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Unpretentious, honest Katrina takes control of her life again

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From the time last year, when Katrina Kaif celebrated her birthday, things couldn’t have become worse. Her love life was in a shambles with her relationship with Ranbir Kapoor coming to an end and her career, which had been put on hold for love, was going nowhere.

This year she may have a lot to smile about on her birthday on July 16.

What really gets her goat is the way her unparalleled success ratio is undermined by being dismissed as a matter of luck.

“It’s not as if I was just lucky to be in successful films. Of course, I’ve been lucky. But I’ve also worked very hard to get where I am. And please don’t forget, I chose those films that went on to be successful. So please grant me that bit of intelligence,” she had once told me, quickly adding: “And by the way, I was advised by friends not to do many of the films that eventually turned out to be hits.”

She admitted that she sought the help of Salman Khan initially to decide which films to do.

“Not just Salman, I also took the advice of people like Sajid Nadiadwala and David Dhawan. But finally the films I did were my call,” said Katrina who’s transparently honest and unpretentious but who often tries to underplay her intelligence simply to fit into the “Bharatiya Nari” mould.

“Oh, one has to work very hard. Men don’t like to be around women who can talk back. I like to make my point. But I don’t like to be aggressive and insistent in my attitude. At the same time you won’t see me knocking on producers’ doors at odd hours to get work. I never have. I never will,” she asserted.

Katrina is the happiest when the audience sees her as full-on desi heroine, often more so than the size-O heroines who seem to belong to another hemisphere. “It’s because I grew up in a large joint family filled with seven sisters and brothers. The atmosphere at home was very Indian. We were brought up on values that are very Indian. I guess that explains why I’m so Indian in my outlook, although I’m half-British and half-Indian by birth.”

Katrina’s struggle started in 2000 when she arrived in Mumbai. “I came to Mumbai to be a model. I had no inkling at that point of time that I was going to be an actress. I met photographer Farrokh Chothia who put me on to the right modeling agencies. Soon, modeling assignments began to trickle in. After her portfolio by glam-photographer Daboo Ratnani was circulated, Katrina landed her first film project.

“When I did ‘Boom’ in 2003, I was clueless about my intentions, camera angles, language, the works. I’d say my film career started with Ram Gopal Varma’s ‘Sarkar’ in 2005, followed by ‘Maine Pyar Kyun Kiya’. I was kinda getting bored with modelling and ramp walking. I sensed I had reached a saturation point there and needed to move on. Acting seemed the next natural step,” she says.

Katrina once described her early days in Mumbai as lonely.

“To begin with I lived in a two-bedroom flat near Rizvi College. The entire day I’d be visiting modeling agencies. In the evening, I’d return home to a lonely house. I’d miss my sisters’ presence around me. But I didn’t really had to struggle hard. And nothing untoward happened to me. No one made any sleazy suggestions,” Katrina recalled.

Her lack of knowledge of Hindi did not really bother her. “In any case, everyone in the modeling world spoke English. That wasn’t a problem, except when I had to haggle with auto-rickshaw walahs to avoid being cheated and to find addresses in Mumbai. That was tough.”

What she found awkward were the gawkers. “Because I came from London, I dressed in a certain casual way that was not quite acceptable in Mumbai. You know, stuff like shorts and tops, or just the kind of clothes that are considered trendy among college kids, but somewhat bold for working girls. People would simply stare. I had to change the way I dressed,” she said.

She hired a tutor to teach her Hindi and started taking Kathak lessons from a guru who also taught Priyanka Chopra.

About her embracing Salman Khan’s family wholeheartedly, Katrina says: “Salman guided me, helped me choose the right roles and was there for me constantly. With him and his family around, I never felt alone in Mumbai.”

She says she often ends up “sub-consciously looking for a father- figure” in her male company. She and her sisters grew up without a father in the house. “So I guess I do look for sensible, wise male company. I get bored with giddy-headed guys my own age,” she said.

Beyond that Katrina won’t talk about her personal life. “It’s very simple. I’m a friendly girl. I don’t like to offend anyone. But in pleasing others and not offending them, I won’t compromise with my own inbuilt sense of right and wrong. I know what I want in life. And I won’t take any short cuts.”

Now, of course, I haven’t spoken to Katrina for many years. But my respect for her remains. I wish her well, as always.

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Parineeti, Gul share holiday vibes

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New Delhi, Holiday is on the minds of stars like Parineeti Chopra, Gul Panag and Karan Tacker. They say they like to travel for new experiences and new adventures.

“I have two official destinations that I escape to all the time. If it is a quick holiday then it is always Goa because it is just a 40 minute flight up and down. So even if I have work, I can come back to Mumbai,” Karan said in a statement to IANS.

“There has been one time where I went to Goa, I came back to Mumbai, finished my meeting and went back to finish the rest of my holiday. My second go-to destination is London. I am absolutely in love with the city. It is a perfect blend and it makes me very happy. There is a sense of heritage to the entire city and I have too much love for that city. So, it is usually London, if not London it is Goa.”

Parineeti “absolutely loves Australia”.

“I would never miss out on an opportunity to visit the country. Australia’s New South Wales is a world full of experiences with an adventure at every corner. But if there is one experience that has stayed with me, it is the climb to the top of Sydney Harbour Bridge.

