For me, there is nothing better than the decision to marry Saif, but babies? Not now

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Kolkata: Star actor Kareena Kapoor on Singham Returns, not kissing on screen and saying NOOO to babies right now!

 

There is something about Kareena Kapoor Khan. It’s been a while since her last big hit but the 33-year-old stunner doesn’t seem to be bothered by that. Nor is she losing sleep over Singham Returns being her only release in 2014. “I am not in competition with anyone. I am here to do the kind of work I want to do and at the pace I want to work at. I have worked for 15 years like a dog… I don’t want to anymore,” she says with a shrug.

After Singham Returns hits theatres on August 15, the actress is going to take a two-month break before returning to film her next — Kabir Khan’s Bajrangi Bhaijaan with Salman Khan. “I hope Kick does (Rs) 300 crore… my film with him is coming next Id and I hope it’ll do (Rs) 600 crore!” she laughs.

The actress was clearly high on energy and confidence when t2 dropped in to meet her at her husband Saif Ali Khan’s production house office in Bandra recently. Dressed in all black and not a speck of make-up on her alabaster skin, Kareena sat crossed-legged on a plush sofa to chat about her movie choices, Saif and babies.

You’ve said that for you to commit a chunk of your time to a film, it needs to be worth it. What was it about Singham Returns that made it worth your while?

The fact that it is a Rohit Shetty film and that he had given me two of the biggest hits of my career (Golmaal Returns and Golmaal 3). He is a brand…. In an action film, it’s nice to have a good actor. Even an Iron Man franchise needs a Gwyneth Paltrow. It’s nice to be a part of a magnum opus which I think people do expect….

You’ve done many commercial films through your career. Do they still challenge you as an actress?

(Pauses) I worked really hard for Heroine. Also, people do expect my films to do (Rs) 100 crore. If that’s what they expect from every film I do, then fine… I’ll do Singham Returns.But then another set of people will ask ‘Why is she doing films like Singham?’ Everything seems to be under scrutiny when it comes to my films.

So people expect big blockbusters from you. But do these films satisfy the artiste in you as much as a Chameli or a Jab We Met?

Honestly, when I was doing Chameli or Jab We Met, I was just performing… I didn’t think of being creatively satisfied. It’s just my job. You work just as hard on a Singham Returnsor Bodyguard. It’s really tough to look really good rather than perform.

Come on!

No really… trust me! The hardest thing for an actress to do is to look good in a bikini or walk out of the water looking glam. Comparatively, it’s really easy to do Chameli and Jab We Met. At least, that’s the way I look at it. It’s tough to be a part of a commercial film… and I am very proud to be a popular commercial actress. It’s Bodyguard, the Golmaalseries and Ra.One that have got me my fans.

What makes you say that doing a Golmaal film is tougher than doing a film likeChameli or Omkara?

You have to work harder to look good in a bikini. Once you believe in a character, it comes easily to you. I am sure people are wondering what I am doing in a Singham Returns but Rohit Shetty had given me a tough role. Comedy is tough. Being without make-up, crying and raving and ranting is easy, but making people laugh is tough. We always get lauded when we are without make-up and crying with glycerine (laughs).

Everyone knows about your equation with Ajay Devgn, but I believe Rohit and you also share a very strong bond?

Ya, ya. You know, over the years, actors and directors form a strong relationship. My sister (Karisma Kapoor) worked with Davidji (Dhawan). Rohit and I have always worked together because he likes to write roles for me, including in Singham Returns. I trust him to do something special with me in every film.

Did you ever feel tempted to try out some action yourself?

I don’t think I have the physicality or the inclination to do Lara Croft type action. I don’t know why… I don’t even like watching those kind of films. Saif does. I like films likeRevolutionary Road (Leonardo DiCaprio-Kate Winslet)… those are more up my street. I won’t enjoy doing action… it’ll probably show on my face.

Singham Returns is your only release this year. Your priorities really have changed since you got married!

