Whatever your opinions of Katrina Kaif as an actress are, there is no denying that she has a knack of picking the right films. Last year, she starred in three big hits, Namaste London, Partner and Welcome. In the months ahead, she has films with directors Subhash Ghai and Rajkumar Santoshi and has also signed a movie with Yash Raj Films.
In this interview with CNN-IBN Entertainment Editor Rajeev Masand, Katrina Kaif talks about her own assessment of her talent, the challenges ahead and why she agreed to be in a three-heroine film when things are looking so good for her.
Rajeev Masand: A couple of years ago when you entered Bollywood, there was a fair bit of skepticism attached to your entry — will she last, she doesn't speak the language, she's not from here, can she dance. Now you have delivered three big hits last year, so do you feel vindicated?
Katrina Kaif: I don't know about vindicated, but I do feel happy. I have never paid much attention to the negative things that have been said. Anything that is said against you should be seen as a challenge. So I was not very aware of this criticism, or skepticism as you call it. I am just having a good time and thoroughly enjoying everything that I am doing.
Rajeev Masand: You were always confident that you were going to be able to do this and do this well?
Katrina Kaif: For me, there was no end target. I enjoy every day, I enjoy coming on the sets, I enjoy waking up and going for a movie and making movies. That for me, is my enjoyment and the fact that the movies work is all I really care about. I desperately want the movies to be successes and the audience to come and see them. If they don't, I take it very personally.
Rajeev Masand: You've been in the hits. Now are you getting ready for the next challenge? Are you ready to sink your teeth into roles that are exciting and require you to really perform?
Katrina Kaif: I've got some pretty good roles coming up this year. I would say that the new films that I have signed, they all have quite different roles. I would say that a role like the one I had in Namaste London was a fantastic one for me. It was a character so fantastically written. And the only thing you can hope for is that you get characters like that. It's really important that you get scripts like that. You can recall great commercial successes and they are films that have characters which allow you to do something different.
Rajeev Masand: Do you consider yourself a good actress?
Katrina Kaif: I feel that I have a very long way to go, but I know that I am a very competent person and given the right scope and the right characters, I know that other people will also be very satisfied with my performance.
Rajeev Masand: Which is the last film that you saw, which made you say, 'I wish I was in this'.
Katrina Kaif: I think Jab We Met. It was a very woman-centric film. It was a film with a great character written for the girl and that was something which is pretty hard to come by.
Rajeev Masand: Who are the actresses that you admire? Whose career would you like to have?
Katrina Kaif: Madhuri, Sridevi, Kajol — they've all had fantastic careers and they've all had super successes.
Rajeev Masand: In the months ahead, we are going to see you in a Subhash Ghai film, we are going to see you in a Rajkumar Santoshi film. You've also signed a Yash Raj film. Are you more secure working with seasoned banners and seasoned filmmakers?
Katrina Kaif: For a newcomer like me, I think it's very necessary for there to be some element of experience in the project. Whether it's the director, producer or the co-star there's got to be an element of experience, otherwise I think it becomes too much new territory. There remains no support system to the project and I also think that sometimes success can give people very misplaced confidence.
Rajeev Masand: So what would you attribute your recent successes to? Shrewd career choices?
Katrina Kaif: I think a big part of it is just destiny. I think that there would be a lot of people who would support my saying that there are no logical answers for a lot of things in the film industry. Why do some films work? Why do some films don't? They are some films that are laugh riots or simply commercial entertainers and you can safely say that they are going to be a hit. But there are no definites in the film industry.
Rajeev Masand: In Race, your next film, you are one of three leading ladies. Were you ever insecure?
Katrina Kaif: No, I was never insecure, but it was definite concern at some point that do I really want to do this? It was one of the earlier films that I signed and it was something that which now perhaps I wouldn't do, but the bottom line is that you have to look at the films in totality. I thought this film had the potential to be a success and I thought that it was a thorough entertainer and a thorough thriller with a very fantastic script. And there are fantastic actors in the film — Saif, Akshaye and Anil ji. I think that you have to sometimes look at the bigger picture and say that, 'is this a great picture that I want to be a part of' and 'does this have the potential to be a possible entertainer'.