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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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Shilpa Shetty faces racism at Sydney airport

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Sydney,  Actress-entrepreneur Shilpa Shetty Kundra on Sunday alleged that she faced an unpleasant experience for being “brown” at the Sydney airport over her cabin luggage. Upset by an official who was curt, she says people’s tone must not change with preference to colour.

Shilpa, who dealt with racism in 2007 when she was a contestant on the fifth season of the British reality show “Celebrity Big Brother” — which she went on to win — faced the latest experience while boarding a plane for Melbourne from Sydney.

The 43-year-old took to Instagram to share the ordeal with a Qantas Airways lady staff member over a cabin luggage, which was deemed as ‘oversized’ at the check-in counter.

A furious Shilpa wrote: “At the check-in counter, met a grumpy Mel (that’s her name) who decided it was ‘okay’ to speak curtly to ‘us’ (brown people!) travelling together. I was flying business and had 2 bags (my allowance) and she insisted and decided my half empty duffel bag was oversized (to check-in), so she sent us to check it in at the other counter dealing with ‘oversized luggage’.

“There a polite lady (yes this one was) said, ‘This is not an oversized bag, please check this in manually if you can at another counter’ (all this happening while the counter is going to shut in five minutes).

“As the manual check-in wasn’t going through for five minutes (we tried), I went upto Mel and requested her to put the bag through as her colleague said it wasn’t an oversized bag. She refused again… Just being adamant especially when I told her this is causing a lot of inconvenience.


“We had no time to waste so we ran to the oversized baggage counter and requested her to put the bag through which she did after I told her that rude Mel had issues! To which another colleague joined in and reiterated my duffle wasn’t oversized and could’ve easily been checked in.”

The “Dhadkan” actress said her intention to narrate her experience is to make Qantas Airways take cognisance of the matter.

“Their staff must be taught to be helpful and tone can’t change with preference to colour. ‘We’ are not pushovers and they must know that being callous and rude will not be tolerated,” she added.

Along with the note, Shilpa also posted a picture of her bag and asked her followers “whether it is oversized or not”.

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Kriti Kharbanda shares screen space with Ranveer Singh

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Mumbai,  Actress Kriti Kharbanda, who was seen on the big screen in “Yamla Pagla Deewana : Phir Se”, will now share the frame with actor Ranveer Singh — but for an ad commercial.

Kriti will feature with Ranveer in an advertisement commercial for paint brand Kansai Nerolac. They shot for the commercial recently at a suburban studio.

“It’s an honour to be part of such a prestigious brand that has existed for decades now and considered as the leader in their segment. It was a great opportunity to share the screen space with Ranveer and I had a whale of a time shooting with him for the commercial,” Kriti said in a statement issued on her behalf.

The actress has earlier been seen in films like “Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana” and Guest in London”. Her next movie is Sajid Nadiadwala’s multi-starrer comedy franchise movie “Housefull 4”.

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Alisha Khan hopes to share frame with Mahesh Bhatt

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Mumbai,  Actress Alisha Khan, who is gearing up for the release of her forthcoming film “The Dark Side of Life: Mumbai City”, says she hopes to share screen space with filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt in her next project.

Alisha was interacting with media for promotion of her forthcoming Tariq Khan directorial “The Dark Side of Life: Mumbai City”, which will see Bhatt as an actor.

Asked about working with him, Alisha said: “I didn’t get the chance to work with him in this film, but I watched him closely during shooting and it was an amazing experience.

“I hope he will act again. I have signed an untitled film with Tariq (director) which will be written by Mahesh Bhatt. Since he acted in this one, I hope I get the chance to share screen space with him in the next project.”

On the film’s story, Alisha said it talks about reality.

“There are seven beautiful stories that you will be able to watch in the film. And the relatable emotional aspects are what you see everywhere in life and it will really touch your heart.”

Alisha was last seen on-screen in “Dare You” in 2016. Why the gap?

“‘Dare You’ was a completely different script. It was based on rape and I was playing the victim in it… It was also a very realistic film. I enjoy being part of realistic films.

“The gap between the two films was only because I was waiting for a film that will motivate me. I really believe in Tariq. He is a very talented man and he made all of us very comfortable while shooting for the film. It was a very homely feeling working with him.”

Alisha made her southern film debut with “Thakiduthatham” in 2016 and has also feature

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