She is one of Bollywood’s most popular leading ladies. She hails from the first family of Indian cinema so acting is pretty much in her genes. She can go from mainstream masala movies to offbeat sensitive drama with the ease of a pro. She is the powerhouse performer, Kareena Kapoor.
Rajeev Masand: You have been in the industry for about seven years. Your first film was in 2000. Can you tell me how many films you have done in all these years? I counted so I will tell if you get it wrong.
Kareena Kapoor: Are you serious? You counted the bad ones?
Rajeev Masand: Yes. I counted all of them.
Kareena Kapoor: I think about 30 odd.
Rajeev Masand: Twenty five films including Don.
Kareena Kapoor: Are you sure? I think it’s a little more than that. I think you have missed out two or three, which I will tell once we’re off camera.
Rajeev Masand: Does 25-30 feel like a lot?
Kareena Kapoor: I feel it’s less. It should be 50-55.
Rajeev Masand: You feel you have worked hard in all these years?
Kareena Kapoor: Yes. That I have from some really really crappy films to of course some of the best films. But it’s been a great journey. Seven years have been awesome.
Rajeev Masand: What would you say have been your career highlights?
Kareena Kapoor: I think Chameli, Yuva, Dev and Omkara.
Rajeev Masand: Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham?
Kareena Kapoor: K3G and Refugee are like ‘there’.
Rajeev Masand: I still think Pooh (the character Kareena played in K3G) is something that nobody else can be.
Kareena Kapoor: I don’t think Karan can make another Pooh. That’s one character that’s immortal.
Rajeev Masand: What is your personal favourite of all the performances?
Kareena Kapoor: It would be of course Pooh because I think it was great fun doing. We had a blast. And working with the unit and the six mega star set was a dream come true for any actress. I don’t there has ever been any film like that after that.
Rajeev Masand: Did you think at the time of starting out that a Kapoor girl entering movies, doing mainstream movies, there would be a time when you would do a Mani Ratnam or a Vishal Bharadwaj film?
Kareena Kapoor: You know when I joined, I started with a non-commercial film and not the exactly mini-skirted college girl look. I always wanted to do films that were meaningful. I always watched Fiza and Zubeida and thought when am I going to get an opportunity? That will never change with me. I keep looking out for roles. Like after Omkara, I’m hungry again. I may do a Yeh Mera Dil or a commercial film, but I will still want to do that.
Rajeev Masand: Of these 30 odd films that you have done, are there those that you just wish were not on the scene any more? The ones that you could rub off the resume?
Kareena Kapoor: There are lots of them, but I can’t name them because there are my films and I did do them be it for greed or you know how it is.
Rajeev Masand: Do you see them on cable or while switching channels and go –‘Oh my God! I can’t believe I look like this’.
Kareena Kapoor: Most of my friends or Shahid will send me an sms – put on so and so channel. You are on TV as usual making a fool of yourself - But it’s okay. They are my films and have been a part of them. And through that also I learnt that it’s quality over quantity.
Rajeev Masand: Every actor says that what one has to show at the end is all these great performances, but it’s also money. What are perhaps the most precious things that you have bought from your earnings?
Kareena Kapoor: You know when it comes to shopping, I’m more into junk shopping. And a major amount of what I earn, I love to spend on travelling because both me and Shahid love travelling. So even when we get 10 days, we are not in Mumbai. We travel. My dream is to complete the globe in the next 10 years. So most of my earnings are going there.
Rajeev Masand: Do you ever think that at your age, had you not been an actress, you would probably be married? Do you think about that or was it always leading up to be an actor?
Kareena Kapoor: I’m a filmy bachcha (child) as you call it. I have grown up on films from watching Karishma right from standing behind the reflectors and hoping one day I will be in front of the camera. So it was just films for me and I think it will be films fro the next 10 to 25 years irrespective of whether I get married or settled down. I will never give up films.
Rajeev Masand: This is pretty much where you’re going to be.
Kareena Kapoor: Absolutely. Zohra Sehgal.
