Kareena Kapoor Khan’s office has a daunting feel to it — levying leather couches, Hollywood film posters, pictures and wooden desk. It is nearly impossible to picture her sitting behind that desk shooting directions away to her staff. She plays a promotion head in her next, therefore it wouldn’t look out of place there. What does, is various dresses hanging from a stand in a corner. She breezes in and we begin chatting about her movies, her life post union, and that I ask her if she is a kitchen goddess…
How do you usually choose your films?
I am an instinctive actress. When I know that a film has something special for me, I just go and do it. When Balki sir came home to narrate the script of Ki & Ka to me. I told him by the intermission itself that I didn’t want to hear the second half because I was going to do the film. Also I wanted to work with him. Honestly a film is a director’s vision, his personality is ultimately what comes on screen. I have always said that I am a director’s actor.
Kia is like you in some ways — a modern, independent, outgoing, career woman — but is different from you in real life.
There are certain things that I can identify with Kia — she’s this ambitious, working woman which I am too. I have always believed that women should keep working after marriage. Today, women are leading the pack.
But you’ve become less ambitious, post-marriage…
Maybe I have become less ambitious and more relaxed after marriage, but the greed or hunger for a good role is there. It’s just that in the last couple of years, I took a little bit of a break. I wanted to settle into my marriage, settle my home and then get into my groove. Also, after 15 years of working in this industry, a little bit of downtime is required for myself, family, husband and home. I wanted to see what I wanted to do and didn’t want to sign anything till I found something exciting. Today, I am not going to say yes to a film that doesn’t excite me. Like I don’t know what I am doing next and it’s the most amazing feeling right now.
I haven’t signed a new film and I love the whole idea that I don’t know what I am going to do next. It’s like I am standing atop a mountain and it’s a free fall…. I love it — there is no pressure to sign anything. That’s me. I have always done this in my career… taken risks. Right now I’d love to play Gerda Wegener from A Danish Girl or Joy Mangano from Joy.
What about doing edgy, dark films like Masaan?
If something is offered to me in that zone and if I love it, why won’t I do it? That being said, I am not doing anything after Ki & Ka. I am not going to do anything till I find the script is worth it or exciting. I will do something like a Golmaal 4 only f I have a great role in it. That’s part of me. I have always balanced different kinds of films – commercial and art house and I will continue to do that till I am 80. Right now, I am very happy. I am going to chill, relax and think about what I am going to do next. My husband is extremely supportive of me working after marriage. It’s a very archaic thought that women don’t work after marriage and both Saif and I don’t come from this thinking at all. Saif loves the fact that I am a working woman.
But you have never been ruthlessly ambitious…
I have never been a ruthlessly ambitious person in my career. I have had my fair share of struggle but to use ‘ruthless’ and me in the same breath is like comparing chalk and cheese. Anybody who knows me will say that I am far from ruthless. I have always given my emotions and heart more. People think I have had it easy being a Kapoor, but there was a phase in my career, when I had 10-12 flops, when most of the industry had written me off.
One would assume that as a star child you had it easy?
Struggle doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to come from a small town. That’s another kind of struggle, but also where you have expectations and maintaining something is also a kind of struggle. I don’t think star children have it easy. There are a lot of star children who are still struggling and are not as big as their parents. Look at Karisma, she had the Kapoor name behind her, but nobody has struggled the way she did, to achieve her kind of success. According to me, it’s a whole myth that star children have instant success! It’s about your talent, what you can offer, your personality that you can bring to the table, lot of things that come into play.
Behind every successful man there’s a woman. But behind every successful woman there’s a woman, too.
I think so. It’s at least that in my case. Like my mother, my sister have always supported me in everything and made me who I am. Till today, mom guides me. My mother keeps us grounded. I am a family person and the minute I enter my mother or husband’s home, I am not a star. I am just a normal girl, a daughter to my mother whom I respect and I’m very devoted to her and when I walk into my husband’s home, I am a wife. I do not encourage film talk or someone paying me a compliment as a star because at that moment, I am Saif’s wife. But yes, the minute I walk into a studio, I am a star. I am not a diva, sometimes I get photographed in my track pants and chappals (laughs). But I don’t care. People should understand that I’m going home, so I can’t be all dolled up. People love to have these perceptions about me — that I live in my ivory tower, I am a diva etc because nobody knows me. I am as normal as anybody. The problem is that I have never gone out to clarify things. I only talk when I am promoting my films otherwise my PR machinery is in neutral gear. It’s not in overdrive and I like it that way.
You can’t cook in Ki & Ka. But can you do it in real life?
I can cook a decent pasta…
Saif says he’s a better cook…
Just because I haven’t fed him in a while he’s saying that, so that’s a clear hint I should! Let’s not get into that. He hasn’t whipped up anything for me for, some time. Honestly he thinks he can cook, but I don’t think he can boil an egg. Now that I have some time on my hands yes I would love to learn cooking. I am sure Arjun (Kapoor) can teach me how to cook, he’s a pro now because he had to learn for the film. I really respect chefs and have always loved chefs. They are the coolest and most creative people. I’m lucky that in this film, I have a husband who is one.
After Arjun, now who do you think you would look good with in Gen Next?
I can work with anybody — Ranveer, Sidharth and Varun. I would like to do a nice brother-sister story with Ranbir (Kapoor) at some point in life. There’s something magical about our pairing. I have never worked with my sister so hopefully I will work with my brother soon.