She’s been the quintessential Hindi film heroine for a really long time and wants to break from that. Her wish is if Jagga Jasoos does well, that would help her to break the traditional shell and try riskier projects. I sit down with Katrina Kaif to discuss giving your all for a film which is even bigger than passion.
Many times when a film takes longer than expected, the idea of its relevance is talked about a lot.
As an actor who knows the process of being on set and making a film, I don’t think there is any relevance to the end product and the time it took to be shot. Avatar took 10 years to make but having said that we have not made Avatar. Every film has its own journey and its own process. What is important is the vision of the film and what you are trying to do with the film. There are some stories which are pure passions with a humongous vision. The kind of vision Anurag Basu has for Jagga Jasoos is really big. It is complex, new and unusual. It was always going to be a process which is a little lengthy.
There is a lot of trial and error in a film like this and there is a lot of work that goes behind constructing the narrative of the film as it is all through music. So you have to have songs that flow into the scenes and scenes which are also songs. There has to be a break as you can’t feel that you are just watching one long song. To seamlessly put together all these musical elements into a screenplay is a time-consuming process. Pritam da is a genius of his own accord and so is dada ( Anurag Basu). They need their time as some people do not work according to timelines. There are certain artists like that. They work odd hours and have a creative process. You cannot control it and that is the reason why the film took the time that it took.
The Indian audience is not well versed with a full blown musical. Did that thought ever bother you?
Every film is a risk in its own. You can have the most tried and tested formula like film and that might not work. That is the journey of a film. You cannot predict it. It is a risky business as it has no definite outcome. Some people might say that Tiger Zinda Hai is a safer film than Jagga Jasoos but if the story is good, it will work. It will find its audience. People have to be willing to watch this film with an open mind. If they are not willing to accept the newness of the narrative, then maybe we will have an issue. But if they come to experience this journey, it’ll be good. I feel people will accept it. I love musicals. I am driven by music and these are the films I grew up watching.
Many years ago, you wanted to produce films. Do you still want to pursue it?
I just think that it is another element of this industry which will be nice to be experienced. It will be nice to learn about. I will produce a film when there is a story that I really connect with on a personal level and I find someone who I can partner with because I don’t know the technicalities of it. I think Ali (Abbas Zafar) and I would be able to partner as he is a very close friend of mine.
After essaying parts of a quintessential Bollywood heroine, Jagga Jasoos is a new territory. Isn’t it?
You know what, I would like to do something with the characters that are a little unusual. Something like Silver Linings Playbook where the girl’s part is a little unusual. I have done enough traditional kind of roles now. I would want to do films that are about the workings of the mind of the character that I play and not just a love interest anymore. I also believe that if Jagga Jasoos works, it will give people a renewed confidence in me. This industry goes a lot by general consensus.
Anurag Basu who is a genius. Did you catch him between shots to admire him? What lured you the most about him?
His vision. A director needs to have a very imaginative mind and the ability to execute that imagination as well. I also have a very imaginative mind but I lack the ability to express and materialize it. If you look at dada’s film, it seems like he is always in search of something unique. He is in search of a certain connect between the story, characters through his audience. He wants to find a special connection and not just a film which is mildly entertaining.
Known to drop a bomb on his actors on set, How did you find Shruti in Jagga’s world?
My process of getting into the character is just being with the director and going on the journey with him. Unless I am playing someone where I have a physical disability or if you need to learn a skill. Then you need to work on that element separately. But in terms of finding the character, I am just there to follow the director. That is how I have always worked. If the director wants me to do workshops, I’ll do it. If the director wants me to sit in a room to do character building exercises, I’ll do that. But dada is not like that. He will construct what he wants on set and will talk to you a lot. You will find the character in the conversations. He won’t come and give it to you. You’ll find it from just by catching him between shots, sitting next to him in lunch breaks and just being there with him. Between the shots, I would not go in my van because I wanted to see what dada is doing. I would get up and talk to him. Sometimes he would ignore me, sometimes he would brush me off, sometimes he would interact and give me something. You just have to wait till you get it.
From Phantom, Jagga Jasoos, Tiger Zinda Hai to Thugs Of Hindustan, the line up looks eclectic. Doesn’t it?
Otherwise, you bore yourself right? I remember when Farah Ma’am ( Farah Khan) came to me for Sheila Ki Jawani, it was a huge challenge for me to execute her vision for that song. Now, if today someone comes up with a similar song, of course, I would love to learn a new technique of dance like how we did with Vaibhavi Ma’am ( Vaibhavi Merchant) in Dhoom 3, but the level of excitement will not be the same as it is not novelty for me anymore.
To find something that makes you grow as a person, you have to keep doing it. Having said that, I will not just randomly pull some female oriented characters that don’t speak to me. If it is not a film that I would watch or would take my friends to, then I wouldn’t want to put my audience through it just for an experience to make myself feel important. It has to come together.