Rajeev Masand: You are at that stage in your career where you don’t need to do every film that is being offered to you. Until recently you had decided to take it really easy. You were only shooting one film. Suddenly you have signed six?
Kareena Kapoor: No.
Rajeev Masand: Five new films?
Kareena Kapoor: No. I am just shooting for Imtiaz Ali’s film, which is a mind-blowing script, and he is a fantastic director. It’s with Shahid. And I am also shooting for Yashraj films Tashan which has Saif (Ali Khan) and Akshay (Kumar).
Rajeev Masand: There have been a few more announcements.
Kareena Kapoor: I have signed a film with Mohit Suri. It’s for Tips. The hero is still under consideration. But since I liked the script, I said yes to it. So these are the three films that I will shoot this year.
Rajeev Masand: So you are widely unpredictable. You can be taking it really easy at one time and then suddenly sign.
Kareena Kapoor: But I think that’s the fun of it and also our profession. If you don’t take risks, are not unpredictable, you end up being boring and insipid and people typecast you. Also that I was waiting for the right script and I don’t think its quantity over quality. I am beyond doing 10 films and having a release every Friday.
Rajeev Masand: You’ve passed that stage and there was that stage?
Kareena Kapoor: Yes there was. But now my family also keeps telling me listen you can’t be saying yes to everybody and doing every film. Just take it easy especially after Omkara being such a path breaking film.
Rajeev Masand: Did you expect this to stand out? In a film that was about the boys really, did you expect to get the kind of appreciation and make the impression that you did?
Kareena Kapoor: Honestly I had the faith in Vishal. But he kept telling me that – ‘Kareena, people will love you in this film.’ And I was like I don’t know what’s going to happen. And even at the Screen Awards, I just went to perform on Yeh Mera Dil and I went to sit because Karishma was sitting. And I cried after the award because I was genuinely didn’t expect it.
Rajeev Masand: The first of many actually for Omkara.
Kareena Kapoor: I really didn’t expect it.
Rajeev Masand: Have you seen a film in recent times that made you go – I wish I was in this.
Kareena Kapoor: Rang De Basanti. I stood up after I saw the film. I saw it in a theatre in the suburbs and after the film was over, me and Shahid actually stood up and clapped.
Rajeev Masand: So you would have been happy to play even a small role in that film?
Kareena Kapoor: I think it was one of those kind of films that actually made you wake up and say what are doing with your life? Just to be a part of it would be like being a part of such a good thing.
Rajeev Masand: That’s interesting because when actors start out, and I’m sure you’ve gone through this, most of them because they are young and perhaps immature want to be in films that are just starring vehicles for them. You feel you have gone past that stage and you want to part of interesting films even if you’re one character on a larger canvas?
Kareena Kapoor: And I think we are becoming like Hollywood. Actors always go by their part. What they are doing and how they are going to stand out. In an ensemble cast like Omkara, everybody was star in it and everybody knew what they were doing. Today when talk about Omkara, you of course talk about Langda Tyagi, but you remember all the characters. Deepak Dobriyal for that matter. I think he was fantastic.
Rajeev Masand: Is there any senior actress, any legend whose career you would like to model your own career after?
Kareena Kapoor: I think it’s more like just want to be remembered as like my ownself – unpredictable, wild, fun loving, like a good actress. The thought of Kareena Kapoor should bring a smile on people’s faces. That’s how I want to be remembered. I don’t want to model my career according to anyone.
Rajeev Masand:Whom you grow up watching apart from your sister of course?
Kareena Kapoor: I think Sri Devi, Madhuri Karishma and Kajol.
Rajeev Masand:These were the actress.
Kareena Kapoor: I don’t think there is any other actress after that whom I can even kind of put in that they could do everything.
Rajeev Masand:So do you feel like you belong to that gallery of greats.
Kareena Kapoor: No. I have a long way to go.
Rajeev Masand:You been humble here.
