Kareena Kapoor Khan: “I’m married, have kids and am getting amazing work… earlier, people wouldn’t even talk about their relationships” | Bollywood News
At a recent Adda held in Mumbai, actor Kareena Kapoor Khan spoke about her OTT experience, challenging herself in an evolving film industry and navigating the pressures of social media.
Whether OTT or theatres, I think it’s an exciting time for cinema. After the post-COVID lull, everyone is back with lots of energy. So, I thought it was a good time. I had a lot of offers but I’ve always loved watching crime thrillers. So, I thought, I’ll be convincing and people will enjoy watching me in Jaane Jaan. When Sujoy (Ghosh) came with the script (of Jaane Jaan, Netflix), it was just perfect.
On her OTT experience
When you’re watching at home, somehow you see a performance a lot more clearly than when you’re watching it in a theatre where it’s a cinematic experience. You’re having popcorn, looking forward to the songs. OTT is an intimate experience, so I was a lot more nervous.
On being in her 40s
I think being in the 40s is just the best part. Personally, I think I feel a lot more relaxed, and after having my children, I think I’m having a lot more fun than I did earlier. It’s so important to have fun because that’s what keeps you going, that’s what keeps you happy. And, you know, longevity, everything is so important. It’s all about just having fun, rather than constantly thinking that I should look like this or I should do this. I’ve never been like that.
On the pressures of social media
On social media, there is this certain look that everybody wants to have, every girl wants to look like that. I think it’s very scary but you just have to be strong and say, ‘no, this is it, I can’t get carried away’. Everyone has to learn to love themselves the way they are. Friends, family should keep telling their children the same so that they have a certain kind of security. So parents, friends, uncles, aunts, they all should give confidence to the child. Being a parent, I’ve realised that this confidence starts at home.
On parenting in the time of social media
I think it has been quite tough but what made it easy was that we didn’t really cover his (Taimur’s) face, or stopped people from taking pictures because both Saif and I felt that if we started covering our child’s face, it would reflect on his mind a lot more like ‘why are my parents doing this to me?’ So Saif said, ‘just let it be, and we’ll deal with it’, we’ll request them (photographers) as much as we can. And, of course, when Taimur started noticing that he’s being photographed when he was four, he asked us. I told him that we do movies and he just turned around and told me ‘but I’m not famous so why are they clicking my pictures’. I have to keep telling him ‘just relax. It’s okay. Yes, you are not famous, but because we are…’ So now if you notice, he just puts his head down and runs off but he doesn’t like it. But I just thought that hiding him and doing all of that would impact him negatively, may scar him, make him shy or maybe say that he does not want to go out because his parents are constantly shielding him. I want him to have as normal a life as possible.
On being trolled over her son’s name
I think we have freedom of speech, freedom of what we want to do. Also, my son’s name is Taimur, which means iron. Saif’s first friend was called that and he really liked the name. He said if I have a son, I’d like to name him Taimur and that’s exactly how he was named. I was in a shock when the trolling over his name happened. But luckily, because we were strong, resilient and silent, I think it just kind of died down. It was a traumatic time, it was very difficult, but I think both Saif and I handled it with a lot of dignity.
On her childhood
I think it was very different and organic at that time because you never really knew your parents were famous till you grew up to nine or 10. You’d go on a movie shoot, and it used to be like the most special treat to actually get to a set and watch my father and Mr Amitabh Bachchan shoot together. It was a treat. Today everything’s out there. In those days, it was not about the paps (paparazzi), how you looked, where you went or what you did, or which restaurant you ate at, it was more humane in some way. So my childhood was a lot more organic and exciting, going to movie shoots obviously, because that’s where I grew up… But there was a time that I broke away from that and went to boarding school, Welham Girls’ in Dehradun, and enjoyed the best three years of my life. I can’t thank my parents for actually exposing me to that. It is there that I learned to be independent, because being a boarding school girl is very different. And for our family, it was a first because I came from a very protected home. I’m very happy that I had that exposure, and because of which I even thought of becoming a lawyer! I went to the Government Law College in Mumbai and thought I could become a criminal lawyer but obviously when I saw the size of the books, I said forget it, let me just do what is my calling.
