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Katrina Kaif speaks on <i>Namastey London</i>

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The beautiful Lakme model made a bumpy Bollywood debut with Kaizad Gustad's Boom. However, her upcoming comic flick Namastey London seems to be a promising act. In an exclusive interview, Katrina Kaif comments on shooting with a heart-warming cast and crew in her very own hometown - London!

What is the title Namastey London trying to say?
It's a good question. I have not thought about it actually. I think it is obviously just trying to say in a line, behind the difference in the film between the two cultures, it is trying to bridge that gap. I think may be that's what it is trying to say. Everyone keeps on saying Salaam Namastey and London Namastey and London Salaam mixing it all, and they have been getting it confused. So I keep having to say no its Namastey London.

How was your experience playing a girl from UK and shooting there too?
I thought it was great. Initially I was a little bit nervous but then I just thought it's going to be such a fun character to play. There is so much freedom in the character and there are no restrictions. The girl, Jasmeet Singh, was from London so was I. There was also a lot of me that I thought I will be able to portray and show in this film. So that was a really nice experience to be able to do that.

Would you go shop or eat with Akshay between shoots?
No. Akshay was always busy, he always doing ten things at one time. So not really and my sisters are there. Three of my sisters are there in London. So just after pack up, we would go park ourselves in a restaurant and eat food and enjoy and we really had fun. Now that I am back in Mumbai I am missing them. So yes, we had a nice time. Everyday after the pack up my sisters and I would go to this nice Japanese restaurant and we would sit and eat and eat!

You did Humko Deewana Kar Gaye with Akshay Kumar. Now you are doing the second film with him. How do you think the audience will react this time?
I felt I mean to be fair there were some mixed reviews for Humko Deewana Kar Gaye. There was a lot of appreciation and there were some other criticisms. But in this film I really hope that people unanimously like the characters. This is the film were the characters have a scope to be liked. I really enjoyed performing in the scenes because I guess I thought I can relate to certain things of the character and I just hope to that comes through.

Do you think Namastey London takes any influence from the film Purab Aur Pachim? Even that film shows the transition of an actor from UK to India. Have you seen Purab Pachim?
Yes, of course. I think there is about 10% of the soul... may be, you know content of that film. But it is not based on that film. It's a completely, entirely different story. People definitely shouldn't go expecting that, otherwise we will be in trouble. The transition from UK to India is done in a different way which you have to see in the film. My character is not an English chick who just comes to India and becomes an Indian housewife, that's not what the film is about. So you have to see Namastey London. I mean my favorite portion of the film is when Akshay and my character meet in Punjab and I like the kind of scenes that went on at that portion- that's definitely my favorite part.

Have you been to Punjab earlier?
Yes I have. I have done a lot of shows and during my traveling with modeling, in a fashion shows I have gone to all interiors of India. I went to so many places.

How was it working with Akshay this time around?
He is a great actor and a person who I have really seen change and work so hard over the years. He has unwavering concentration when he gives a shot, and that also forces your concentration to be on the same level. He is a very jovial person. He also keeps that light energy going; there is nothing too heavy or depressing.

And what is your take on the music of the film?
I like the music of film. I think it portrays the spirit of the film very well. May be someone can say okay but you didn't pitcturised the songs like this and you didn't do that. But it is exactly the feel and the spirit of film and the music should not take away the concentration of what the story is about.

Your favorite song in the film...
There was a song which was not picturised in the film called Aanan Faanan. Musically to listen to it, I really like that song.

Have you seen any of Vipul Shah's earlier works?
I've seen Waqt and funnily enough when I saw Waq I remember saying to myself and I told Vipul also later when I became friends with him, that when I saw the promos I was not interested to see the film at all. And when I saw the film I remember actually being physically shocked at how much I really liked it! I really liked the film and I found the film so enjoyable that it came as a big shock to me. You can make judgments on people and things without knowing the story behind it. So that was really nice to know since it was Akshay in the film. I liked him the most in Waqt from any films of his films which I have seen in terms of his role, his character, and performance. So I guess that also gave me lots of confidence because I genuinely like the way he dealt with the film and he also comes from a theatre background which also gives you a little bit of extra training in terms of the importance of the script. It is not just about shooting scenes because you are sitting in London in a fancy location.

Okay and we have got today in the newspaper saying that you are ready to come in new age cinema...
No. Someone asked me "Are you going to do art cinema, or small films, you know offbeat films?" So I said "What are offbeat films and small films?" Films are good films or bad films that's what I said. I think the person didn't understand what I said. What is a small film, is it a film that is not appreciated and not seen? A judgment of a film should not be the box office report. It should be was it a good film or was it a bad film. May be people didn't want to see it that time but it should be judged on its own merit. I don't think we should classify the honours of cinema.

On the skirt controversy in the dargah... Wasn't it distressing? How did you tackle it?
It was distressing because I realize that people actually felt may be I was being very insensitive and offending somebody when we had no intention. It was probably such an innocent mistake. Obviously you feel a little bad because they were very questioning me, saying things like she was just being obnoxious or so something. It was a genuine mistake and I think the committee was gracious enough to accept the apology after that.

How do you look at the experience of doing a film like Boom, as an actor?
I guess everybody starts at different stages and everybody has different paths in life that they take and I think I have said as much as I can about that film.

There is lots of speculation about your relationship with Salman Khan. How do you feel like when the question is constantly raised?
No I don't think that the question of my relationship with Salman is too appropriate for today. So I think I'll skip it for another day.

What are your future projects?
Well, there is Anil Sharma's film Apne, and then there is a film called Partner coming and Welcome and a film with Abbas-Mustan. It should be releasing towards the end of the year hopefully.

Finally what is the USP of Namastey London? Why should we watch it?
I think that after a long time we have seen a film like this about very definitive clash between an NRI girl and an Indian boy. And I think it has been done in a very light hearted, fun way. You should definitely go and see the film and whatever people would say and if you don't want to see the film, you can't force anyone. But whoever goes to see the film would definitely feel satisfied that it was enjoyable. It is not a film where you are going to say "Ok it is too long" or "what they are going on about?" It is almost like watching an English film in terms of the pace at which it moves. So I am happy with that. 

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