Ya, but no one seems to remember that my last release Gori Tere Pyaar Mein (opposite Imran Khan) was in November. It’s not even nine months ago. I don’t get the fuss! I know everyone loves to dissect Kareena Kapoor’s career… it’s as important as the country’s budget…. I feel important but… (laughs)… when other actresses’s movies fail, no one discusses them. When Kareena’s film doesn’t do well, it affects the budget or the country! Saif and I wonder why people are interested in my career so much… I wanted to get married and I did. Of course my priorities have changed.

Is it a crime to not want to go on an outdoor for three months? (Reference to the context: Zoya Akhtar’s Dil Dhadakne Dowhich she opted out of. The role now belongs to Priyanka Chopra.) I decided to get married when I was at the peak of my career. Everyone should make the decision that feels right to them. For me, there is nothing better than the decision to marry Saif. I don’t know why it becomes a big deal if I refuse to do a few films.

Do you regret refusing films like Ram-Leela and Queen?

Not at all. The film worked for someone else… it didn’t work for me. The only regret I have is that I didn’t get to work with Zoya, but again it’s not her last film. We have a wonderful relationship and I am happy that she understood my reason for not doing the film.

From this conversation, it’s clear that commercial success matters a lot to you today…

… Absolutely!

But at the beginning of your career, when you debuted with Refugee or did a Dev or a Chameli, you were looking for critical acclaim…

I wanted to be known as a star-actor. I was very clear about that from the beginning. That’s what I have tried to do and balance being both a star and an actor.

Has the fate of Heroine made you wary of picking films that rest on your shoulders or that aren’t out-and-out masala films?

Not really. I gave my heart and soul to the film. You do feel disappointed and let down (pauses)… but it’s okay. I loved working with Madhur (Bhandarkar). I don’t think it will deter me from doing any particular kind of films… I think people thought it was too dark and depressing.

Do Saif and you discuss your careers?

Hmmm…we try not to. It’s definitely not our only topic of conversation. If I am upset or confused about a film, he is always there to give me advice. And Saif gives some good advice. He has always told me ‘Never be affected by other people’s choices’. He always says that I should make it clear to the industry and my fans that my priorities have changed.

You want to work but are not competing with anyone…which is why my choices are different from what they would have been a few years ago. But yes, if I get a great role, I am going to do it. I have been reading scripts. Every time, midway through I think I am going to do the film, but by the time I finish I have changed my mind. I don’t know if this is a phase… I am not liking anything I am reading. Maybe I’ll get over it.

The only script I have liked in recent times was Kabir’s (Khan). I got to know him on the sets (of Saif’s film) Phantom and we started talking about what would be his next film — a Muslim guy and a Hindu Brahmin girl. A little while later, he narrated the detailed script to me and by the interval, I had decided that I will do the film. Kabir’s film fit into my schedule. I am not going to work in September and most of October I am not working because I am travelling. And Kabir only wants to start at the end of October.

There was a story some time ago that you’ve ‘banned’ Saif from kissing on screen. Does the ban also apply to you?

I am not comfortable with him doing a liplock. And I don’t think he’d be comfortable with his wife kissing someone on screen. We have a very equal relationship so whatever goes for him, goes for me as well. Er… but I guess he can get ‘Bollywoody intimate’ (laughs)…but no kissing. What are you going to do? Some of these songs… but ya, the actual kissing I won’t be comfortable. Sometimes I can be quite a jealous wife.

There are clearly a lot of changes in you both professionally and personally since Saif and you got married two years ago. Has he changed much?

Oh ya! I think he’s become more grounded and responsible. He is calmer, is eating less meat and is trying to make healthier choices in life. He can stand on his head now! He parties only once a week now (laughs). How much more can a wife change her husband?

It’s been two years… have people started asking you about babies?

Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! Add five million gazillion ‘’s to that ‘No’. I am so not ready. We have so much to do…travel, read some amazing scripts…