MUMBAI— She says she relates to both her characters in the last two Hindi films she has done – “Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana,” her last release in November and “Veerey Ki Wedding,” which releases on Mar. 2 on Holi this year.
Voluble, extroverted and delightfully crazy, Kriti Kharbanda declares, “Geet in “Veerey…” is lovable, flawed, has an attitude and is almost arrogant. She is loving, demanding, puts pressure on those dear to her, but she is just being genuine, a child who has not matured,” she says and laughs. “I gave her too much of me. Geet is just like me. She talks without thinking, and she is possessive and crazy because she is the only child. Her general stand is, ‘How can you forbid me?’”
And like Aarti in “Shaadi…,” Kharbanda also admits that she is “stubborn, a realist, and I believe I am made for better and bigger things, and that hard work will get me where I want.”
For those who came in late, Kharbanda is now in the 10th year of her career, with 26 films to her credit, including 10 in Kannada. Her Hindi innings began only with the 2016 “Raaz Reboot,” followed by the 2017 “Guest Iin London” and her first success, “Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana,” which also established her here as an actress of substance. “With 100 screens added in week three, I knew that I had got my first hit in Hindi!” she trilled when India-West met her at the Hotel Sun’N’Sand.
Excerpts from an interview:
Q: The trailer shows you and Pulkit Samrat, your hero, always fighting with each other in “Veerey Ki Wedding?”
A: Actually, we are fighting for one another, and not for ourselves. Now that is selfless and pure love. As a pair, we are far from perfect and have our problems, but we are still in love. When a couple is having a row, you know how it is, they pick up a fight so that baat to ho jaayegi (they will at least get to talk to each other)!
Q: Has there been a change in your career after “Shaadi…?”
A: The offers have increased, I won’t lie. But I have now become choosy, strict with myself. I will NOT do a film now just for the heck of it or for the money. I have become finicky. “Shaadi…” has made me greedy!
Q: Care to tell us the films you have done for the heck of it?
A: No! I am not telling you! And how would you know I did not do “Shaadi…” also for the heck of it? Tell me!
Q: How do you choose movies otherwise?
A: Gut feeling, but three or four days into a film, you come to know how good or bad it is! But again, sometimes stupid films work and sometimes, good films do not. And again bad films flop and good films do well.
Q: Today, the A-list heroes are working with a lot of newcomers. Do you see yourself getting into that league?
A: Of course, I do. The only aspect in my hands is to give 100 percent to whatever opportunities I get. I recently did an OPPO commercial with Mohit Suri, and after that, a better league of people know me. So I would never disregard an ad film, a short or a music video! Anything can get you up there. I want to have directors be able to see me in different characters and become comfortable with the fact that I can be given challenging roles.
Q: Both your recent films are on weddings. What is your take on them?
A: Oh, I tend to judge them first and foremost by the ‘khaana’ (food)! But I detest people who give Rs. 2100 as a gift, ask 21,000 questions and still run down the arrangements. And I hate waking up at the unearthly hour of 7 a.m. – who wakes up so early, yaar? – and then share three bathrooms with 30 people and start doing make-up to look good in photographs! Come on; the wedding’s going to be late a night anyway!
Q: What do you have to say about the confusion between “Veerey Ki Wedding” and Sonam Kapoor’s “Veerey Di Wedding?”
A: Let me borrow Pulkit’s lines! We were the last on board, and why should there be confusion when we are not coming on the same day? There, make sure you put this quote in MY name! (Laughs)
Q: You are doing the third film in the “Yamla Pagla Deewana” franchise.
A: Yes!!! I am ‘3’ in “Yamla Pagla Deewana 3” with the three Deols. And I was angry when I signed the film because I thought, “S**t, yaar! I am not cast with Dharam-Ji!” He’s so-o-o-o-o handsome!
Q: You must be having a song with them.
A: I have! (Laughs triumphantly) But I am also angry because they have another song without me!
Q: Who dances best among Dharmendra, Sunny Deol, and Bobby Deol?
A: Dharam Uncle of course! (Laughs) That’s a safe answer! Sunny and Bobby would agree!
Q: And how are they as people?
A: Fabulous! Bobby’s my actual co-star, and he’s so chilled-out and like a buddy. He values his work a lot now and speaks of the time he did not do so. Initially, I was scared of Sunny paaji, but we broke the ice fast, and he keeps pulling my leg all the time. He thinks I am crazy because I insisted that he repeat his “Dhai kilo ka haath” line only for me. Dharam-paaji even now respects his fans, poses with each one of over hundreds who came to watch our shoot, and told me that stars are NOTHING without these people.
Q: What other Hindi film are you doing?
A: I have already completed a cameo for Ronnie Screwvala’s “Karvaan.” But I have two Kannada films on hand.
Q: Your film releases on Holi. Anything you would like to share about the festival?
A: Only that at the age of 12, a cousin mistakenly fed me ‘bhang’ thinking it was milk and no one could understand why I was feeling so giddy!
Q: You did not really plan to be an actress.
A: Yes, but from the age of 2, everyone at home was convinced I would be one! I was a drama queen in real life, and mom felt that I would be Ekta Kapoor’s biggest heroine. I was the sort who could go to my dad, have tears in my eyes and ask him, “Aapse mujhe se pyar bilkul nahin karte, papa (You don’t love me at all, dad)!” and he would be like, where did I come from?
But after I became an actress, I realized that my grandmother always wanted to be one, and she actually asked me to get a small role for her!