Katrina Kaif on performing a lot of stunts herself in Ek Tha Tiger, her co-star Salman Khan and her experience working with director Kabir Khan for the second time

It’s late into the night when Katrina zips into a YashRaj studio room for our interview and we’re glad it’s finally happening after hours and days of waiting. Asked if she’s tired doing her rounds of interactions, a tongue-in-cheek response seems difficult to suppress for her, “Can’t help it, we are all working on Salman Standard Time! Just a quarter of my day has gone past, I think.”

Ex-beau and mentor Salman Khan is in the limelight for their film Ek Tha Tiger (ETT), releasing August 15, and she has no qualms about letting that be. “I am not thinking about how big the film is and how much money it will make. I know my role is strong; it isn’t there only for glam value. The story is good, the director is excellent, there’s Salman in it. In spite of these, if my character doesn’t come through as strong, I have only myself to blame,” she says.

Great friends

This is Katrina’s second film with Kabir Khan, New York being the first, and she says it was Salman who convinced her to sign the film which went on to reveal Katrina in a new light. “I was doing a lot of comedies then and was a little uncomfortable about this dark feature with a strong political tone. Salman, who had met Kabir and seen a bit of his preparatory work for Kabul Express (Kabir’s first film), said I should walk into it blindly,” she says. “Now I am totally at ease with Kabir. We are good friends and share meals on Eid, Christmas and other occasions. He is an amazing director who portrays his female characters with strong personalities,” she adds.

Kabir has often said that ETT will be a career-defining role for Katrina, but the actor plays it down. “It’s difficult to judge that. When we did Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, we were all convinced that it would have limited appeal as it was a subtle, urbane film. But we were surprised by the amazing response it got. For Raajneeti, I was warned by a lot of my distributor friends that it would not work at all, but again some would say that was a career changer for me.”

For ETT, Katrina has done a lot of stunts herself and says she thinks of them as choreographed pieces. “We did rehearsals in Cuba for the action sequences; Conrad (acclaimed Hollywood stunt coordinator) and his team was such a pleasure to work with. You felt safe even doing the most unbelievable stuff,” she says.

While she has not yet interacted with Aamir on the Dhoom 3 sets, Katrina says she was very nervous shooting with Shah Rukh Khan (for Yash Chopra’s romantic film) and felt ‘silly’ about it. “After eight years in the industry, I suppose the nervousness came from having seen the big guys in their films. When I was new to Bollywood, I hadn’t seen any of these guys so I had nothing to fear. It’s silly, but true!”