Nobody expected Yash Raj Films, India’s premier production house, to pull off this (impossible) casting coup of Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif in Kabir Khan’s Ek Tha Tiger. The rumored ex-couple last worked together in Subhash Ghai’s dud Yuvraaj (2008).
Katrina, a British citizen working in Indian films since 2003, struck gold after working with Kabir Khan in New York (2009) and quickly became Yash Raj Films’ favorite is currently the leading actress for all their big upcoming projects such as Yash Chopra’s yet-untitled-next and Dhoom:3.
After attending the London premiere of her last release Mere Brother Ki Dulhan, the actress started principle shooting for Ek Tha Tiger in Dublin, Ireland with co-star Salman Khan last year.
The 28-year-old actress shot for the film extensively at Trinity University and other parts of the Irish capital. Other locations where the film has been shot include India, Turkey, Cuba and Bangkok.
The Zindagi Na Milegi Doobara actress also shot for Yash Chopra’s film with Shah Rukh Khan in London after finishing her schedule with Salman Khan in Cuba. Katrina flew into London directly from Cuba and was filming both movies back-to-back.
Ek Tha Tiger is also Kaif’s first action film and she has also performed some action sequences herself.
Salman Khan plays the character of Tiger. Tell us something about him.
Tiger is a man who thinks he knows himself really well, but in actual fact he doesn’t quite know himself. He is seen to be a man of his word and a soldier who will fight for his country but the capacity to fall in love, even surprises himself.
How was it working with Salman Khan in a Yash Raj Film since you have worked with the production house in the past ?
I think Aditya Chopra and Salman have different views on cinema and on filmmaking. I think that’s the interesting thing about them coming together and in Ek Tha Tiger you have the sensibilities of Kabir Khan who likes to retain the integrity in his story and locations. Salman’s emotions are always correct in his film. If your film is correct emotionally, it can never go wrong. Aditya Chopra is a mix of both of them, a little bit of Kabir Khan and a little bit of Salman. It’s gonna be very exciting to see all three of their minds come together in this film and Salman really enjoyed the process.
How would you compare your dancing skills to Salman Khan’s dancing?
You can’t compare yourself to others. Salman is who he is for a reason and his audience loves him for that. I always feel the need to rehearse my steps. If you show Salman a step, he will do it right away, but if you show me a step and if I have to do it right away, that’s where I lack the confidence. I will always felt the need to go and rehearse in order for me to feel more confident to match up to Salman’s dancing style. Salman will carry it off in his own way whereas I have to be more technically correct.
How was your experience filming in places like Ireland, Cuba and Turkey?
The first location we started in, was Ireland, Dublin. Salman has a very unique quality in him. Every country he visits, he will always find an India within it. For instance, Dublin for Salman became Bandra, Turkey became Rajasthan and Cuba for him became Marine Drive. So when everybody said, “wow this is Cuba”, Salman would turn around and say “no, this is Marine Drive”. So which ever, country we filmed in, Salman always managed to find a part of India within it.
Salman Khan plays the character of a RAW Agent, a one-man army demolishing whatever comes in his way, which requires extremely good action.
The action in the film was probably one of the most important parts of the film because it was extremely difficult to film and Kabir wanted a very real style of action. Which meant he didn’t want to use the very typical harness kind of shots, where you find the hero flying across the room. He wanted it to have that impact. It’s something you’ve never seen Salman do before. I didn’t have so much action sequences in the film. I only have two action sequences, which were fun. I was on set everyday, trying to do as many shots as possible. Some action shots I was not allowed to do because they were deemed too dangerous.
Which song is your favourite song, Banjaara or Mashallah ?
This is a foot-tapping song as Salman calls it. This is more his song. As much as I love the song, I prefer Mashaallah more, because I participate in the song more. Banjaara is more about the character.
In the song Laapata, neither you or Salman had to lip sync the lyrics. That is quite unusual for a masala film.
Yes, that is correct. That is the actual highlight of this song that neither of us had to lip sync for it. It’s the romantic song in the film with a very Latin American feel. It shows two people madly in love and it’s the joy you feel when you are in love. Romantic songs are one of the favorite things that Salman loves to do. He enjoys those spontaneous fun moments they create and the idea of romance. Salman gave a lot of ideas and we improvised in some parts for instance, like holding hands and drinking coffee together and painting, you see a lot of real moments.
We heard that for Mashallah you learnt a new form of belly dancing. Was that tough to learn ?
In Mashallah, Vaibhavi wanted to keep a lot of elements you will see in the film a little bit Arabic, a little bit Moroccan in the styling. If you see Salman, he supports the ‘keffiyeh’ look, which is actually one of his nicest looks in the film. I remember when I first saw the rehearsal for the choreography for the song, I thought it was great and as always, I rehearsed for days and learnt all the steps with the male dancer who was playing Salman’s part, but the night before the song, I came down with a bad viral infection so I couldn’t shoot for 2 days. By the time I got back on set, I had already missed two days of rehearsals and was feeling very nervous. Once we had started, I realized that a lot of steps I had rehearsed with Salman were slightly changed as Salman likes to improvise a lot, but it all worked out in the end.
What should the UK audience expect from the film?
Everyone who goes to watch this film and everyone who is a Salman Khan fan will really feel that they have seen something completely different to all his other movies. It’s a film that will intrigue you. The story has suspense, and drama. The way it unfolds in the end will keep you on the edge of your seat. People will see an extremely new Salman and will be happy with what they see of me as well.
Ek Tha Tiger releases in cinemas nationwide on 15th August 2012. A teaser trailer of Yash Chopra’s Diwali release starring Shah Rukh Khan and Katrina Kaif will be shown before the film as well.
Watch the Tiger song here: