It takes years of struggle for girls to enter the industry and then make it big in the big bad world of Bollywood. Such was the case of Kriti Kharbanda but not for too long. She made her Bollywood debut in Vikram Bhatt’s ‘Raaz Reloaded’ after becoming a star in Tollywood. Bollywood then awaited for her with open arms where she also delivered a note worthy performance in ‘Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana’ alongside Rajkummar Rao. She’s entering the wedding film space again with Pulkit Samrat as her hero this time in ‘Veere Ki Wedding’ where she plays Geet.
We sat down to chat with the girl who’s racing her way to the top league, Kriti & here’s what she revealed:
Q. Tell us something about your character Geet from ‘Veerey Ki Wedding’.
Kriti Kharbanda: Geet is a very flawed character. She has a lot of problems but is still adorable. She has an attitude, she’s short tempered, she irritates and is arrogant but loving at the same time and demanding. She puts a lot of pressure on people and in that way she’s a child from within. That’s what would make her relatable.
Q. You’ve played characters who have had their own voice and strengths, especially in the last two films ‘Shaadi Moin Zaroor Sana’ and ‘Veerey Ki Wedding’. How similar were they to perform?
Kriti Kharbanda: I can relate to both the characters. I relate to Aarti because I am stubborn and a realist at the same time. She knew she was made for more and so do I. I believe that I can do hardwork and get where I want to. Geet as well I fighting for her father. Geet and Veer (played by Pulkit Samrat) are actually fighting for each other and it’s very selfless. It’s something very pure yet not something that’s perfect. They have their individual issues. Sometimes some couples find a reason to fight in order to communicate with each other, this is one equation that they have.
Q. You’ve turned a bride for lot of your films. Do you remember the count?
Kriti Kharbanda: I have become a bride 8 times for my films. A comedy film can’t be judged. I just go with my gut feeling while choosing to do a role.
Q. Being a superstar down South and making films in Bollywood, how have things changed?
Kriti Kharbanda: The offers have increased but I’ve become very strict with myself. I’m making sure I don’t do a film just for the heck of it. I’ve made a promise to do films I believe in. I’ve become finicky. As an actor within 3 days or a week of shoot you know where the film is heading. Sometimes bad films do well. I had a gut feeling about 2-3 films being good but they didn’t work at the box office. The idea is to keep your gut feeling as positive as possible.
Q. The films you’re doing may not be as big. Do you aspire to do the big budget films and as an actor what sacrifices are you ready to make?
Kriti Kharbanda: I would love to be in the bigger league. And for that I’m doing justice to my job by giving my 100%. One can’t extract a performance out of me, it is I who can make myself better and express. When I did the OPPO short film with Mohit Suri, I gave my 100% and let people take notice. Even though it’s a short film I did the best I could and I got appreciation for that. If I have to go to the gym to attain a certain body or wear certain kind of clothes to suit the character, like Aarti’s shalwar kameez (in ‘Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana’) or a character in bikini, I would definitely do it. As an actor, you should be prepared and the director has to confident enough to convince the actor that they can do it. I want directors to have faith in me.
Q. How have you been able to relate with your character Geet?
Kriti Kharbanda: The character doesn’t think before speaking. I relate to her in that way. She’s bubbly and straight forward. She likes to own the people around her. When her father doesn’t approve of Veer she gets furious towards him saying how can he reject her choice. She’s the only child and a spoilt brat whose parents don’t take offence of her actions.
Q. Tell us something about ‘Yamla Pagla Deewana 3’. How was it working with the legendary Dharmendra?
Kriti Kharbanda: I’m the 3 in ‘Yamla Pagla Deewana 3’. I’m paired with Bobby Deol. I never dreamt of working Dharmendra Sir. He has been so romantic in his films. If you want to take a lesson or two on confidence, you have to meet Dharmendra Sir. He’s the age of 82 and so respectful towards his fans. There were a hundred people who would gather the shoot of the film. He would take a picture with each one of them. He would never sit and click a picture. He would always stand and say they’ve come for me.
