Chit Chat

I always wanted to be a movie star: Kareena Kapoor Khan

Kareena Kapoor Khan, 33, could be perceived as bold, but in reality, she operates from her heart and is a person who has always made her decisions emotionally. She is upfront, traditional, understanding and ambitious and is the only actress to have admitted to having a live-in relationship. While she loves acting, travelling and meeting friends is her oxygen. She has never shied away from having a personal life, apart from her professional one. She is comfortable in her skin and has pride in her talent. Her mother is her oxygen tank and Saif, the mature factor in her life. Ahead of her upcoming film ‘Gori Tere Pyaar Mein’, she talks about her moohphat mother, her liberal father and why Lolo was Raj Kapoor’s favourite. Excerpts:

How early did you know that you wanted to be an actress?
I think from the time I was in my mother’s womb. My entire childhood was spent in front of the mirror, dancing to Madhuri and Sridevi songs or copying their expressions. There was never an option in my mind. I always wanted to be a movie star.

Being a Kapoor girl, did your family resist your becoming an actor?
Both my parents are very liberal and cosmopolitan. The first drink I had was with my father in Boston in America. I would love to sit and chat with him over a drink and he has been one of my best friends. My parents have never asked me about anything, be it what I want to do or where I am going. My mother has so much confidence in the way she has brought me up, that she knows I know my responsibilities. My mother always encouraged me and so did my father. In fact, my mother was very active in my sister Karisma’s career.

At that time, my mother was a single parent and Lolo needed that encouragement. Lolo laid the foundation and I just reaped the benefits. Everyone did know me as Karisma’s sister. Till date, many a time, people get confused and call me Karisma, and that for me is the biggest high as I love to be called her sister. I don’t think there are any two siblings in Bollywood that have been so successful and we are both very proud of that. We are also very proud to have a mother like we do, as the reason we are successful is her.

Talk about your mother?
She is fun and entertaining. Everyone says I am like her. People like Karan (Johar) and Manish (Malhotra) love to meet her. She is very moohphat and will say anything anytime. She is like a child and if she is in the room everyone is laughing and joking. My mom has her own life, likes to do her own thing, and does not like to be written about. She is a sweetheart and the people who know her, love her. She is the reason for my being what I am. She has always been cool about talking about our boyfriends with us. I lived in with Saif for five years and everyone said it’s not okay and it was considered a bold step. But it’s just that I talked about it and I’m the only actress to have said that I have lived in. I am upfront, but also very traditional.

Explain ‘traditionally upfront’?
I respect tradition a lot. My father is a Punjabi, my mother, a practising Christian and I am married to a Muslim. I have been brought up by my mother as a Christian, but I equally celebrate Diwali and now respect the Muslim culture. I am just blessed to have the best parents and be part of such a contemporary world.

How different are your parents?
My parents separated when I was about two. But they also have the most wonderful relationship and are the best of friends. My father is comical and my mother, entertaining. My mother is like she will say anything. My father will crack a lot of jokes. People like his company, but he is slightly more reserved than my mother. My mother does not like to be in the limelight and does not like going to film parties. My father is very outgoing and does not mind going to a film party. Both Lolo and I have taken after my mom.

Saif and you make a beautiful couple. While you seem to be a happy-go-lucky person, he is aristocratic and perfect. What binds your relationship as people?
Saif is not perfect and is, in fact, very imperfect and it is his imperfection that makes him so sexy and charming and lovable. He is a combination of everything. I love the fact that I make spelling mistakes with him. And he will say, ‘Bebo, that’s not the way.’ I recently pronounced the word ‘quintessential’ wrong. He told me, ‘Darling, you can’t make statements in public when you don’t know the meaning of the word.’ I said, ‘Sorry’ and he said, ‘You are so glamorous and beautiful, so just smile but don’t use words you don’t know the meaning of.’ I will keep saying ‘I depicted this work to somebody.’ He will tell me, ‘You assign work and not depict work.’ So he’s like that and loves correcting me. I always ask him if I have to say something.

And that’s the way it should be. Our relationship is pretty equal and while he doesn’t control me, he calls the shots. We are both very rooted and have been brought up in a similar manner. We are very modern and at the same time are very traditional and know our roots. That is the core and the binding factor of our relationship. It’s beautiful and the best part is that he is my best friend. I can talk to him about anything and he will give me the best advice. Nobody should ever have a conversation with Saif. He is too bright. He may lose the argument with you when it comes to films or Bollywood collections, but you cannot win a battle with him on any other topic. He is the mature factor in my life.

Talk about your sister Karisma?
Karisma is my father’s favourite. She and I are really close. She is lovely and stunning. She is deep and very emotional. And, in that way, we are both similar. I’m just so lucky to have her and she is the rock of the family, who binds us all together. Saif adores her. She is one of the nicest human beings. She is always there whenever you want her. My family dotes on her, my friends love her. She’s this lovable child, who everyone loves and, of course, she is my biggest critic. While I am outgoing, she is reserved. She was like that even in her career. I am bohemian by nature, while she is conservative. She always wants to do the right thing, like, I can’t ever imagine her living in with someone. She’s responsible for the kind of actress I am.

Has your mother’s life changed after your marriage?
Not really. My mum has always been an independent woman and has always had her own life. We all stay two buildings down from each other and therefore, are part of the same neighbourhood. I talk to her everyday though I wish I could see her everyday. She is my oxygen tank. My life can’t function without her. There is no way in my life I can think of a day without my mother. That is how much I am dependent on her.

Let’s talk about Karan Johar?
I cannot explain it, but I love him. Johar is the brother I never had. I share a lot with him and respect him and he respects me. The most important thing about two friends is that they should enjoy each other’s company. I enjoy being around him. If I ask him for something, he is there. I trust him. And that is a responsibility on Mr Johar’s shoulders. I have very few friends in the industry, but he is one of them. As against going for a filmi party, I would rather go to his house with my dal and tori, dressed in my pyjamas and T-shirt with my unwashed hair and just sit with my feet up.

Do you remember your grandfather?
He died when I was about eight. I remember being all the time around him in Chembur. I always remember the fact that he loved mangoes, as I love them too. But he never gave me any mangoes as he loved Karisma so much that whenever he got mangoes from the farm, Lolo would get all of them. He doted on her as she had eyes the same colour as him. He would always say, ‘She is my baby.’

Any childhood memories with Ranbir?
He is a year-and-a-half younger to me and we would stay together when we would go to Chembur as kids. My first holiday to Kashmir was with Chintu uncle, Ranbir and Riddhima, when he was shooting for a film with Juhi Chawla there. I was nine at that time and remember the shikaras and running around the Oberoi Palace hotel, as we stayed there. We were most excited as Rishi Kapoor was a big star at that time and it was great. I am so happy that Ranbir is doing so well. I am the worst sister as I am the only person who has not seen Barfi. Thanks to Mr Saif Ali Khan, while I act in films, I don’t see them.

Would you like to be a mother some day?
Yes, someday, but that thought is not on my mind right now.


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