Diverse portrayals

MIXED BAG

Diverse portrayals

On a roll: Kareena Kapoor in ‘Golmaal 3’.

Kareena Kapoor, who has been in the Hindi film industry for a decade, may hail from the First Family of Indian cinema – the Kapoors, but is at the moment the darling of the Khans. Having delivered her career’s biggest hit, 3 Idiots (which had most of its run and success this year after a late 2009 release) with Aamir Khan, Kareena is busy working in the home productions of Shah Rukh Khan (Ra.One), Saif Ali Khan (Agent Vinod) and Salman Khan’s Bodyguard. She also co-stars with Imran Khan in Short-Term Shaadi.

You could say that the lady has acquired another ‘Khan’daan. She quips when asked about when will she work with Akshay Kumar, “I don’t have time off from the Khans to work with anyone else!” But she admits to reports that she has expressed regrets over not being able to co-star with Ranbir Kapoor. Says the actress ruefully, “He is such a huge talent. But my mother simply put her foot down as he is my first cousin!”

Leading lady

Kareena Kapoor, in a Hindi cinema first, has become the first leading lady ever to be repeated in a sequel with Golmaal 3, now a certified hit, though the character of a soft-hearted tomboy called Dabboo (which is how her dad Randhir Kapoor is addressed by close friends and relatives) is a shift from the TV soap-addicted suspicious wife of Golmaal Returns.

Says Kareena, “What’s especially great for me is that my role is even more well-defined and distinctive than in the earlier film!” she smiles. “Usually commercial entertainers have heroines only as add-ons, purely for glamour. But here I am more of a hero. I am the only girl in this team of boys — Ajay Devgn, Tusshar Kapoor, Shreyas Talpade, Arshad Warsi and Kunal Khemu.”

Kareena has continued her miraculous streak of one major hit every year – Jab We Met (2007), Golmaal Returns (2008) and 3 Idiots (2009) — all of which have released towards the end of the respective years. “But why these films alone? I have always done a mixed bag of films and made sure that the Kareena of one film has nothing to do with the Kareena of another. Not only are my roles diverse, but also the films themselves,” she says emphatically.

This, says the hotshot Kapoor, is probably the only secret she can figure out about success for a decade and more (she is still going strong) since her debut film Refugee in 2000, which bombed at the box-office, yet made her a star. The mixed bag of films she refers to include Mujhe Kucch Kehna Hai, Asoka, Ajnabee, Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham… (wherein she stole the limelight from a heavyweight ensemble cast as the cult character Poo), Chameli, Aitraaz, Yuva, Don, Omkara, Kambakkht Ishq and many others.

The range of the directors she has worked with spans from Subhash Ghai, JP Dutta, Priyadarshan, Abbas-Mustan, Mani Ratnam, Imtiaz Ali, Rohit Shetty and Rajkumar Hirani to critically-acclaimed directors like  Vishal Bhardwaj, Govind Nihalani and Sudhir Mishra. Kareena adds, “I have never done only comedy, only serious roles, only singing and dancing and so on,” she says. “The only two things I would like to do now are real action and a proper period film wherein great costumes and make-up help you live a character.”
“I am always inspired when a filmmaker tells me that a role has been written with me in mind, or that they cannot imagine anyone other than me in the role,” adds the actress. Was Golmaal 3 one such case? “It was! Rohit however added that he still wanted me to listen to the script before I agreed to do the film.”

Versatile work

Kareena’s earlier release this year, We Are Family and Kurbaan last year, despite not doing well at the box-office, still raked in accolades for her serious and dramatic essays in both. The actress although stresses that comedy is still the most difficult emotion to portray through acting. “It’s all about timing and you have to be on your toes. To make a Golmaal, everyone has to be a great actor and so the performance is never mindless even if the comedy is! Crying in a film is far, far easier!” says Kareena.

She wanted to be a lawyer. “I wanted to fight cases, but the size of the textbooks at Mumbai’s Government Law College was a dampener – they were like tomes and that discouraged me!” However, it is not easy to forget the iron-willed loyal spouse who won the court case and got her husband acquitted of a false charge in Abbas-Mustan’s Aitraaz. Kareena at least became a lawyer on screen.

Has she modified her criteria for signing films? What does she look for other than diversity in her roles? “Signing a film is more about wanting to do a film than any one aspect like the role, script or filmmaker,” she explains. “And yes, I never do films for awards! But in this industry, we often do films to maintain relationships.”

The feisty Kapoor nixes international ambitions. “They don’t really need Indian actors,” she declares. “I do not want to do small films or itsy-bitsy roles just to have an international film in my name. “Jab yahaan kaam nahin hoga tab wahaan jayenge (When I am left with no work here, I’ll go there),” she quips.

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