Though she doesn’t mind experimenting different genres, Kareena Kapoor Khan insists, her heart lies in doing masala family entertainers that cater to the mass audience. In Bebo’s words, ‘I’m hardcore commercial.’ And so she’s anxiously looking forward to her Friday release, Singham Returns (SR), where the audience, especially her fans will get to see Bebo back in a bubbly, loud avatar. Saif Ali Khan’s begum is glad to have worked again with Ajay Devgn and Rohit Shetty whom she considers friends for life. BC spoke to Bollywood’s Heroine number one and she tells us good and bad qualities of her costar Ajay, why romancing Varun Dhawan on screen isn’t a good idea, doing Bajrangi Bhaijaan with Salman, defending her dearest husband Saif Ali Khan over Humshakals fiasco and more. Excerpts:
So Bebo, how was your experience driving an auto rickshaw in SR?
Oh, that was a unique experience! I enjoyed it thoroughly. I think I’m a professional at it now. Rohit is known for action and comedy films. I did Golmaal Returns and Golmaal 3 with him but this time Ajay is doing action and I’m doing comedy. I think people have accepted me more in comedy roles. After a spate of serious films, Singham Returns was a refreshing change.
As you said, your fans like you playing loud, comedy roles, so how different will your character in SR be as compared to Jab We Met?
In a Rohit Shetty film, you will never find anything usual. Similarly, the romance that you will see in the film is not going to be the usual romance. Bajirao Singham (played by Ajay) is a straight faced cop and he keeps saying Aata maajhi satakli in his mind whenever someone pisses him off whereas I’m playing a loud character.
One good and one bad quality about Ajay…
Everyone knows that he smokes too much. I couldn’t even stand next to him on sets because he kept puffing. After working on this film, we have decided that we will never eat lunch together. The great quality about him is that he’s a responsible actor, consistent performer and a very good human being. I can proudly say that I’ve made a dear friend. He creates a good vibe and his attitude in life is ‘sab achcha hai’ and often tells me, ‘Tu tension kyu leti hai?’
You mostly work with successful commercial superstars. Why don’t you work with young generation actors like Varun Dhawan or Siddharth Malhotra?
I don’t want to do something different just for the sake of it. If I do something different the script has to be great otherwise there’s no point doing it. I don’t think I can romance Varun Dhawan. That will be pushy! I’m well-versed with reality. I love Varun but I definitely don’t want to romance him on screen. I’d rather have dinner with him. I’m happy with Salman, Ajay, Aamir and Shah Rukh.
After all these years, what factors prompt you to take up a project?
I started reading scripts thoroughly recently. Earlier, I used to do lot of films just for the sake of it or for friendship or sometimes just going by my instinct. But now I read every page thoroughly because people close to me keep telling me that it’s my responsibility. I don’t do a woman-oriented film thinking that I’ll be seen in every frame. I did that in Heroine. The film wasn’t appreciated but my performance was appreciated. I’ve been a commercial actress and been part of biggest films in the industry. I will continue to do that. I agreed to do Bajrangi Bhaijaan with Salman Khan because it’s going to be directed by Kabir Khan. Kabir and I have never done a film together. He’s an intelligent filmmaker who will make a good film. It will be something different and new for me. This is the first time he will be working with Salman and me. So that excited me. It’s going to be a very different film for Salman because it’s more of a human story rather than the action packed film which he is known for.
The last comedy film you enjoyed watching…
I wish I could say Humshakals but I haven’t seen the film. I’m sure someone must have seen the film and enjoyed it. I love watching classics like Angoor and the original Golmaal. Saif likes watching Hollywood films and I like watching old Hindi films like Kaagaz Ke Phool, Aradhana and Abhimaan.
Of late, B-town actresses have started doing action films like Mardaani and Mary Kom. Will you ever do an action film?
I can’t do an action film because it’s something I don’t like. But I really applaud Rani (Mukherji) and Priyanka (Chopra) that they are attempting different genre, something which our audience won’t easily accept. I will definitely tell them ‘Hats off’ when I meet them because I can’t do what they can. I think I will look very funny doing action on screen.
Saif Ali Khan recently confessed that Humshakals was a mistake…
I think what he meant was that his fans didn’t appreciate his performance in the movie. But I think by saying that it’s a mistake he meant that he did something different and it didn’t work for him. He’s not going to try that again. I think too much has been read into it that he said it’s a mistake but if you read the interview carefully he has very clearly said that he’s responsible himself for doing the film. But that’s not read obviously because that’s not the headline! He took the blame on himself saying that he wanted to do something different. It didn’t work so it’s a mistake on his part.
Is Soha Ali Khan and Kunal Khemu’s marriage scheduled for this year?
I don’t know but I think they are happy as a couple. Kunal is a great guy. Soha is very happy in his company. That’s the most important thing. When you are in the company of someone you love, you keep that person smiling. And Kunal does that to Soha.
Your cousin brother and actor Armaan Jain’s debut film, Lekar Hum Deewana Dil didn’t do well at the box office. Did you give him any advice?
I’m sure he would have felt bad considering it was his debut film. I told him Ranbir and my debut film also didn’t work. He needs to be strong enough to accept that.
Sometime back, there were reports that Karan Johar’s Shuddhi has been shelved but now it seems to be back on track with Salman Khan giving his nod to the project. Why did you back out?
I’m doing Bajrangi Bhaijaan with Salman. For me, Shuddhi was synonymous with Hrithik Roshan. The reason I said yes to the film was Hrithik. When he didn’t do the film, I decided to opt out.
Karishma Kapoor is going through a rough phase. There were reports that she’ll make a comeback to films soon. Would you love to do a film with her?
I don’t want to talk about Lolo’s personal life. As far as doing a film with her is concerned, I don’t think there’s a script for us. But if it ever happens, I would like to do a film like the Hollywood movie, Thelma and Louise, because it will be like a nice travel and on-the-run kind of a film.