Katrina Kaif: Ali and I are good friends. Signing Bharat had nothing to do with our friendship
Having stepped in as female lead at the last minute, Katrina Kaif insists she greenlit Salman Khan’s Bharat purely on merit
After Priyanka Chopra Jonas made an abrupt exit from Bharat, days before the film was to roll, Katrina Kaif stepped in as the leading lady much to the relief of Salman Khan and director Ali Abbas Zafar. Fans were quick to assume that she had bailed the makers out owing to her deep bond with them. However, Kaif insists signing the film was a purely professional decision.
“Ali and I are good friends, but when it comes to work, we are completely honest with each other. I read the script from start to finish in three hours and immediately called him to tell him that I loved it. I realised there was an opportunity of going the extra mile with this character. So, it had nothing to do with my friendship with Salman or Ali. In fact, Salman did not even call me after I signed the film. We met directly on the set,” laughs the actor, talking on the sidelines of an online show presented by Grey Goose.
A still from Bharat
The period drama – an official adaptation of the South Korean film, Ode To My Father (2014) – marks Kaif’s sixth outing with the superstar. She agrees that their off-screen equation translates beautifully on camera. “We share a comfort level, which has developed over the years. He loves to entertain the audience. He is a simple person in real life, and he approaches his films the way he approaches life.”
While she has always been one of the most sought-after female actors, her last release Zero (2018) changed the audience’s perception of her as an artiste. Kaif’s act as a troubled superstar earned her glowing reviews. “Right now, all my energy is focussed towards work, and when such appreciation comes your way, it feels good. The credit goes to Aanand sir [Aanand L Rai, filmmaker] who told me to trust him and helped me overcome my fears.”