Kareena Kapoor in confession mode
Christmas Day was a write-off She had spent it and some more at Lilavati where Saif Ali Khan, yes — the love of her life, ended up after sinfully and unwisely indulging in plum pudding and chaat the previous night. But New Year was different for Kareena Kapoor. Bollywood’s most written about jodi is currently in the French Alps; they’re doing their thing, just happy being themselves, by themselves. I met them Sunday evening at his residence-cum-office in Bandra hours before they took a late night flight out. Saif, who got discharged from hospital that morning, still seemed unwell and sorry for himself. But Kareena, fresh from a shower, the luscious body gleaming in early winter twilight, looked a million. I made a snap decision. Ignoring him, I turned to her.
It’s a busy time for her. She’s doing three films currently: Raju Hirani’s 3 Idiots with Aamir Khan; Karan Johar’s untitled film with Saif himself; and, Main Aur Mrs Khanna with Salman Khan. The couple was in Philadelphia shooting for a month. Now, this break. When do you stop acting and start being real together, I asked. Isn’t there a fine line between the two? An unfair question, actually, because this is the first time Kareena and Saif are being romantically paired. “People say our pairing didn’t work in Tashan, but that’s not true, I was paired with Akshay… not Saif,” she replied defensively. “Even in Omkara, which is the other film we did, he was with Konkona and I with Ajay. My only time with Saif on screen was in Kargil where I did a small role for J P Dutta.”
But, yes, it was sometimes difficult doing Karan’s film. Especially highly emotional scenes, she crying, he acting hurt. Not for her, though. “I’m the switch on-switch off kind,” she admitted, “as an actress, it’s easy for me. But Saif is emotional. Here’s the woman he loves, but now he’s also working with her. He’s jumpy, he has a lot of nervous energy, but he won’t agree, though I got that vibe… I know what he is deep down.” I asked if the familiarity of their relationship robbed her of the challenge and intimacy of the moment. “No, it’s more fun,” said Kareena.
“There’s double pressure. And that buzz and excitement, that’s there. Saif is a most watchable actor even when I’m not giving a shot with him. I used to look upto him much before we got into a relationship. He’s got a spontaneity that I like.”
But she’s also acting with some of Bollywood’s other Khans, so where does Saif compare with them? “With Aamir, I’ve just done a small stint, and he’s absolutely a dream. I’m lucky. Whatever he does, is something not seen before. It excites me to learn from him. Actors pick up by observing great co-stars.” What did she pick up from Saif, then? “The chemistry,” Kareena promptly replied. “But the journey is still on, I’m hoping to learn more while we shoot. Personally, he taught me how to balance work and personal life. He does it so well. But all the Khans are amazingly different. That’s why they’re the Khans! Salman is Salman… the coolest actor ever. But Saif is the original rockstar!” Who’s the most fun to be with? “Saif, because it’s a personal equation,” she smiled. “But my best co-star is Akshay Kumar.”
Her next big film, Kambakht Ishq, is with Akshay. “I love Akshay to a point where Saif gets jealous. He says, ‘You’re always praising Akshay!’” Kareena laughed. “But in LA, on the sets of Kambakht Ishq, Saif paid me a sweet compliment by saying Akshay and I look great together.” She’s excited about the film. “I have a good role, it’s got all the Hollywood stars…” she paused, “and there’s Stallone!” She talked about Hollywood’s macho man. “He’s down-to-earth, he came without a make-up man, without a valet, he drove over himself and stepped out of the car carrying a basket of food and water. Look at us!
How spoiled we are. Saif actually has a little angrez attitude… but that I like!” Considering Bollywood’s actors are into their bodies, I asked Kareena about Stallone’s. “It’s to die for,” she drooled. “So amazing at his age, like a rock, not an ounce of fat. He’s truly sexy. It’s great to have him in a Hindi film… this is a proud moment for Bollywood.” Yeah, but who in Hindi films compared to Stallone, bodywise? “Tough to say,” she pouted.
“There’s Salman, but now Aamir and Shah Rukh have great bodies too.” What about Saif, wasn’t he into six-packs? “No,” she said, “but he’s got the best smile in Bollywood.”