Owing to her looks, Kriti Kharbanda has so far mostly played a college girl in her films. But that is set to change with the upcoming Belli, in which she has a serious role. When the movie was first offered to her, Kriti was apprehensive, as she felt that she wasn’t ready to play such a character. In a chat with Bangalore Times, she tells us about how her career changed after Googly, her Bollywood plans and why she doesn’t think she can look hot…
I was sceptical about doing Belli… Belli is the first film in which I am not playing a college student. Everyone thought that image went well with my personality and it became my trademark, but I didn’t want to do just that. Initially, when I was approached for Belli, I was hesitant, as I thought that I wasn’t ready to play such a character. My character has two very different shades and my director (Mahesh) thought that my look could be moulded well to suit both. He saw the potential in me and I agreed to do it even before I read the climax. On the set, I was given as much importance as the hero. Everyone, including Shiva sir (Shivarajkumar), treated me well and I felt that with this movie, people started taking me seriously as an actor. I learnt a lot from working with seniors, but they didn’t make me feel like a junior.
Working with Shivarajkumar… I thought I would be scared around Shiva sir and I was, initially. In one of our first scenes, I was supposed to tease him and speak to him like a rowdy. My character has a command over him, but it is not easy to get that command over a senior actor when you are acting with him for the first time. After canning the shot, I apologized to him, but he told me that he was glad that I took such liberties with him and asked me to stop thinking of him as my senior. Since I was working with seniors, I wanted to impress them, which is why I learnt all my dialogues by heart. I was happy when he noticed this and told me that I was behaving like a senior actor.
I get offended when people call me lucky… I am very bad at planning and work with my heart and not my brain. I got a lot of offers after Googly, but the roles weren’t meaty. I thought that my journey in the film industry would be like a fairytale, but my first Telugu film didn’t do well and that is when reality came knocking at my door. For the first three years of my career, I was concentrating on studies simultaneously and unfortunately, my career didn’t take off the way I hoped it would. I get offended when people tell me that I am lucky to work with top actors; it’s not luck, because if it was, I would have got all of this a few years ago. I have been approached for women-oriented films and if I was strategizing, I would have done one of them. But I’m a realist and I know that I don’t have it in me to carry a movie entirely on my shoulders. I know that I’m not there yet, but I do bring enough credibility when it comes to working with a hero.
I hate the word replacement I am very superstitious — whenever I speak about a project that I am about to be a part of, something bad happens. I hate the word replacement. I was approached for a big film and hadn’t signed it since the dates didn’t work out. So another girl was finalized for it. I was upset when people wrote that I was replaced because no one even asked me if I had signed the project. I am a very emotional person and it affects me when such things are written about me. I am trying to become a little stronger now.
On being number one People have been telling me that I am the number one actress in the industry, but what is their definition of number one? How am I number one? I haven’t done those many films yet. Look at the number of movies that Ragini Dwivedi, Pranitha or Andy (Aindrita Ray) have done — they can all be number one actresses. People put you on the pedestal and when one movie doesn’t do well, it all comes crashing down. It is all created by others. The thing is that you can’t go higher than a certain point. Maybe some people, who work very hard, can, but I’m a lazy person. I don’t like being compared to others; each actress brings variety, which is why we have so many actresses in the industry.
I want to do off-beat films I am not looking at doing commercial films specifically as I feel that I am at that stage in my career where I can try and experiment. I want to do films that will satisfy me as an actor. Several people have discouraged me from doing that, but I want to do it for myself. That doesn’t mean that I will quit commercial films; for every three commercial films I would like to do one off-beat film. An actor needs variety, else boredom sets in.
Bollywood calling? A lot of people have told me that its high-time I start trying to make inroads in Bollywood, but I haven’t done that yet. I have worked very hard for the recognition that I have today and I am scared to venture out of my comfort zone, i.e. the Kannada film industry. It has given me everything that I have desired. I did get two very good offers from Bollywood, but I couldn’t take them up since I have been busy shooting for the past 6-8 months. I got these offers after people watched me in Googly, so if I do well here, I know that the offers will come. Even if they don’t, I am happy with the work that I am doing here.
I think I look silly when I try to look hot I don’t think I can carry off a super-hot look. I may not look good if I wear a bikini. In fact, I think I look silly when I try to look hot. People have spoken a lot about my look and clothes in Super Ranga and when the songs of were being shot, I kept wondering what I was doing and thought that I looked silly. My mother kept telling me that I look good, but being hot doesn’t come naturally to me. I don’t think that I am hot. If you saw me in my house, you wouldn’t think that either (laughs).