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By: IANS | Updated: July 16, 2018 7:50:08 am Katrina Kaif turns 35 today. Related News

Last year, when Katrina Kaif celebrated her birthday, things couldnt have been worse. Her love life was in shambles (relationship with Ranbir Kapoor came to an end), and her career, which had been put on hold for love, was going nowhere.

This year she may have a lot to smile about on her birthday today.

What really gets her goat is the way her unparalleled success ratio is undermined by being dismissed as a matter of luck.

“Its not as if I was just lucky to be in successful films. Of course, Ive been lucky. But Ive also worked very hard to get where I am. And please dont forget, I chose those films that went on to be successful. So please grant me that bit of intelligence,” she had once told IANS, quickly adding: “And by the way, I was advised by friends not to do many of the films that eventually turned out to be hits.”

She admitted that she sought the help of Salman Khan initially to decide which films to do.

“Not just Salman, I also took the advice of people like Sajid Nadiadwala and David Dhawan. But finally the films I did were my call,” said Katrina whos transparently honest and unpretentious but who often tries to underplay her intelligence simply to fit into the “Bharatiya Nari” mould.

“Oh, one has to work very hard. Men dont like to be around women who can talk back. I like to make my point. But I dont like to be aggressive and insistent in my attitude. At the same time, you wont see me knocking on producers doors at odd hours to get work. I never have. I never will,” she asserted.

Katrina is the happiest when the audience sees her as a full-on desi heroine, often more so than the size-O heroines who seem to belong to another hemisphere. “Its because I grew up in a large joint family filled with seven sisters and brothers. The atmosphere at home was very Indian. We were brought up on values that are very Indian. I guess that explains why Im so Indian in my outlook, although Im half-British and half-Indian by birth.”

Katrinas struggle started in 2000 when she arrived in Mumbai. “I came to Mumbai to be a model. I had no inkling at that point of time that I was going to be an actress. I met photographer Farrokh Chothia who put me on to the right modelling agencies.” Soon, modelling assignments began to trickle in. After her portfolio by glam-photographer Daboo Ratnani was circulated, Katrina landed her first film project.

“When I did Boom in 2003, I was clueless about my intentions, camera angles, language, the works. Id say my film career started with Ram Gopal Varmas Sarkar in 2005, followed by Maine Pyar Kyun Kiya. I was kinda getting bored with modelling and ramp walking. I sensed I had reached a saturation point there and needed to move on. Acting seemed the next natural step,” she said.

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Katrina once described her early days in Mumbai as lonely.

“To begin with I lived in a two-bedroom flat near Rizvi College. The entire day Id be visiting modelling agencies. In the evening, Id return home to a lonely house. Id miss my sisters presence around me. But I didnt really have to struggle hard. And nothing untoward happened to me. No one made any sleazy suggestions,” Katrina recalled.

Her lack of knowledge of Hindi did not really bother her. “In any case, everyone in the modelling world spoke English. That wasnt a problem, except when I had to haggle with auto-rickshaw wallahs to avoid being cheated and to find addresses in Mumbai. That was tough.”

What she found awkward were the gawkers. “Because I came from London, I dressed in a certain casual way that was not quite acceptable in Mumbai. You know, stuff like shorts and tops, or just the kind of clothes that are considered trendy among college kids, but somewhat bold for working girls. People would simply stare. I had to change the way I dressed,” she said.

She hired a tutor to teach her Hindi and started taking Kathak lessons from a guru who also taught Priyanka Chopra.

About her embracing Salman Khans family wholeheartedly, Katrina said: “Salman guided me, helped me choose the right roles and was there for me constantly. With him and his family around, I never felt alone in Mumbai.”

She says she often ends up “sub-consciously looking for a father- figure” in her male company. She and her sisters grew up without a father in the house. “So I guess I do look for sensible, wise male company. I get bored with giddy-headed guys my own age,” she said.

Beyond that Katrina wont talk about her personal life. “Its very simple. Im a friendly girl. I dont like to offend anyone. But in pleasing others and not offending them, I wont compromise with my own inbuilt sense of right and wrong. I know what I want in life. And I wont take any shortcuts.”

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