Notoriously private Bollywood star Katrina Kaif doesn’t come across as someone who weeps easily.
But she claims that her latest romance, Baar Baar Dekho, out in the UAE this Thursday, made her do just that.
“There has been just [two times] when I heard a narration for a film and cried — once for a film that never got made, and the second time for this. It has hit me very deeply and personally, which is when I knew I wanted to be a part of it,” said Kaif over email.
Directed and written by Nitya Mehra, the trailer shows two supremely gorgeous actors, Sidharth Malhotra and Kaif, navigating the treacherous terrain of love. Their relationship is complicated.
“It follows the story of Jai’s character and gives him a foresight of what his life would be like if he doesn’t change a few things, and then life gives him a chance to do it all again,” said Kaif.
In the teasers, Jai appears to be commitment-shy and miserable. Kaif plays a woman who wants the whole package — the big fat Indian wedding, the flowers, the bridal skirts, the fancy honeymoon — the works.
“There are many things on a personal level where I connect to the character — perseverance, and the fact that she is very emotionally affected by things as well. She wears her heart on her sleeve and is very open and upfront,” said Kaif of her role. As soon as her email responses came through, this journalist also got a chance to speak to the handsome pair over the phone.
So does her latest romance play up to the stereotype that women are excessively needy in relationships?
“This movie doesn’t play into any stereotype [attached to women]. It is a relevant portrayal of how relationships play out today. It is shot in an extremely novel way too. Most people are now all about their careers and what they can do for themselves. It is almost old-fashioned now to prioritise relationships,” said Kaif over the phone.
Despite the world moving towards finding soulmates on dating apps, Kaif believes that everyone out there is ultimately looking for love and companionship. “The moments that you share with someone special always stick out in your life … Baar Baar Dekho touches upon all those aspects and therefore becomes relevant,” said Kaif.
In real life, the Fitoor star is single again after her high-profile break-up with actor Ranbir Kapoor. Of late, her personal life has eaten up more print space than her fluctuating acting career. Fitoor, inspired by Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, flopped and Baar Baar Dekho could be a game-changer for Kaif. But she hasn’t lost hope and believes that the trailer for her “new-age love story” has the ability to connect.
“The audience [is] now very intelligent, and they sense if there is something in the story that connects with them. In my opinion, it has a very good script and a very beautiful story,” said Kaif.
Her co-star Malhotra is pragmatic about the hard work involved in maintaining relationships.
“The film talks about the youth today and their priorities — whether they want to commit themselves to a partner or whether they want to be extremely ambitious to go further and further in their career. The film beautifully addresses modern-day relationships and the hard decisions one has to make. We have portrayed the story of a man’s journey in life and what he gets to see in the future of his love story, what he gets to learn from that, and what he gets to change from that,” said Malhotra.
He added that it will be an emotionally charged film that will resonate with all those going through the same phase.
“I think it is very apt to today’s generation and I myself am going through that,” said Malhotra, who is rumoured to be dating actress Alia Bhatt.
“And, it is a phase every guy goes through at some point in their lives because they want to concentrate on their work and achieve only professional goals. But eventually, people settle. Nowadays when you talk about marriage, you talk about companionship with your partner. We explore that in our film,” said Malhotra.
It’s the first time that Malhotra and Kaif are working together in a Bollywood film. Malhotra, who made his debut with Student of the Year, claims he only met his co-star on social occasions. But it was a series of workshops, organised by director Mehra, that helped them play lovers convincingly on the big screen.
“The more time we spent, the more we got comfortable with each other. On the first day, we had to sit across each other and just stare into each other’s eyes for the longest time,” said Malhotra.
The strategy of looking deep into your colleague’s eyes seems to have worked. They are right at home squabbling and acting cute with each other. But Kaif credits Malhotra’s off-screen personality for that. Plus, her brainstorming with her director over Diya’s character helped.
“Nitya and I discussed Diya a lot … Also, Sidharth is a great guy to work with as he is a very easy-going person. We worked together as a team. I always believe that chemistry has to be there in the script first to be portrayed by two actors. Since we got along well with each other, of course, it helped because there was a vibe between both of us,” said Kaif.
Both insist that Baar Baar Dekho isn’t a time-travel film.
“It’s a fictitious love story done in a very real way. The film does not have any sci-fi elements or time travel technology,” said Malhotra. While the film, co-produced by Farhan Akhtar, doesn’t require you to suspend belief, what’s unbelievable are their fit bodies.
“There was a portion of the film where Nitya wanted a different look for me. You will come to know the reason when you see the film and those scenes required me to get fit. I had to give up a lot of nice things in life like water, salt and carbs,” said Kaif.
“Katrina doesn’t take anything for granted, including her fitness regime. We often bump into each other in the gym, and she puts in equal number of hours for her workout and her rehearsals,” said Malhotra.
While her regime sounds brutal, Kaif goes soft when you ask her about what she would change about her past if she could back in time.
“I would stress and worry less. I have had some beautiful, amazing moments in my life and some of them were overshadowed by too much stress. Now, I would probably stay in the present and not worry,” said Kaif.
Life lessons from Sidharth Malhotra:
“If I could back in time, I would go back to school. I am from a middle-class family and school grades were the most important for my parents. I would go back and improve it so that they are more relaxed about it,” said Malhotra.
“Tinder [a popular dating app] is a recent phenomenon. Back home [In India], we are still not that active on social media. We have a different ethos and we have different kind of love stories,” said Malhotra.
Don’t miss it!
Baar Baar Dekho is out in UAE cinemas on September 8.