As the nation waits with bated breath for Kareena and Saif’s second-born to make his/her appearance, my mind goes back to the time when Kareena, much younger far more impulsive told me she would never get married. As for children, are you joking?! As with much of what she would say during those days of impulsive youth I’d just smile at her headstrong declarations knowing she would change her mind sooner rather than later.
From saying no to Kaho Na…Pyar Hai to saying yes and then no to Devdas to saying no to Bajirao Mastani, Kareena was always impulsive and also very moody. In fact, she warned me about her moods when I got to know her. “You better get used to it.” When Kareena started her career with my dear friend J P Dutta’s Refugee she didn’t want to be the glamour queen at all.
“Looking hot and sexy is my sister’s domain. I am a very simple girl at heart. I love my salwar and kameez and I want to spend my life in them (the salwar and kameez). I want to play real women. My role models are Madhubala, Nutan and Waheeda Rehman. I want to do the kind of roles they did,” she told me in her first interview. A few weeks later she called nervously to say she had just signed a film with Abbas-Mastan where she had to be the archetypal glam diva, “Chiffon sarees, backless blouses. I don’t know how I can carry them off.”
I told her she would be just fine. And she was. She wanted to play Nutan’s role Kalyani in Bandini. When my friend Deepa Mehta offered her the widow Kalyani’s role in Water through me, she jumped at it and then chickened out saying she was too inexperienced for something so complex. I don’t know how she is now. But back then Kareena (never ‘Bebo’ for me, thank you) flourished in extremities. She either ‘hated’ or ‘loved’ her colleagues. She especially did not fit well with her female co-stars back then. One of them who is today a global star complained to me about Kareena’s behaviour during a concert abroad. Kareena couldn’t help but judge this particular actress. But 15 years later of course both graced the Koffee With Karan couch together and seemed to get along very well and let bygones be bygones. Her blood would boil when I wrote praises for another actress. Sometimes she would actually call and read out what I had written about others to embarrass me.
I was supposed to praise only Kareena. Yes, she is very possessive about the people close to her. She got along very well with her male co-stars, Salman being a favourite with both the sisters. But her favourites kept changing. Karan Johar who she once told me was the only male allowed into her home where she lived with her mom (I had to wait for her in the car when I visited) at one point became a hostile territory. When she was seeing someone long ago she couldn’t stop raving about his mother until they both parted way
This is not the Kareena that we all see today. After Saif Ali Khan became a permanent part of her life, she changed drastically, became far less impetuous and far more family-oriented. Most important of all she learnt to be gregarious and social. She at one point hated social media and didn’t even have an email ID (yes, believe it or not!). Today she is all over Instagram with over 6M followers and posting pictures, hosting talk shows, etc.
Kareena is constantly evolving. From salwar kameez to gowns, Refugee to Ajnabee, from footloose to Saif. From never-want-to-be-a-mother to how-could-I-live-without-Taimur. Now soon, from mother of one to the mother of two. Keep changing Kareena. It suits you.
Image source: Instagram/kareenakapoorkhan
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