Katrina Kaif is one of the most sought after actresses in Bollywood. When she first debuted, the former model could not speak any Hindi, but since then has gone on to star in over twenty films and has won numerous awards for her performances. In fact, she is often described as one of the most hardworking actors in Bollywood. The 26-year-old star was last seen in Tees Maar Khan, which was highlighted by her infamous item number ‘Sheila Ki Jawani’. She is also the first Bollywood actress to have a Barbie doll created to her likeness. The actress is often called ‘lucky’, as most of her films do very well at the Box Office. As Etihad Airways brand ambassador, Kaif has just launched “Next Stop Bollywood”, an online dance competition in London. I caught up with the star to speak about her endorsements and upcoming films:
What did you think about Etihad Airways choosing a Bollywood actress as their global brand ambassador?
I thought that it was a very unusual approach of them. It’s not often for an airline to choose an ambassador. I mean, it is quite common for Indian actors to endorse certain products. I think it’s a little more common than in here in the west. But still, an airline choosing an ambassador was something almost a first of its kind.
Why did you accept the offer?
I am very familiar with Etihad Airways because as actors we travel so often to the UAE. I spend a lot of time there, especially for films. So I was very familiar with the airline. We bonded over a lot of concerns of mine. I personally thought they were doing something interesting, just what they wanted to do with the general awareness because of me being the ambassador. I thought their ideas were great and we talked about what we wanted to do. It’s been a great association so far. I think it has worked really great for both of us we are both very happy.
What do you like about travelling with Etihad Airways?
The whole approach to the lounge as it has a more relaxed attitude to travel. They treat it a bit not so intimidating and being a woman and travelling alone, I think these things are important. We also talked a lot about that. I am an actress so I travel all the time. What they are trying to do and the whole approach they have got towards travel, especially being a single woman is something I really appreciated.
You endorse various products in India, but is being a global ambassador different and comes with more responsibilities?
I do feel a bit more responsibility. Etihad is very close to me. I take this quite seriously, not that I don’t do with my other brands. But like you said, we do have a bit more of global interaction in terms of media, press or attending the match on Sunday. There is a bit more associated with it. You do have slightly bigger responsibilities.
You are here to launch an online dance competition, “Next Stop Bollywood”. How did that come about? Was that something you wanted to do?
It was their idea to be honest. They are creating more of a welcoming, fun, easy and laid back to approach to travel, not so much of a daunting task of world travel. I think that is just going hand in hand with this dance competition, as well as obviously our ad revolves around a dance, which is on TV. And then of course, you know they are keeping in mind, especially in the last year most of my work in India has been a lot to do with songs and a lot to do with the music from my films which has been really popular. You know, it’s a clever integration because a brand has an association with an actor and you also have to incorporate what the actor is doing currently. You can’t just ignore that. You have to post an entry on the song which is in the ad and you might get to meet me.
As you will be selecting the winner, give our readers some tips for videos they can post on “Next Stop Bollywood”.
Obviously, the dance competition is about the dance. I will be looking at that first and foremost. But also, you know the main thing I also believe about dance is that you can have some brilliant dances, but somehow they are not so enjoyable to watch. They don’t grab your attention on screen. They just don’t have that screen presence. So it’s not just about whether you are a technically trained dancer or technically perfect dancer. I just think it’s more about having fun. Performing the dance and enjoying what the music is trying to say rather than just executing certain choreographed dance steps.
What’s next for you with Eithad?
Right now it’s the competition, so next it will be announcing the winners, the meet and greet with the winner and media interactions. That will be the immediate plan next. I think it’s very exciting. As they come up with new ideas. With Eithad, we have always managed to something a bit more fun and vibrant. Even in the advertising pictures and the video. It’s not something you instantly think of.
Katrina Kaif’s traveling tips:
Always dress for comfort. It really annoys me when I see people dressing really uncomfortably going on a plane (laughing). I’m just thinking why would you do that? That’s important.
Everyone knows the basics e.g. Drink lots of water. I also think planning your flight schedules is very important, of course cost is important. You do have to be cost effective but also go for sensible well planned routes, rather than out of the way, back and beyond and nowhere to get back.
Now let’s talk about your films. Mere Brother Ki Dulhan? Imran thought that the title gives away too much.
Well, it’s supposed to! We are not THAT incredibly foolish that, hmm we wonder what people are going to think when they read this title. And Imran and I disagree all the time. You see, that’s not the point of the story. The point of the story is not that it’s about a boy, who falls in love with his brothers to be fiancé.
How was it working with Imran Khan? You just said that you disagree all the time.
We disagree, but in fun ways. We actually have a very odd equation in the sense that we are unlikely people to get along, but somehow we found a space that is actually really nice. He is a wonderful person.
Reportedly you are going to sing for the Soundtrack of Mere Brother Ki Dulhan?
No, that is not me! We already have one singing, dancing and guitar playing actor in the film. That is enough (laughs).
Ali Zafar is relatively new in the Hindi Film Industry. How was your experience working with him in his second feature film?
The most important thing about him is that he is talented. It doesn’t really matter what else he has done, what he is doing or what he is aiming to do. That is all his career planning. But he is really talented and as an artist, you really respect that. Even during our lunch breaks, he would just start composing a song and play his guitar. It is nice to be around people who are creative.
There are many rumours that you are doing more films with the production house. Have you signed a film opposite Shah Rukh Khan, which will be directed by Yash Chopra?
I think I will just have to say, if you maybe just give it a week or ten days. That is the time it probably comes out and let’s just wait for that (smiling).
What about the speculation that you might star in Dhoom 3 opposite Aamir Khan?
I am doing one already which is Mere Brother Ki Dulhan. Now, two Yash Raj Films you have already speculated on (laughs). Maybe, I am doing two out of three but not all three of them (laughs).
I believe that you are doing the sequel to Dostana, directed by Tarun Mansukhani. When will you start shooting your first Dharma Production?
Yes, we all agreed in principle and the whole cast was announced. It is still in that status, where we don’t really know what is happening and all of us are going ahead with other projects.
Do you think it was poorly planned as you did give your dates to the director for the film?
No, I don’t think so. There is not a textbook way of getting a film on the floor. I have seen some great work happen in the films and the director’s mind and I have seen scripts down to the last word, and it turned out disastrously. So I don’t think that there is anyone right or wrong about what happened. Some things take their own time. If Tarun Mansukhani gets it together and feels its right, then it’s fantastic.
You are a successful actor yet, you don’t have your own website. Are you planning to launch an official website anytime soon?
I have no idea. I don’t know if people still do that anymore? There are like Twitter and stuff like that right?
But you said earlier, that you don’t want to be on a social network for now?
Honestly, I thought about it. If someone walks into my life and says that I will design a website for you, everything is done and just say yes. I will probably say go ahead and do it, but only if they are going to do a good job. I don’t really have the mind to that myself.
This interview first published in Ishq Magazine and BollySpice: