Hollywood heart-throb Gerard Butler is a certified charmer and Bollywood siren, Kajol speaks her mind. Between them they could set any red carpet on fire. So imagine the scenario when their worlds met.
On Wednesday, Dubai was treated to that explosive collision.
Flown in for the opening of the Swiss watch store Roger Dubuis in Dubai, the two made a point of charming their way into our hearts.
While the ‘300’ hero struck mock macho poses, Kajol heartily laughed at his antics.
Clearly, they found a fan in each other as Kajol labelled him “a really funny guy”, while Butler described her as a “lovely lady”. Unlike red carpet roll-calls with stiff stars, these two were firing on all cylinders.
Remind Butler about his 43rd birthday on November 13 and he’s quick with his comeback.
“You mean 27,” he retorts.
But Hollywood’s notorious ladies’ man doesn’t dwell on his advancing age for long as he lets us in on his birthday plans. Like Naomi Campbell, India is on his radar.
“I am very disorganised. So at the last minute here in Dubai, I decided I wanted to go to India for my birthday. But I went to the embassy here today [Wednesday]. They were excited to see me, but they said ‘no’ and that it would take seven days. So this year, I will go to Scotland and spend time with my family,” said Butler as the press pit filled with a collective “aaww”.
Professionalism and distance from the subject of interview were clearly shown the door as Butler worked his way around the fourth estate. Displaying almost child-like excitement about being chosen by Roger Dubuis, he said the watch brand stood for innovation and creativity.
“They said: we want a man of action, a risk-taker. So it’s honourable to think that they chose me.” Adding to his charm was his endearing quality of downplaying his star status.
“I don’t take fame seriously. Acting is just like any other job … It’s about perception really. I live a great life. My job is fun because my dream was to be an actor and it’s still my dream. I do action movies, historical films, adventures. I am excited about my life right now,” said Butler.
However, the star who has given us hits including PS I Love You and 300, has had a troubled year. Despite a near-fatal surfing accident while shooting for Chasing Mavericks and his subsequent alleged painkiller addiction, he’s still going strong.
“When I was underwater, I kept thinking why are you doing this? … Overall, it has given me so much joy,” said Butler. While he was at it, he also shot down rumours of his rock star debut. The grapevine has it that Butler sought the guidance of Shock rocker Marilyn Manson, Tenacious D’s Jack Black and Johnny Depp in his quest as a musician.
“It is not true. I have never met Marilyn Manson or Johnny Depp. I love how these stories come out. I am not starting a band, but who knows one day I may,” he said.
His never-say-never stand applies to Bollywood films too.
“I am open to anything new,” said Butler. Later in the night, he proved it by attempting a Bollywood style jig.
“Come on, Shah Rukh [Khan] taught me a few moves at 5am some years ago. But I don’t remember it,” said Butler as he aped the famous screwing-the-lightbulb move.
Always game for quirky questions, tabloid! asked him if an incident shown in his recent razor advertisement (it showed Butler on the red carpet and a journalist stopping midway to stroke his clean-shaven chin) had occurred in real life, he quipped: “Nobody has done that. You wanted to be the first one right?” He won me over with that.
Actress Kajol wasn’t about to be left behind on the charisma front. When tabloid! went for the jugular and asked her whether she would be rooting for her husband Ajay Devgn or her BFF Shah Rukh Khan’s Jab Tak Hai Jaan this Diwali, her verdict was swift.
“I am rooting for Son of Sardaar, which is my favourite. It is my home production,” said Kajol defiantly.
The mother of all movie clashes will occur on November 13 as Devgn and Khan’s films are released on the same day. Though she was in a tough spot, she made her allegiance clear when she said her favourite co-star was Devgn. However, her favourite film was Kuch Kuch Hota Hai starring Khan.
“I married him, thank you very much. As far as my movies are concerned, I love Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. Even today, I love watching it even if it comes on TV,” said Kajol.
Confident in her own skin, she would never turn back time and reverse her celebrated past. This award-winning actress courted Bollywood on her own terms. Despite being at her career peak in 2001, she married Devgn and took a five-year break from films.
“I don’t harbour any regrets … For instance, I wouldn’t want to be 16 again. Don’t get me wrong, I loved being 16. But I love the way I am today,” said Kajol, who was last seen in a song cameo in Student of the Year. In 2010, she acted in biggies such as My Name is Khan and We Are Family.
“I am very picky. But that’s who I am.”
Ironically, Kajol who was sporting an elegant white Roger Dubius watch isn’t great with time management.
“I don’t manage my time too well. I tend to cook too many things at one time,” said Kajol.
However, Kajol is one of the few actors who continues to command considerable clout in Bollywood despite maintaining a low profile. She’s rarely seen at parties and is known to portray strong roles. The good Indian girl in Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, the psychopath in thriller Gupt and the helpless divorced wife in We Are Family are some of her acclaimed roles.
She may command a strong fan following even today, but her daughter Nyasa is not too impressed.
“My daughter doesn’t like to watch me in films because she feels I do movies in which I keep crying. Till I do films like Golmaal [comedy] — like her papa does — she will not watch my films.”