and how to look glamorous?
Mom always said don't eat pizzas and French fries because you will become round like a ball. Because all I was doing was eating French fries and Simba chips or some stuff like that.
I have always been a foodie. My mom was very fitness conscious; when mom was an actress she had the most amazing figure ever.
She never really told me anything but she told us to eat the right kind of food. Today, when I look back, everything that she told me to eat then -- which I didn't -- I eat today and enjoy it.
It's like I am waiting for my lunch to eat my karela (bitter gourd) and roti; earlier when she would give that to me I would lock myself in the bathroom.
I don't know whether I've matured in that sense or whether my taste buds have evolved, but I wait for the days when karela is made at home, and not many women my age would want that!
Career-wise what has been your biggest mistake?
My career is my own. To point to one thing and say it's a mistake is bringing down a lot of people and I would never do that.
Whether it is a hit or whether it is a flop everything is a part of me, everything is what has made me what I am. I will never look at anything in my career as a mistake.
'There is no role that I would want to play more than the one in Talaash'
Five questions asked by readers for Kareena Kapoor
Name one big quality in you that has made you so successful and famous in the Hindi film industry? -- Nandan from Mumbai
I think I am a very passionate girl, I am passionate about my work. I think passion has made me the girl I am.
If Steven Spielberg was to make one of your movies in Hollywood and you had to select the movie, which one would it be?
-- Pardeep from Mumbai
I think Talaash would be his kind of movie. It's a bit of sixth sense and supernatural; I can imagine him making that kind of film.
And there is no role that I would want to play more than what I did in Talaash.
Which role would be toughest and challenging that you were eyeing for. Having said that, if you are offered a totally negative villain role would you do it? -- Manoj Phadke from Pune
I am a sucker for a good role and acting. I have been passionate and ambitious only about performing. So I have always been pretty fearless in picking a role.
I want to do different roles. I have always done that in my career. I try to keep a balance between performance oriented roles and commercial films.
I would love to do a negative character and would never shy away from that kind of role.
I have seen movies in which you been size zero and others where you're relatively fuller. How difficult is to manage your weight? -- Satish from Mumbai
It is difficult in the sense when I did Tashan, but I don't think I am going to do that again for another role. I am happy the way I am now and this is the way I would like to remain for the rest of my life.
I came to know that you are a vegetarian. How do you manage at parties and functions and when you're on foreign trips/film schedules? -- Sachin Arora
As far as foreign locations go, today you get a lot of vegetarian food. That's when I get to gorge on pizzas and pastas because they are so easily available and that's something I love, also lots of salads.
Every restaurant abroad today has become conscious about vegetarians and they are combining meals with tofu and cottage cheese and they are giving good concoctions, so it's nice and easily available.