Unpretentious, vibrant, Kareena Kapoor, granddaughter of the legendary Raj Kapoor, has built her own reputation in Hindi cinema. She spoke to Anusha Subramanian on the sets of Madhur Bhandarkar's film Heroine. Edited excerpts:
Does the success you have had lately put pressure on you? Do people expect more from you now?
Obviously there is lot of pressure because everybody expects all my movies to gross Rs 100 crore-plus. But honestly every film cannot do that. 3 Idiots was made for about Rs 25 crore and went on to do very good business that was never initially expected. Ra.One and Body Guard were big budget films. They were made and marketed in a way that would bring in huge box office revenues. That does not mean that I am going to pressure my directors or producers, saying this is what is expected of me so let us plan the film in a way that we can make big monies. I would just like to do films where I enjoy my work.
How different is Heroine?
Heroine is completely different. It relies totally on a character-driven role. It's a dream role for any actress. I am also at a stage where I want to do performance-oriented roles. I don't think any actress so far has done something like this.
After your run of success are you being bombarded with offers for brand endorsements?
Yes, lots of brands have approached me but I am choosy as I have to believe in what I endorse. I like to endorse brands that suit my personality. I know what I want and have lived my life exactly the way I wanted to, which is very different from an actor's life. So far I have been lucky with the brands I endorse because the companies have been very loyal to me. Head & Shoulders has been with me for seven years. I have been with Airtel ever since I joined the industry. I think once a brand gets identified with a person and that person's personality they stick to you and that's what has happened with me and my brands.
Give us an example of a brand that goes well with your personality.
Most brands I endorse go with my personality. But, Sony Vaio would be the example I would cite. Sony Vaio has done a lot for me as well. I can say that I am the only actress who is endorsing a brand like Sony internationally. The size-zero laptop which Sony launched after me became a topic of discussion nationally. Today, even the parliamentarians know what size zero is. All this helped the brand as well as me. It became a milestone in my career.
Three things you consider before endorsing a brand?
It should be something that I have not done before, it should match my personality. Lastly, of course, the money should be good.
What sort of brands would you exclude?
I will not endorse alcohol brands and anything that is non-vegetarian food brand since I am a vegetarian.
Do you know that according to TAM rating agency's chart on celebrity endorsements, you rank above India's cricket captain MS Dhoni. How does that feel?
It sounds good but, honestly, I cannot compare myself to a Sachin Tendulkar or Dhoni. They are much bigger celebrities than I am. I might be ranked with Dhoni but, sadly, I do not make as much money as Dhoni. I wish I could…(laughs)
Would you do TV shows if approached?
I am definitely open to TV. I have got lot of offers too but, right now, I am devoting myself to my films, leaving little time to do anything else. But, at some point, I will surely. I would do like to do a show, but the show has to be something that reflects me. It should have vibrancy and a fun element. It should be something more than hosting a sit-down talk show.
How do you chill out?
I watch movies on DVD but not my own films. I like to watch most kind of films. I like to meet my friends. I don't like late nights any more.
What films do you like watching?
I mostly watch mostly English movies. I like watching Meryl Streep's work like the Bridges of Madison County. I of course liked Godfather. I like both drama and romantic films.
How do you see your career right now?
I think I am at a stage where I have the best of the brands and best of the films. And this is clearly because of the way I carry myself and the fact that I give my 100 per cent to whatever I am doing. I want to keep entertaining my fans so that they never stop watching my films.