Q. Is there anything that you’ve learnt shooting with the Man himself?
Kriti Kharbanda: He’s taught me one thing producers often think they keep paying you for being their actor but it’s the audiences who pay for the ticket of your movie.
Q. How was it working with Sunny Deol and what’s the vibe with ‘The Deols’?
Kriti Kharbanda: I was very scared of him initially. But now I get along with him pretty well. Sunny Sir used to pull my leg, there were two scenes which were meant to be serious but we would start cracking up remembering the pranks and blame each other for bursting out into laughter. He’s a buddy to me now. He’s very chilled out. He has value for his work. He told me there was a time when he took his work for granted, but now he respects his craft a lot. He loves surrounding himself with people. When the sons and father sit together, the Deols let their father finish his shoot first to that he’s relaxed. They are fabulous, there’s a reason why they are such big superstars.
Q. What are your upcoming projects?
Kriti Kharbanda: I’ve finished Yamla Pagla Deewana 3 and the cameo shoot for Karwan.
Q. How is Tollywood different from Bollywood?
Kriti Kharbanda: There’s almost a 12 hour shift in both Tollywood and Bollywood. Most of the times this is followed but sometimes, there’s a date issue or on set issues for which we have to extend our time.
Q. When a film is made, there are a lot of aspects and people employed. Akshay Kumar is known for shooting early mornings and on schedule. What’s your take on that?
Kriti Kharbanda: Akshay Kumar is a very efficient actor. He starts early and shoots what he’s required to, on time. He has a discipline to shoot a film in a particular manner.
With every film the number of homes that are fed is unbelievable. The audience may see the film for those 2 hours of entertainment but the work that goes behind is unreal. I feel privileged to be doing that through a film.
Q. What is your most fond Holi memory?
Kriti Kharbanda: My unforgettable memory of Holi is when I was fed bhaang without knowing by my cousins. I was only 12 then. My parents thought I was sick. I was 13, when I splashed water balloons from the fourth floor at the people stopping by the main signal and he had gotten really angry. I don’t like going to a festival celebration just for showing my face. I would rather want to enjoy it to the fullest with my loved ones.
Q. When did you first know you wanted to become an actress?
Kriti Kharbanda: I must have been 2 when my mom knew I was a drama queen and could be an actress. My school mates used to tell me I would be a heroine of Ekta Kapoor’s serials one day. I had a dramatic life. I remember watching Aamir (Khan) Sir and Manisha (Koirala) Ma’am’s ‘Mann’, I had a crush on this boy to whom I had said this dialogue which was intense and fought with him just to use the dialogue.
Q. This International Women’s Day do you have any message for the women out there?
Kriti Kharbanda: Mothers ask their daughters to take care of themselves, teach them about the good touch and the bad touch, and ask the boys to behave themselves. The only think I would like to tell them is that when your daughter goes to her husband’s home after marriage, you may not see the treatment to your daughter being given in an equivalent manner. So treat your daughter-in-laws as your true faughters as well. Mould the male child in being the right man. A woman can teach a lot to the society.
Q. What do you think is the secret to your success in the entertainment industry?
Kriti Kharbanda: I want to give the credit of having made it so far to ‘Me’. I want to be a great example. I have not given up. My parents have been very supportive. My grandmother has always aspired to be an actress. She’s so happy for me.
Q. Which filmmakers would you want to work with?
Kriti Kharbanda: Imtiaz Ali for being a great story teller, Sriram Raghavan for making a film like ‘Ek Haseena Thi’ and would want to do Urmila’s role, Karan Johar for making ‘Student Of The Year’ where he launched three new faces and made them look like stars and Sanjay Leela Bhansali for a film like ‘Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam’.
Q. You say you’re smart. In what way do you think?
Kriti Kharbanda: I’m smart because I’ve lasted so long.
Q. Which Bollywood actor are you absolutely in love with?
Kriti Kharbanda: I love Saif Ali Khan. He’s a true Nawab. I dated a boy because he looked like Saif. I’m very filmy that way. I bake cakes on Valentines and write love letters.
Q. What genre of films would you like to work in?
Kriti Kharbanda: I love watching romantic films and I’m waiting to do a full on romantic film. I’m Geet in real life.