Article Hindi

Bharat is our best film together, says Katrina Kaif of director Ali Abbas Zafar


The actress spoke about her decade-long working relationship with Ali Abbas Zafar during a recent media interaction.

Sonal Pandya

Katrina Kaif is working with writer-director Ali Abbas Zafar for the third time after Mere Brother Ki Dulhan (2011) and Tiger Zinda Hai (2017). The actress came on board Zafar’s Bharat (2019) only after Priyanka Chopra walked out of the project on account of her wedding with Nick Jonas.

Katrina Kaif shares an easy working relationship with the director now, but that wasn’t the case when she first met Zafar. The filmmaker was then an assistant director on the sets of Kabir Khan’s New York (2009).

During promotions for Bharat (2019) last week, Kaif shared why she hated him on their first meeting. “The first time I met Ali, I told my manager, I hate this boy and if he talks to me again, I’m going to tell [producer] Adi Chopra that I’m leaving the set,” she recalled.

The actress wanted to return to Mumbai for the promotions for Singh Is Kinng (2008) at the time. 

“I was like, give me these two days and we were shooting in New York and he was talking to me very sternly, like no, you can’t go back and these are our dates. And I was like, 'Kaun hai yeh aadmi, yeh aise kaise baat kar raha hai mujhse [Who is this fellow? How can he talk to me like this]?' So we started out on a very bad note,” she said.

“He comes across as stern, but he has a good heart, a good soul,” she continued. “We became friends from then. Ali, Karishma [Kohli], another assistant director, kind of became my circle of friends.”

On the sets of Mere Brother Ki Dulhan (2011)

Afterwards Zafar approached Katrina Kaif with the script of Mere Brother Ki Dulhan, his directorial debut. Kaif asked him whether he was sure he wanted to sit in the director’s chair, but Zafar was firm in his belief.

“When I read the [script], I realized he had written the film for me as the person he knew me to be, not the perception which a lot of people have. The character of Dimple is fun-loving, mad and silly and plays pranks because that’s how our equation was,” she said, adding that it was one of her most enjoyable roles to play.

Kaif was not part of Zafar’s next two projects, Gunday (2014) and Sultan (2016). But the two reunited for Tiger Zinda Hai (2017), the sequel to Kabir Khan's Ek Tha Tiger (2012).

“I really loved my character and a lot of people liked the way he really took Zoya’s character forward," she said. "He made her a little more part of the action. Out of the three films, though, till date I feel that Bharat is the best film we have done together, if I have to choose one. I feel the character of Kumud Raina that he has written is the best.”

However, since the character was not originally written for her, it became a blessing in disguise in a way, she felt. “I still feel that, because it was written maybe not for anyone in particular, but it was quite certain it wasn’t going to be me so that character became something very different,” she explained.

“See, when Zoya [Akhtar] writes Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011), somewhere at the back of [her] mind, [she] already has thought of whom she wants, so there are certain connections or similarities. In this film, there is nothing, because I was not there in his mind. So that, for me, is a big blessing because it gave me something super challenging and something I have not done before.”

Bharat, which also stars Jackie Shroff, Sunil Grover, Tabu, and Sonali Kulkarni, is due to be released on Eid, 5 June.