By Subhash K Jha
BOLLYWOOD: Watch her dance movements in Dhoom 3. The girl doesn’t dance. She floats. And you wonder, where did that come from!
Kuch to hai. LK that’s my name for Lucky Katrina is exempted from the rigours of recession and no-show.
While other much-hyped actresses are flying Kites and desperately calling Karthik, Katrina races on with hit after hit. She is the Hema Malini of the current generation. Call her Lady Luck.
Katrina continues to rock the box-office as though there’s no tomorrow. Just compare her box-office performance with all her contemporaries without naming them (I don’t want the temperamental divas coming down me like a ton of bricks) and you’ll see what I mean. Whatever this sparkling girl touches turns into gold.
Even the industry’s current blue-eyed boy Ranbir Kapoor had his first big hit with Katrina. His second big hit was again with her. Coincidence? Then how about this? Since Dhoom John Abraham’s only big hit besides Dostana, is with Katrina.
Neil Nitin Mukesh’s only hit so far also co-stars, surprise surprise, LK. And guess what? Saif Ali Khan has decided to do a love story with his old pal Kunal Kohli, and he suggested Lucky Katrina’s name even though there’s no love lost between his lady love the stunner Kareena and the box-office-stunner Katrina.
Katrina reminds me of Hema Malini. There was a time when anything she touched turned into gold. Fading superstars with falling fortunes and receding hairlines pleaded to get lucky Malini into their projects. Though she had less than cordial experiences with Manoj Kumar and Rajesh Khanna in her earlier films, she agreed to star in their purported comeback films Premnagar and Sanyasi , respectively.
I’d like to think the films clicked because of Hema Malini’s positive attitude to life. She never holds grudges, and neither does Katrina.
While Hema is far more blunt in her words and gestures (she had noisily left the premiere of Sanjay Bhansali’s Devdas at the glorious climax with daughter Esha, simply because they needed to find their car), Katrina is equally fearless about being truthful.
She’s far more of a go-getter than Hema, though. I remember the first time Katrina ever spoke to me was when she called to introduce herself and say hello…just like that some years ago. It took a while for us to get comfortable with one another mainly because I don’t see eye to eye with the guy she was seeing.
I’d hear stories of her dignified defiance against Salman Khan’s autocratic ways even before I got to know her. Here’s a classic Katrina story from her Salman days. Salman was one day sitting with a very close director-friend when she sauntered into the room in a pair of jeans and a skimpy top announcing that she was going out. Salman mildly objected to the top. Katrina went inside and came out wearing a skimpier top.
Kuch bhi bolo, Salman did a lot for this girl. He took her to meet his pal Sanjay Leela Bhansali and asked him to cast her as Mastani in the proposed costume drama Bajirao Mastani. He made sure she remained cocooned from the murky side of showbiz.
But she never allowed him to dominate her life. I remember the first time I met Salman he was very keen that I meet his new lady-love. He kept calling her asking her to join us.
Katrina follows her heart. But she never forgets to let her practical side get a head start. When you meet her she appears to be aloof, almost withdrawn. Then you realize, the vulnerable do need to fortify themselves from the strong winds that threaten to rain on and destroy their paradise.
Hema Malini is much stronger. She can take the lashing winds on her chin. Last week she was very badly treated by the political party she is affiliated to. Did she sit down to cry over the spilt milk? Nope. She took immediate steps to register her protest. She cancelled her trip to Patna for a political rally.
It also meant that she had to cancel the dinner at my place. We were all disappointed, not because we are star-stuck (I am, my family is not) but because having the Dream Girl home was like a dream.I remember when I met her for the first time I couldn’t take my eyes off her. Later I realized she has the same effect on all normal person of any age or gender.
No. Katrina doesn’t have the enchanting aura of Hema. But they’re both blessed with an inner beauty that manifests itself outward in their day-to-day conduct. And they carry themselves with great dignity and self regard. You won’t find the lechers and louts of the film industry messing about with either Hema or Katrina. And it’s not because Dharmendra and Salman are hovering around protectively. It’s that don’t-mess-with-me attitude which separated a Raakhee Gulzar from a Moushumi Chatterjee,
In the short time that I’ve known Katrina, I’ve realized that the strong streak of success that has come to her is because she deserves it. She is a caring gentle soul. She’s also a lonely soul. I’ve caught Hema Malini and Katrina in their most depressed moments when all they want is a strong guy to go home to.
Not everyone is as lucky as Bipasha, Kareena and Aishwarya. Some of the most beautiful women in the world are the loneliest. In fact, the ore the beautiful, the lonelier. Check the lambi luscious list from Madhubala and Meena Kumari to Asha Parekh, Sushmita Sen and Katrina. They’re all mistresses of solitude.
Ranbir thinks it’s insulting to call LK a ‘Luck Mascot’. I think it’s a great compliment in today’s day and age when success generates solitude. Katrina is lucky for everyone around her. But is she lucky for herself? That we’ll only know when she hits the magical 40. If then there’s a guy next to at her 40th birthday party, then baby it’s truly party-time for Katrina.
Meanwhile, there’s another blockbuster of hers around the corner.
Dhoom machale, girl.