Kriti Kharbanda, the multilingual starlet who will soon be seen in Vaan, a Tamil and Malayalam film opposite Dulquer Salmaan, spoke to RITZ Magazine in a candid interview on her current projects and her other passions.
Text: NAMITA GUPTA
She started her career in the film industry a decade back with the Telugu film Boni. Kriti Kharbanda soon established her name in the Kannada and Telugu film industry with multiple films to her credit. The petite and pretty starlet also acted in a couple of Tamil films and got noticed by Bollywood producers and directors. Kriti was last spotted in the lead role in Veerey Ki Wedding and Yamla Pagla Deewana Phir Se and has a bag full of films projects that she’s working on including Vaan with Dulquer Salmaan, Housefull 4 with a huge star cast including Akshay Kumar, Chehre with Amitabh Bachchan and more.
What are your current projects that you’re working on?
I have three Bollywood films that I’m shooting for right now. Housefull as everyone knows is one of the most successful franchisees in the country and has already has first three films as super duper box office hits. I’m now filming the fourth one and it’s a very exciting comedy film based on reincarnation. I’ve been wanting to do a period drama for a while and it’s produced by one of the biggest producers in the country – Sajid Nadiadwala who’s doing everything he can to make it a visual treat. Sudeep, our cinematographer has made it look larger than life. I’m also doing Pagalpanti with Anil Kapoor, John Abraham, Arshad Warsi and Pulkit Samrat; an entertaining film where I play Jhanvi and it’s being directed by Anees Bazmee, who is known for his comedies. Then there’s Chehre with Amitabh Bachchan sir and Emraan Hashmi. I’m excited to be working with Amitabh Bachchan and I feel my life’s come a full circle. Sharing the screen space with him is every actor’s dream.
You have worked in a few films in the South and have recently signed some South Indian films again. Tell us about that?
I have signed a bilingual film with Dulquer Salmaan, that will be out in Tamil and Malayalam. I have never worked in the Malayalam industry before, so the languauge might be a little bit of a barrier. But I feel if as a Punjabi girl, I managed to learn Kannada and Telugu, then I’ll manage Malayalam also quite well. Tamil is something I’m confortable with so that’s not a worry for me. I learnt Tamil on the film sets itself. Even Kannada I learnt after the first and second film. Same thing with Telugu. But I’ll be taking Malayalam lessons now. My character requires a lot of homework and preparation. My role is that of a free-spirited, fun girl. And all four my current films – the three Hindi movies and the Tamil-Malayalam film are all very different, so I will have to mentally prepare for all of them and don different hats every time. The next three months I have to switch in and out of a few characters simultaneously.
How has your experience in the south-Indian film industry been?
It’s been an outstanding journey. I’m here because of that. The Telugu and the Kannada film industry have got me noticed in the other industries in the South and also Hindi. I’m really thankful to have worked with some of the biggest directors and some of the biggest banners and best films. I have fond memories from every film. Each of them have taught me to be a better actor and a better person. It’s a people’s world. I used to be an introvert and this industry has changed me as a person.
Going nine years back, how did you land up acting in the first place?
I was running away from an ex-boyfriend and he was irritating me in Bengaluru, so I decided to move to Hyderabad. I used to model from a very young age and I had done an ad and a billboard of that was in Chennai. The director saw that and said I want this girl. I didn’t take the call seriously as I had no plans to do any films that time. But then my break up happened and then I got into rebel mode and plunged into the film industry. Now, when I look back I tell my ex that I’m so glad that we broke up. I still have good friendship with all my exes. I think everything happens for a reason.
Any differences you noticed in the south-Indian film industry compared to Bollywood?
Not really, except that here you get delicious hot south-Indian breakfast every morning on the sets and there it’s not as good as this. I miss my idlis, neer dose and vangi baath from the South, when I’m shooting elsewhere. Although I’m a Punjabi, I’m a hardcore south-Indian at heart, as I grew up in Bengaluru.
Can you recall any fun moment from any of the shoots?
During the shoot of Googly, we flew to Mangalore and were going in a car to the place of the shoot and the car broke down and it was midnight and I was alone with the driver. We were on the ghat road and we had to walk a kilometre to find someone to repair the car. And for Housefull, when I was training for my sword fighting sequence, I injured my shoulder and I had to go for physio.
Some of your close friends in the industry?
I’m close to Sumanth who was my first co-star in the Telugu film Boni. Also Diganth, Aindrita Ray, Rana Daggubati, Ram Charan and so many other good friends from the industry. I’m so lucky to have made such good friends over the years, who I know I can count on whenever required. I have now moved to Mumbai, but I’m always shuttling between, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and other places.
What’s your fitness regime like?
I love the time I give to my fitness regime. Gymming of course is always there. But lately, I’ve been doing a lot of zumba and pole dancing, besides the usual running and weight training. I need to change things up a little bit for myself. Your body goes into a little bit of a plateau after a while, so you need to keep shocking it with something new, but something that you enjoy and at the same time something that will keep you fit and not injure you. I don’t overdo my workouts as one has to be very careful of any injuries. I’m here in Bengaluru this week for the first ever night marathon- Reebok Float-A-Thon. My favourite nutritionist is my mom and she knows what my body needs and what works for me. My gym trainer also plans my nutrition. I follow basic things – I’ve replaced atta and rice with nachni, ragi and quinoa and instead of oil I’m having ghee and butter. I avoid lactose in terms of milk, but I have curd and probiotics. One needs to understand what works and what doesn’t work for you.
What’s your beauty regime like?
It’s hereditary. My mom has given me great skin, but compared to what runs in my family, I have the worst skin. Everyone thinks I have great skin, but if you see the skin that my other family members have, you’ll agree. I make sure that I take off my makeup before I go to sleep. Apart from that I make sure I have my melons, fruits and veggies. I always apply my night oil on my face before I sleep. At any point I feel it’s going to oily, I apply my honey mask and any time I feel it’s getting dry, I take my bath with milk. It’s very good for the skin and I do it with very often.
Do you take out time to travel when you go out of the country for shoots?
No, it doesn’t happen. There’s a famous saying – an actor travels the world and looks at the mirror. That’s the case with me always. I was in London for almost three months and I hardly did anything to really explore like a traveller. I hardly get any time for holidays either. My first and last holiday was in January last year when we went to Goa, that too because the shoot got postponed. I’m a workaholic. I don’t know how to not do anything. I started at the age of 17 and I’m constantly working. I wouldn’t change it for anything. I’m happy like this and I don’t regret not taking holidays or chilling like other girls my age. I’m proud to be able to take care of my family and make sure they have all the comforts. Nobody from my family is from the industry, so I came out on my own and have made a mark. They trusted me and I’ve never failed them. My parents come to Mumbai to meet me as I hardly get time to come to Bengaluru. I’m very close to my mother.
Did you have a relationship after that first breakup? What’s your ideal man like?
Yes, I was in a relationship for a long time, but I decided to take a break and focus on my work. There’s nothing like an ideal man. They don’t exist. I just want a good human being. More than an ideal man, I want a nice person who I’m comfortable with and feel at home with. He should be like family. Although I’ve been lucky in my past relationships, they haven’t really worked out. I’m waiting for that one boy who will sweep me off my feet and take me home.