Kareena Kapoor - Interview

Kareena Kapoor While big sister Karisma Kapoor faced a long struggle before she made it, kid sister Kareena Kapoor had it far easier. Tall, and lissome with a flawless skin, Kareena first headed for Harvard, then returned to do a stint at a law school in Bombay before joining her sister Karisma in Bollywood.

Kareena made a huge splash with her stunning performance in her debut film Refugee after walking out of a joint debut with Hrithik Roshan in the blockbuster movie Kaho Na Pyar Hai because of a fallout between her mother Babita and Rakesh Roshan. Outspoken to the core, she nevertheless has a child-like warmth when she becomes comfortable.

Mom Babita laughingly says that Kareena and Karisma are poles apart. Karisma is a home bird who hates the disco scene and prefers to come home after shooting, eat chocolate and watch her favorite show Friends. Kareena, on the other hand, will seldom stay home if she can help it. While Karisma is quiet, patient, and low-keyed, Kareena has fast attained the reputation of being a spitfire who doesn't mince words and does not suffer fools gladly. Karisma analyzes the behavior by saying they have both gone through a lot at a young age, their parent's separation and Kareena has watched her sister struggle for years to reach where she is now. "She is very sensitive and emotional and while I internalize, she says she will not take things lying down."

Clad in a pair of jeans and a casual top, her face devoid of any make up, Kareena came across as very warm, unaffected and genuine in this exclusive interview with Little India.

You opted out of Kaho na Pyar Hai and made your debut in Refugee. The former was a masala film the latter a non commercial film.

My sister Karisma made her debut with masala roles. I didn't want to start with those. I returned the signing amounts of some films I had signed and told their directors that their films just won't work for me. I'd love to be a mix of Kajol and Karisma on screen. Mr. J.P. Dutta is a wonderful director and if I had the opportunity I would love to work with him again. He will always be my mentor and someone I look up to for every thing. The character in the film, is very much me -- a girl who is very sensitive, but also very adamant about what she wanted so it's something I didn't have to work at I come from a family of very strong minded women, so things just flowed. I wish every film would be made like that. Instead I have to be caked with makeup and doll up and dance. I have no regrets about not doing Kaho Na Pyar Hai. I think the attention would have been divided, since both Hrithik and I are very strong personalities and exceptionally good actors. No one can take away anyone's destiny and it worked out well for us. Besides Refugee established me as an actress while I would have been known more as a star with Kaho Na Pyar hai. There wasn't much to do histrionically in that film."

Your first big hit Mujhe Kuch Kehna Hai came with Tusshar Kapoor, film actor Jeetendra's son. Did you expect the movie to be such a big hit?

During the making of the film I had no clue how it will do, but I knew Tusshar was going to make his mark, his own slot. He is very pure hearted and genuine and I feel good people always have good things happen to them. Many people believe it became a hit because of me, but I think it did well because of both of us. I will not give myself that credit.

Evidently you were Sanjay Leela Bhansali's first choice for Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam as well as for Paro in Devdas and then he unceremoniously dropped you, and that created a lot of bad blood.

Sanjay Bhansali had approached me for both Khamoshi and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. But I was not interested in doing films then. I agreed to do Devdas, and did the photo-shoot for him only to be told he was taking someone else. He is a dishonorable man and I will never work with him ever.

You stood out in Asoka and a lot of people feel you overshadowed Shahrukh Khan.

Shahrukh Khan is one of my favorite actors. There is something about Shahrukh, the way he dresses, his boy next-door appeal, his energy and sense of humor that is amazing. I enjoyed the movie because it was unique and different. The last scene where I meet Shahrukh in battle was very tough and I had to learn sword fighting, but I'm proud to say even that scene was okayed in the second shot. I just like to be different.

So who do you model yourself on?

I have always admired Meena Kumari, Nargisji , Nutanji, Shaban ji and want to bring back that era. I love Kajol and my sister's performances, though I am not an excellent dancer or fond of it like Karisma is. I believe I am a lot like Smita Patil and I greatly admire her. Even though she was not as glamorous as I am and that is because of the kind of films I have done, I still think I am more like her in personality, easy to mould and spontaneous.

You have this very blunt and brash image and seem to constantly be embroiled in back lashing at some actress or the other. Is this over hyped by the media?

am very honest. I do have a slight ego and attitude, but I think it works in my favor. Without that strong attitude and pride you can't survive. We are here to make films and not to pander to people. I am also not a person who is fake and says I am Miss goody two shoes and not up to mischief some times, or that I only do my work and I am completely "Miss Nice." I am what I am and my fans have accepted me and perhaps appreciate that I am honest and up front. The people who know me well don't believe a word of what is written by the media. I am the kind of girl who can intimidate a man, leave alone women. That is why it is going to be difficult for me to break the ice and fall in love with someone, because I am fiercely independent and intelligent and I think even today most men want their wives to sit at home and go to kitty parties.

If you were to act in a Raj Kapoor film which one would it be?

Without a doubt Prem Rog. The character had a purity, and an amazing potential for an actress to perform.

What are the little things that make Kareena Kapoor?

Well I don't like pretentious people. I love to read and my favorite books are Eric Segal's "Doctors", Mary Higgins Clark's "Remember Me" and Judith Krantz's "Till We Meet Again". I am sentimental at heart. I still have a spaghetti strap top mom bought me many years ago which I don't even fit into now. I love old Hindi songs and have heard Lagja Gale from Woh Kaun Thi a million times! I am a good cook. I took cooking classes and can cook everything from Indian to Chinese to cakes and pastries. I don't like make up. I love belts.