Going great guns

AT 23 Kareena Kapoor is shining bright. Her palette probably has roles, which every actor would aspire for. With an impressive oeuvre, she is charting a path on her own terms taking all the risks coming her way. Yet she is cool enough to admit when she was in town for the Pepsi contest "I feel it's just the beginning." The glam girl dressed in a hip long skirt and a top was no doubt a pretty picture full of poise and dignity.

The Kapoor girl has a string of films on hand - Ken Ghosh's Fida (with Shahid Kapur), Dharmesh Darshan's Bewafa (with Anil Kapoor and Akshay Kumar), Abbas Mustan's Aitraaz, Priyadarsan's Hulchul (with Akshaye Khanna) and will be starting two films at the end of this year - one directed by Sohail Khan with Salman Khan and another to be directed by ace designer Manish Malhotra. How does she feel to be directed by Manish after wearing clothes styled by him? "Manish has been more of a friend than a designer. I haven't really started the film though I am excited about it."

Making a mark

She has pulled off unconventional roles at a young age since her debut in Refugee four years ago."I like to take risks. I did so with Santosh Sivan's Asoka and later Chameli and Dev. I think it is fun. Otherwise in the journey of an actress it could get very monotonous straightening your hair, putting on the make up and walking the streets of New York. The roles I have chosen (even if the films haven't done well) have created a mark. Chameli, Yuva, Dev, Refugee and Asoka have proved it."

Kareena has worked with big shots in cinema like Govind Nihalani, Mani Rathnam, Subhash Ghai so early on in her career? "I feel very humbled. It's great to know the faith they have in me and want them to continue that faith because I want to carry on working with all the film-makers," and adds a bit pompously "it just shows that if you are talented you survive."

She describes her journey in cinema as "great. There have been highs and lows and I think without that my journey would be incomplete. I come from a family where we love eat and breathe films completely. There is nothing else that we talk about on our dinner table but films (smiles). I have learnt so much in the last four years and I feel I've experienced and felt some emotions, which I probably didn't even know existed. ."

Different feelings

Although her career has surged ahead with full steam she does not miss being a young girl and enjoying life. "I got to see so much through the eyes of cinema — on and off the sets. I experienced different kinds of feelings — success, failure, joy." The rumour mills don't bother her now.

"I guess you are immune to it. They want to talk or write about you because you are somebody. I have learnt to take it in my stride. "

How would she define the real Kareena? "I am very much normal. I breathe the same air as everybody does and I go through normal emotions as every person does."

Kareena loves to spend time with her family who have been her real support besides reading fiction. "I like Erich Segal and Danielle Steele."

Kareena is happy being in front of the camera. "I have been open to all kinds of films. I want to keep all my doors open because that is the only way I'll probably grow. The doors are growing wider with cinema too becoming wider. Ever since my brain started functioning I have always wanted to be an actress. There's nothing else I wanted to do. I don't think I'm cut off to do anything else."

And that's where her energy and insatiable appetite for cinema comes from. And when one questions her about marriage she smiles mischievously but emphatically says "not for another five-six years.

Which means Kareena will continue to set the silver screen ablaze in her inimitable way.

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