'Salman never did anything for me'
Tuesday, April 10, 2007 12:29 IST
By Subhash K Jha, Santa Banta News Network
/> Katrina currently basking in the positive reviews for her portrayal of the British Asian Punjabi girl in Namastey London has an extra reason to be happy. On the sets of her new film Race Katrina has found a chess partner.

"Thank God, Saif is an avid chess player like me. Whenever the camera is switched off we play chess. Over here in India nobody plays chess. Earlier I persuaded my sister. I had to virtually bribe people to play chess with me," says the London-born girl who has found the perfect part of Londoner in Namastey London so early in her career.

"When Vipul offered me the role I wasn't very sure I could pull it off. Once I was on he gave me the freedom to interpret the character how I wanted. That really helped me to come to grips with my character's language and personality.

And then to hear some reviewer in Mumbai comment that I pronounce 'yatch' wrongly. Hello! This is probably some guy who has spent his life in Mumbai. I lived in London and know how to speak like young Indians out there. I've a good mind to dash off a letter to him."

In fact one of Katrina's chief attractions in doing Namaste London was that she had the chance to finally dub her own lines. "But you won't believe this, I finally wanted to chicken out of dubbing my own lines. I lost nerve. I had this lengthy 45-minute discussion with Vipul convincing him why I couldn't dub.

He heard me out quietly. I think secretly he had decided I'd do the dubbing. I finally relented. But I made the sound recordist's life miserable. He finally told me to get out of the recording studio and return only during my next film. Thankfully it's turned out well now."

She sighs and gets dreamy. "I hope Namastey London works. I'm tired of waiting for my films to work. I know I'm only three films old and my first film Maine Pyar Kyun Kiya was quite a success. But I still haven't been able make a place for myself."

She's unnecessarily grateful to Akshay Kumar for agreeing to do Namastey London with her. "Not too many actors in his position would want to do a female-oriented subject. But Akshay had absolutely no qualms. I like that."

Surprisingly Katrina had more off-camera fun with Akshay shooting their other film Humko Deewana Kar Gaya. "People are talking about the compatibility visible between us in Namastey... but it was the other film where we really had all the fun. In Namastey... Vipul and I had more fun.

This time with Akshay was equally enjoyable but a far more serious business. Off-camera we were discussing scenes, getting our stance right, and so on."

Katrina and her director Vipul have now established a gratifying comfort zone between them. "Before the film released I'd ask him the same question twenty times. I guess I was just nervous. Vipul would patiently answer the first few times and then cut me short saying, 'The answer isn't going to change, no matter how many times you ask me.'

Next, Katrina has just signed on the dotted line for Subhash Ghai's new directorial venture Main Yuvraj where she's paired with beau Salman.

People would presume Katrina bagged the role through Salman's recommendation. "To think Salman got me Subhash Ghai's film is ridiculous especially when I have Namastey London to my credit now. Actually I met Subhashji long before.

He had offered me a film. I think it was Kisna. He asked Vipul Shah to show him my work in Namastey London before finalising me for Main Yuvraj. That's how I think he decided on casting me," says Katrina.

Trying to curb her annoyance about the allegation that Salman is responsible for her professional progress, Katrina says, "Do people think Subhashji is the kind of filmmaker who would listen to others before signing an actor? He would only sign an actor who suits the role and has always gone by what is right for his film."

Katrina will also be seen in Anil Sharma's Apne. "Though my co-star in the film is Bobby Deol I'm completely captivated by Sunny Deol. He's the hero I've watched in my growing years. Whenever he's on the sets I'm totally tongue-tied."
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