On changes in the industry from the time she made her debut
I think everything in cinema has changed since then. A lot more people are now also watching our cinema than before. Of course, I do believe that even in the ’60s and ’70s, everyone was watching Satyajit Ray’s films, my mother-in-law’s (Sharmila Tagore) films were popular, Raj Kapoor’s films were popular in Russia. Now, of course, it’s considered one of the biggest industries in the world after Hollywood. In fact, I would say we’re making a lot more movies than them. We’re trying to match up in budgets as well, with the South film industry contributing a lot and the credit has to be given to them. But I think the world is also opening up to a lot of actors. Cinema has changed in so many ways. I think I have grown since the time I was a 19-year–old girl. But I still don’t want to lose that excitement. If I lose that, I feel then I should hang my boots.
On working in films helmed by women
I think we kind of inspire each other. It’s a different vibe when your co-star is a woman. I think there’s a lot more relatability, we also bounce off each other’s energies, because women are, I think, a lot more easier. Somehow I just feel that we’re all comfortable with each other. When you’re making an all women kind of movie, it just works because we’re a lot more relaxed. So when you’re giving the shot, it just comes across as so much more fun and natural. (We are) Not really competing. I just somehow feel male actors compete more. Women don’t, trust me.
On working after marriage
Everyone said if you get married, your career will be over. I was madly in love and I was like, it’s fine if producers and directors don’t take me if I get married, it’s their loss. It was so weird. I couldn’t believe it but I thought, okay, let’s see what happens. And I just did it. I think that also led to people having a lot of confidence in me and me doing some good work after my marriage. My mother-in-law also gave me a lot of confidence, because she did such amazing movies like Daag and Waqt after Saif was born. She said, ‘challenge yourself, challenge them (producers), and it will happen’. And I did get some amazing work after I got married. Two children down, my plate is full and I am doing some amazing stuff. I think it’s given a lot of girls confidence. Everybody started following suit. Earlier, people wouldn’t even talk about their relationships openly.
On her interfaith marriage and age difference with Saif
When has age ever mattered? Also I’m glad I’m 10 years younger, it’s fine. He should be stressed. We’re on the same wavelength and I think in a marriage that’s most important, you know, 50, 60, 70, that really doesn’t matter. What matters is respect, love and the fact that we have fun with each other. We spent so much time discussing interfaith, or that they are 10 years apart, we forget to have the most important thing, which is to have fun, and that we should like each other.
Rapid Fire with Kareena Kapoor Khan
With so much social media, do you feel that being accessible is something which is hurting stardom, or is it making it bigger and better?
It’s a double-edged sword. We somehow need to find a balance.
I do get irritated sometimes. People comment that she was looking like this or she looked tired. But maybe I was tired. It wasn’t time to be photographed. There is now accessibility because people are dissecting photos. But also the best way to be is to just put your head down and walk.
Paparazzi, yay or nay.
In today’s time, it’s difficult to run away from it. So please accept it in all your glory. I have accepted it.
The one thing that’s changed in the Kapoor family in the past 23 years.
The actors have become better. There’s Ranbir Kapoor.
If you were making a debut today, what would you do differently?
I’m really proud of my debut. It wasn’t a typical commercial song-and-dance potboiler. I wouldn’t want to change that at all. Let’s keep that for posterity.
The one thing that’s remained the same in Bollywood since you began working 23 years ago.
The one thing that should have changed in Bollywood, but hasn’t in the last 23 years.
Maybe better working conditions, more organised timings.
The one thing in Bollywood you think shouldn’t have changed.
Privacy of actors.
The power of the star: has that increased or decreased?
It’s on a roll.
