Katrina Kaif Talks Learning Skills Like Belly Dancing and Guns for Movies

Kumoud of Bharat was a tough character to play because it spans over 40 years and you watch her go from her 20s to her 60s which I haven’t done earlier except for a few scenes in
Baar Baar Dekho. In this film, I describe the life of this woman and her journey with the character of Salman (Khan)
Bharat. The preparation was different for each decade depending on the era, for example in the 1970s, when Kumud is a fiery young woman, it was about finding the tone and giving the right dialogue. But as I got older, it was important to understand her state of mind in each phase, identify with her primary thoughts and fears, and align with her emotional chart, as this would help shape my body language.

We shot the film in chapters and I did a lot of workshops to understand Kumud and his ways. She speaks ‘
except‘ Hindi and I wanted to be fluent and comfortable with the language, so I rehearsed my dialogue with experts.

For
Zeroit’s Babita Kumari also I had several discussions with Aanand sir (producer-director Aanand L Rai) and a few others to “feel” his emotions. Analyzing his fears sometimes brought me to tears during my interactions with Shah Rukh (co-star Shah Rukh Khan). Initially, Aanand sir wanted Babita to be like the actresses in our industry, but later she turned out to be diametrically opposed, a self-destructive character, and I shut myself away from the world because the set was not a happy place to beat.

Katrina Kaif in Tees Maar Khan’s “Sheila Ki Jawani” to Special Agent Zoya in the Tiger Franchise

Physical preparation is easy for me because it is a question of discipline and execution. Thus, for the Tiger franchise (
Tiger Ek Tha and
Tiger Zinda Hai), in which I play ISI agent Zoya, it was about strength and flexibility training for a number of hours and repeating the process until I perfected the action . It was a mathematical process that, if done right, would give you the desired result.

I wanted longer reps to
Tiger Zinda Hame, but Ali (Abbas Zafar, director) wanted to film my solo action scene on a pre-determined date. I trained with a team of professionals from the West. They taught me how to lock a gun, load it and fire it. I also trained as a sniper. Agents also walk in a certain way and have a way of communicating messages and issuing commands – it was all part of this workshop.

For Farah Khanit’s
Maar Khan T-ShirtsI took belly dancing lessons for ”
Sheila Ki Jawani”. The training improved my core strength. I repeated the movements for about two hours a day, then separately with the belly dancers. We stood up, rolled up our sleeves, learned and practiced continuously and rigorously to control the core muscles, because that’s what belly dancing is all about. Later I used this trick in other movies. We shot the song in just two and a half days.

Compared to ”
Sheila Ki Jawaani”, “
Chikni Chameli” in
Agneepath was much more difficult. It was shot in nine days, I had to dance on gravel and sand, and in the end my bare feet were bleeding. In the evening, when my energy waned, I cheered on the background dancers to get me going. There’s so much energy in the song, and that’s the emotion you see on screen.

As told to Himesh Mankad

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