After hosting a show on radio, Kareena Kapoor Khan is all set to make her television debut with the dance reality show Dance India Dance: Battle of the Champions (premieres on 22 June), where she will feature as one of the judges besides choreographer Bosco Martis and rapper Badshah. The actress said that she has been offered numerous shows in the past but she refused those due to the long hours that television requires. “One has to give 12 to 14 hours and I don’t work for more than eight hours now, especially after Taimur’s birth because I am a working mother and I want to be at home before he eats dinner. That is the time I want to be with him and the family. That was my only condition. But the show heads have been very kind and adjusting,” said Kareena.
While it is widely believed that a top rung film star usually takes the plunge into television when their film career takes a dip, Kareena considers this “mindset” small and narrow. “We think if an actress has crossed a certain age, say 40, then she will turn towards television. But as you can see these days, we have so many different shows on digital and OTT platforms that are breaking barriers for actors. In my opinion, no female star in Bollywood can beat Shefali Shah’s performance in Delhi Crime. She is married and has two children. A large section of population is watching that show. Today a huge star like Meryl Streep is on Netflix. So we need to open our minds. I don’t feel that television is smaller than the big screen. I feel it is as big as any Karan Johar film. So why are we comparing these two?” she asked.
Kareena will juggle both mediums in the months to come. She has completed filming Good News, a romantic comedy opposite Akshay Kumar that will release this December. The film explores the subject of surrogacy, and she will be simultaneously shooting for Karan Johar directed Takht (Johar described it as the Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham of the Mughal era), and Angrezi Medium with Irrfan Khan in the next few months. “The shoot for Takht will start in December and Angrezi Medium starts rolling in July. I am so excited to be working with Irrfan. That box needed to be ticked because I have worked with Shah Rukh, Salman, Aamir, Saif, but I think Irrfan would add something else to my filmography, so even if it was a small role I would have agreed to do it because it is a different world,” said Kareena, further adding, “I am excited about Takht because I will be working with Karan after so long. The last time he directed me was for Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham way back in 2001. There is such a vast difference in both the roles. It is an exciting time for me, balancing my personal and professional life. I have always tried to do that, I am known to be standing on one leg, so I will continue to do that,” she said.
There have been rumours about Kareena returning as Poo, one of the most memorable characters that she played in K3G. As per reports that started circulating last year-end, she was in talks with Netflix to feature as a woman in her mid-30s and her character was supposed to be inspired from Poo. However, Kareena neither confirmed nor denied the rumours. “The only thing I am doing is Dance India Dance. It will be 12 to 14 hours of DID for the next three months and that’s all,” she said.
If the show ever happens, it would mark Kareena’s debut in the web space, a platform which massively propelled her husband, actor Saif Ali Khan’s career. Her sister Karisma, too, will be soon making her digital debut with the series Mentalhood. “I am comfortable being part of any medium as long as the script and the role excites me. If a show offered to me is like Delhi Crime or Sacred Games, I may go for digital,” she said.
Admitting that she is not a trained classical dancer, Kareena said she will always have that regret. “I have always regretted that I couldn’t learn under the tutelage of Kathak maestro Pandit Birju Maharaj. I never learnt any form of classical dance though I have always been an ardent admirer. I enjoy watching it but I am not professionally trained,” she said. “I was huge fan of Srideviji. I always drew inspiration from her songs and dance and that is how I became a heroine. I was also inspired by my sister Karisma who is a very good dancer. Her song ‘Le Gayi Le Gayi’ (from Dil To Paagal Hai) is my most favourite,” said Kareena. “Yesterday, a 10-year-old girl was performing on stage and I could instantly connect to her. I used to dance with the same kind of passion when I was her age. Dance is an expression and through this art form we can convey and communicate a lot of emotions, be it happiness, sorrow, love..I am so happy that now I will be able to watch it live,” she added.
The actress further said that dancing runs in the Kapoor clan with each member having a unique and distinct style of performing the art. “Dancing runs in our blood, our entire khandaan loves dancing. My grandfather Raj Kapoor had his own unique style which you couldn’t compare to Shammi Kapoor. Again, you can’t compare Shammi Kapoor’s style to Shashi Kapoor’s. Similarly, when Ranbir dances you can’t say that he dances like Karisma or me and that’s the beauty,” she said.
“Everybody in my family, including my parents is so excited about me judging the show. Saif, in fact, is really nervous about whether I will be able to pull it off,” Kareena added. “I haven’t planned anything. My judging would depend entirely upon the contestants. I will hold their hand and they will also guide me. My fans know that I am a very emotional person and whatever I do, I do it from my heart. Maybe I will be a little strict but I will leave that to Bosco; he will be the strict one and I will focus more on facial expressions,” she said.
Citing ‘Yeh Ishq Haaye’ from Jab We Met as her most memorable song, Kareena said, “I am yet to see such a free-spirited song on the big screen. But right through my career it has always been more about energy and positivity in my song and dance numbers,” she said. “But all songs are different. ‘Fevicol’ is also an item song which is so different from ‘Chhamak Challo‘. Then, Asoka had such beautiful songs and dance moves.”
And while Kareena will add the glam quotient to the show, she is also the highest paid female celebrity on television which she feels she rightly deserves. “The pay package has to be good because you put in a lot of hard work on television shows and if a male judge is getting a handsome amount, why shouldn’t a female judge? It has actually been the first time ever that a mainstream actress has forayed into reality television at this point in her career. I am getting what I completely deserve for the hours that I will put in,” she said.