Kareena Kapoor: No I genuinely feel that. I know there is a little bit of a mark but I want to keep going I don’t want kind of just lie back and say that ok ho gaya
Rajeev Masand:You really surprise people didn’t you? I think when you did Poo in Kabhu Khushi Kabhi Gam everyone said this is Kareena Kapoor. This is her and how she is going to be better than this.
Kareena Kapoor: People started believing actually that I was Poo.
Rajeev Masand:Were you not?
Kareena Kapoor: But I think I don’t know I think Poo just took everybody by storm that everybody started identifying me this girl who is like in designer brands and she is like this and like that. But I think that stage was also fun. But it is one of my toughest roles that I have done. That’s for sure.
Rajeev Masand:What’s been one of the easiest roles to play perhaps.
Kareena Kapoor: I think Yuva.
Rajeev Masand:A young girl of today.
Kareena Kapoor: Yes just contemporary college going girl from Kanpur. It’s just the way she is. Of course I think I had great chemistry with Vivek. So I think everything worked out. I think Meera just came alive. Honestly wherever I go everybody talks about Yuva more than Omkara also. It’s quite shocking.
Rajeev Masand:And surprisingly the film even didn’t do very well.
Kareena Kapoor: Exactly.
Rajeev Masand:So no one knows what happens over here.
Kareena Kapoor: I think its just about doing your work well and people remembering you for what it is. I think that’s what happens most of the time with my movies.
Rajeev Masand:Tell me do you sometimes read your old interviews. Go back and sort of look what you used to be and sort of wonder - where is the old Kareen Kapoor gone.
Kareena Kapoor: No, I am really telling you honestly people have misunderstood and lot of things have miswritten and misquoted.
Rajeev Masand:But I think people like that Kareen Kapoor – the cat fights, the tantrums and the juicy quotes.
Kareena Kapoor: No there was nothing of that sort but now suddenly people just say that now she has become boring. Everybody turns me boring even my sister tells me that now you are boring.
Rajeev Masand:Yes you have become to sober, does not fight or does not give any great juicy quotes.
Kareena Kapoor: But what do I do. Honestly sometimes I was misquoted and ofcourse sometimes I was very childish very defensive ofcourse but I think I am happy to even admit it. Because I think you get defensive and basically I am very child like I get very sensitive and very emotional. If someone says something about me even till today I get hurt but now if I talk to Karishma or talk to Shahid or a friend I always share and they always explain to me that listen its ok just let it go. Now I have learnt to let things go.
Rajeev Masand:Shahid has been the calming factor, has he?
Kareena Kapoor: Not exactly calming but I think that when you are happy I think everything just falls into place. He does influence me a lot.
Rajeev Masand:You have done three films with Shahid and now you have just completed the fourth one. What is the best thing about working with your boyfriend with your partner?
Kareena Kapoor: I don’t think there is anything nice about it because especially with Shahid because Shahid is very into his work. He is very like wanting to kind of do something, improve do one more and I am more like ok one take kar diya to kar diya kind of thing. So we both are polls apart as people and professionally.
Rajeev Masand:You think that’s what makes it work?
Kareena Kapoor: I think yes that’s definitely does but professionally he is way to serious. He is not into the fun and games.
Rajeev Masand:So it’s not like working together means holidays together.
Kareena Kapoor: No way. Infact sometimes I call him pakao.
Rajeev Masand:You come from the Kapoor family. Tell me what have you inherited from the Kapoor family from the Kapoors.
Kareena Kapoor: Love for food, love for films, completely passionate about their friends and family, very possessive and very defensive. I think Kapoors are like that. They are basically passionate people. We are pathanis so we are like go full throttle for everything be it a shot be it for anything for that matter even eating food.
Rajeev Masand:Does not show on you.
Kareena Kapoor: Now it does not considering I work very hard now a days but earlier I used to enjoy my food. But now it’s taken a back sit.
Rajeev Masand:Best of luck. We are ofcourse looking forward to seeing lots more exciting new roles and hopefully you will continue sort of surprise us with your unpredictability. Best of luck thank you so much.