I think the year was 2003 when I first saw a picture of a fresh looking Katrina Kaif splashed on the cover of a men’s magazine hanging from a stall at Sion railway station while on my way to college.
I stood there mesmerised for a while. Soon enough I walked over to the stall, plucked the mag out and flipped pages hurriedly to see her pics. There was a lengthy interview of hers published as well which looked equally exciting and I geared up to read it. Kat was single then, Salman was yet to happen in her life and the actress had a lot to share things other than her personal life in the interview. Unfortunately, the shopkeeper realised I was only window shopping and firmly reminded me that the stall was a shop and not a library. Embarrassed but still not determined to let go off Katrina, I decide to quietly shell out 80 rupees and buy the mag.
This memory slow flashed in my mind last week as I waited for Katrina to arrive for her interview with me. The wait was agonising and I could empathise with Miss Kaif’s situation for she was busy giving interviews after interviews the entire day as I awaited my group’s turn and also wondering how hectic it was for actors to repeat the same answer again and again in different interviews. But then I had a much more difficult task at hand. To fish out the right catchy headline or quote. And many who were done with their interviews warned me about her reluctance to answer any questions on Ranbir.
Now there is one thing about Katrina which I have often observed. Ask her something touchy directly and she will clamp up. But ask it in a way hinting at the obvious, she will reply with quotes that will enable you to connect the dots and understand what she is perhaps wanting to say but can’t directly. Ofcourse, it may in all probability mean nothing at all but then I would like to believe it’s her way of saying this is what happened with me. I have seen it occur at numerous press conferences but realised it much more strongly during my interview with Kat for Indian Express a week before the release of Fitoor. The actress who had just broken up with Ranbir answered my questions on love in the following manner.
Question: Katrina, have you ever been unlucky in love?
Katrina: (Repeats the question) Have I ever been unlucky in love..hmm..anyone who has ever experienced love or been in love is lucky regardless of the outcome. That’s like the one way you can look at it. I hear so many people sometimes saying, ‘Oh I have never been in love.’ Yesterday, I was talking to someone who said, ‘I have never felt that kind of Fitoor or obsession or infatuation for a person. So, I think anyone who experiences love in their life is lucky.
Question: But you do have right?
Katrina: Do have what?
Question: We all know that you do have experienced that fitoor for somebody.
Katrina: See now that’s something I won’t tell you. Am I a passionate person by nature, do I believe in the intensity or depth of love… yes. There are some people who are very pragmatic. There are some people whose philosophy and approach to love is very very practical. I will marry a person like this or I will marry a person who my family decides is right or society decides is right or for whom it is an arrangement.
Question: Is marriage an arrangement for you as well?
Katrina: No. I believe marriage is the joining of two human beings, their souls and their minds. And that should be the only factor involved and there should only be each other in it. You can love your family, your family can be your world. My mom is my world. My mom will always respect whoever I love or choose to love. So, I think for every individual love means different things. You talk to some people and you will find they are pragmatic and practical about love. It is almost like love is an arrangement or love is a settlement between two people.
Question: So is that what love is today, an arrangement and settlement?
Katrina: For different people, I guess.
Question: Do you think every love story today has a happy ending today?
Katrina: I think every love story can have a happy ending. It’s up to each individual. It’s up to my choices, it’s up to your choices.
Question: Are you saying it’s not just in your control and you need two hands to clap?
Katrina: It’s exactly that. Unfortunately, that is the drama of love. If love was in one person’s control, then it would start well, go on well and end well. And there would be no movies. There wouldn’t be a Fitoor or a DDLJ. Love is about two individuals, two minds have to agree and come together. That has to work out. You have heard the line, ‘Yeh ishq nahi aasan.’ There are many interpretations and one of them is love is like fire. You go through it. Then there are some people who can go around it.
Question: What about you. How will you face the fire of love?
Katrina: (Smiles) I would dive straight into the middle of it. But then I would put on a fire suit to protect and shield myself.
As our interview was drawing to an end, I decided to ask her a direct question.
Question: Lastly, tell us have you moved out of the apartment that you and Ranbir shared?
Katrina: (Smilingly points to a box of cookies in her hand) I must recommend this box of cookies to you.
When I met her last week for Baar Baar Dekho interviews, the result was no different. She was guarded like always but then never flinched even once while telling me that if need ever arose she would absolutely give up her career for the man she loves. Quite a statement that raised many eyebrows prompting a portal to even write a feature with a headline – Katrina will give up her career for love- A feminist’s nightmare or a progressive statement?
P.S- The magazine was Debonair. Unfortunately mommy dear classified it as ‘raddhi’ and sold it off.