“It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and would suggest everyone to try this. When you reach the top you can see the beautiful Harbour City in full swing and it’s absolutely mesmerising,” said the “Ishaqzaade” star.

Couple Keith Sequeira and Rochelle Rao say they “love travelling to tropical beach paradises like Bali”.

“We love the warm sun-kissed beaches and the swimming/snorkelling in the inviting sea water. It’s great to relax and unwind.” Actor Dino Morea loves “the sea, the sand, the sun and the food”.

“So, for me to just relax, unwind, swim in that beautiful salt water in Goa would be it. I love travelling so seeing and discovering new places is something high on my agenda so if I haven’t been to certain country or certain city of certain town, I try to put that on my bucket list, go somewhere new and just explore.”

Gul Panag is really looking forward to going to Moscow. “I can never get enough of it! Always something new to take in,” she said.

Celebrity chef Kunal Kapur said: “As a chef, the food and wine of Australia is a major attraction for me. I love Australia for its fresh produce especially seafood.

“While in Australia, a visit to the beautiful vineyards is a must for every traveller. The country offers such a myriad of vegetables and meats and different flavours; I have thoroughly enjoyed strolling through the farmers’ markets and discovering their rich produce as well as exploring lesser-known cafes and eateries across different parts of the country.

“The food and wine of the country have a world full of options to present for food enthusiasts.”

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Actors not allowed to have fears: Kajol

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New Delhi,  Actress Kajol says there is no place for fears in her profession as people expect them to be perfect all the time.

“I feel that in this profession and in this field, we are not allowed to have fears of any sort. We are supposed to kind of just go out there be perfect, incredible, amazing and not have any faults. We are supposed to be perfect all the time,” Kajol told IANS in a recorded response.

“I am very clear on the fact that we all are imperfect. Not only me, we all are imperfect and we all are humans and we have a right to be human as much we can.”

The actress says she has started embracing her fears.

“I have a lot of doubts… ‘Can I do this or not, should I do this or should I not?’ Especially, when the stage is big and many people are looking at you, many people are judging you and there is so much of critic happening.

“So, I think yes, you need to have faith in them on a daily basis. You have to calm them down and work through them.”

Kajol, daughter of actress Tanuja, made her Hindi film debut with Rahul Rawail’s “Bekhudi” in 1992, and was known as the most natural actress of the 1990s. She was always clear what type of roles she wanted to do, the genres she wanted to explore and she was confident about taking a break to enjoy family time.

She went on to do projects like “Yeh Dillagi”, “Karan Arjun”, “Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge”, “Bambai Ka Babu”, “Gupt: The Hidden Truth”, “Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya”, “Ishq”, “Dushman”, “Hum Aapke Dil Mein Rehte Hain”, “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai”, “Pyaar To Hona Hi Tha”, “Raju Chacha” and “Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham…” — some bombed and some worked their magic at the box office.

Kajol dubbed for the Hindi version of Disney.Pixar’s “Incredibles 2”. She lent her voice to the character of Helen Parr, Elastigirl.

What next?

“I would like to surprise myself. Currently, I am just challenging myself to go through the promotion of ‘Eela’.”

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Big B decodes fashion trends

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Mumbai, Megastar Amitabh Bachchan says he either donates his old clothes to the needy or keeps them for himself as he believes fashion has a cyclical nature.

“It took time for the human to realise that clothing could be a work of art. It now covers most of our clothing, more with art than practicality… When design searches, art takes the shape of changed design – where to place that obscure artwork, the painting of objects and other material, the use of metallic contents and coloured and semi precious stones on them… the footwear too… and in time, they all repeat themselves,” Big B wrote on his blog.

He added: “I do not destroy old clothing. I give them away to the needy, or keep some for myself for they in turn shall be the fashion within years… It is the narrow drain pipe trousers today, it will become the flared wide bottomed soon. Some already are… glory be, for the purchase of the new shall be limited, or none at all.’

Pankaj deserved National Award for ‘Ek Doctor Ki Maut’: ShabanaActress Shabana Azmi says her “Ek Doctor Ki Maut” co-actor Pankaj Kapur deserved to win a National Award for his performance.

“Pankaj Kapur should have won the National Award for ‘Ek Doctor Ki Maut’. I loved working in the film directed by Tapan Sinha,” Shabana tweeted on Sunday.

The 1990-released film, which touched upon the themes of ostracism and bureaucratic negligence, features Pankaj as a doctor who discovers a vaccine for leprosy but others take the credit for it. Shabana plays his wife in the movie.

Kirron loves how Anupam can laugh at himself.Actress-politician Kirron Kher finds it endearing that her actor-husband has the ability to see the lighter side of life. “What I love about Anupam is his great sense of humour. And his ability to laugh at himself,” Kirron tweeted.

She wrote this in reaction to Anupam’s tweet on how losing almost 130,000 followers left him with panic, memory loss, disbelief, anxiety and (he) questioned his eyesight.

“Even though I was explained patiently that it is part of cleaning up policy. But I felt like they expelled me from their wealth,” he had tweeted on Saturday.

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