The clout and value of the last name. Has that increased or decreased in Bollywood?
Are Indian audiences more or less starstruck than they were 23 years ago?
More, because of the accessibility.
The first thought that comes to your mind when you hear the word award shows
First thought when you hear the word beauty pageants.
When you hear the word item song.
When you hear the word documentary.
Saif, because he loves watching documentaries.
When you hear the word paparazzi
Stress, because they are all over me. I literally wake up in the morning and worry about paps.
First thought when you hear the word polarised.
Jaane Jaan is an adaptation of the Devotion of Suspect X. If you could start another book adaptation, what would it be?
Since I love all crime thrillers, any one of Jo Nesbo’s thrillers. One of those slightly dark books.
Which film of yours would you make your sons watch first?
Any of the comedy and fun ones like Golmaal. Let them start slow. Let’s ease them into all the movies.
Saif is closest to which of his onscreen characters.
I would say Akshay Kumar. I like watching them together.
The one female lead who you think Saif makes a good pair with on screen.
Here are a few questions that I have been asked in school interviews
The one trick in making your child get along with his newborn sibling.
The one trick with two boys is, just buy two of everything. Whether we’re at the airport or anything, if Saif buys one Hubba Bubba, I tell him to buy two.
Would you like the school to cherish the child’s naivete and innocence, or rather expose the child to the harsh realities of the world?
I would say harsh realities of life. In the times we’re living in, I think it’s important that they know. If I have to jump somewhere, I’d like to know how far I’m going or how deep I’m jumping. My children should know that too.
If you have to pick another country to live with your family. outside of India, which one would you choose and why?
I can’t imagine the comfort of living anywhere else other than Mumbai. Somehow it’s given me security and some sort of mental peace.
How would you tell your child why Uncle Jack is married to a man.
Because he loves him. And love doesn’t come in any particular gender or size or form, and you know it’s not that amma always has to love abba. Sometimes Jack can love John. Trisha can love Brisha. And that’s just the way it is. And he has to know that love has no boundaries.
Should schools have male, female and other bathrooms?
If your child asked why his nanny has to eat at another table, what would you tell him?
I’ve already been asked that. She sits with us. That’s just the way both Saif and I have addressed it because Taimur has asked and Jay is already asking. He says, “idhar baitho”. And this is the rule now because they look after my children like their own, and that is something that I cannot just overlook.
Deputy General Manager – Group Strategy, Writer Corporation
Who is the easiest and the most difficult actor to work with and why?
The easiest actor would be Akshay Kumar. I think he is very relaxed. He’s like a typical Virgo. He likes to have lots of fun. Difficult — I think everyone’s process is different. Because people like to do a lot of retakes or get into character. It would be unfair to take someone’s name because acting is a process.
Managing Director, DCW Limited
If you had a choice to play any character from a classic Bollywood film, which one would you choose and why?
This is a difficult one because I’m such a movie buff and I’ve seen so many of the classics. I would love to have been a part of a Satyajit Ray film, like my mother-in-law because I think the way he showed his women… I wish I would have had that opportunity in maybe a black-and-white one.
Advocate, Bombay High Court
How do you adjust to the role of a family member as compared to your screen roles? It must be difficult to make the sudden shift from being on the screen playing a particular character and then coming back to reality?
I’ve never really taken myself too seriously as an actor or as a person. I’ve seen that a lot of actors find it difficult but I find it very easy because I wear my stardom, my success and my failures, very easy. And I am like, theek hai, chalta hai, dekhte hain kya hoga (okay, it’s fine, let’s see what happens). I am happy to leave my characters at work and rush home to be a wife to Saif, to be a mother. I wait for that actually.
Founder, The Little Box
What do you do in your me-time?
Take a nap. I love my naps and they are sacrosanct. If I’m at home, and I have some time alone, then I just want to be with myself and literally just stare at the wall and put myself to sleep. That’s my time.
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