Katrina Kaif’s ‘Phantom’ releases today.the actress opens up on many things – her equation with Kabir Khan to her co-star Saif Ali Khan, and doing action.
If I ask what number Phantom is, would you know? As in is it your 37th film or 41st?
Absolutely not! And I don’t even want to know (smiles).
What’s your equation with Kabir Khan?
It’s evolved and grown more comfortable with time. There’s a huge familiarity between us for sure. From the time we met in New York, there has been an ease about him and because he’s such a cultured and evolved soul, he really respects people and what they stand for. This kind of genuine belief, respect and confidence that he had for me made me open up and become more free as a person. Phantom is a tough film to make. He travels all over the world, goes to difficult places to shoot and there are portions in Phantom where I have been recovering from an injury and not been at my best. He was still super understanding and supportive of me. That’s something I will always be grateful for and I hope that Phantom is not just our last film together, so we have that one last great memory to savour forever, that one film which just makes everything complete.
How different was he in Phantom as compared to New York?
Kabir has grown and evolved a lot. He’s become a lot more understanding of the needs of the producers, of making a film commercially viable. But at the core of it, his integrity has not really changed. Kabir comes from a background of documentary filmmaking and shooting in conflict zones and war-torn countries. He is very politically aware that way, knows about the radical groups or the kind of hotspots of the world. That makes the base of a lot of his movies. Kabir is a unique filmmaker as he grounds his movies very strongly. It’s been there in New York, Kabul Express, Tiger, Bajrangi Bhaijaan and now, Phantom. He’s made my character in Phantom very real. He sees women as independent, so she’s neither too feminine or too strong. She has a back story, she’s free-minded, knowledgeable and that’s how the women in Kabir’s films will mostly be. He never sees women as passive characters.
Do you enjoy doing action scenes?
Action is an integral part of most complex, big stories, even love stories and thrillers. Physical action — like running or hand-to-hand combat, I am fine with. If you are doing an action scene, where you are flying across the room obviously you will need a harness which I wouldn’t love to do as much but if you are doing combat, or real action, or in a gun battle or jumping on a ship as in Phantom, then I love doing it and enjoy it.
To Saif, you are still somewhat of a mystery…
I think I can understand how to some people I may appear to be a mystery. I don’t think I am one of those who likes to let the emotions hang all out in public. I don’t feel the need to share everything all the time. I am very warm and open to people who I know and am comfortable with and whom I can sense are nice. I become very guarded with people who like to provoke or poke me. I get my big defence mechanism up then.