During the promotions of Zero and Bharat, Katrina Kaif spoke about discovering her process of getting into a character, something she had not explored much for a large part of her career. Like finding out how important it was to do workshops to prepare for your role. The insights certainly seem to have helped, considering the plaudits she got for her recent performances, especially in Zero. A little late in the day perhaps, but she is nevertheless improving her acting by “learning and unlearning many things” and adding new dimensions to it.
The day we met, however, she was not wearing her acting cap. Rather, it was her new beauty line—Kay Beauty (in collaboration with beauty brand Nykaa)—that she wanted to talk about. She was busy demonstrating the art of the perfect makeup to a group of us entertainment scribes—touching up someone’s lipstick or showing how a fine stroke of brow pencil could elevate one’s look.
“It was around three-and-a-half years ago that I decided to do a beauty line,” she says. “With the experience I had gained during my modelling days and after doing a lot of my own makeup in my films, I really wanted to do something in beauty. I wanted to create a beauty line that would be extensive and would deliver the kind of products I personally use, although I knew that that would be a tough task.” Kaif compares working in beauty to tightrope walking—a risky business that could easily backfire. “People are going to use these products on their skin and faces. It is a huge responsibility to ensure that they don’t harm one in any way.”
I ask her whether it is a part of the learning and unlearning process she had spoken about. “Oh yes, completely,” she says. “For me, this was more about learning. [Understanding] things like what goes into creating products and the finer nuances of starting a business. It is not like one fine day you wake up and say that you are going to start something. It is a difficult task. We had to do a lot of testing, and then get the licenses before sending [the products] to stores.”
Currently, there are two polarising views on makeup. The first is exemplified by those like Kylie Jenner, who promote their cosmetics through how-to videos and other innovative ways. The second view is about embracing yourself the way you are without going for makeup products—no eyebrow threading and no waxing. No artificial beauty that makes you vain in any way. But vanity is not a word that Kaif particularly likes. “I hate that word,” she says. “And we are not selling vanity. We are not selling the right or wrong way to look. We want to celebrate who you are—the uniqueness and the diversity. For me, that is the fascinating part.” Kay Beauty’s campaign was formulated by Zoya Akhtar.
At a time when she has realised the importance of workshops to prepare for her roles and has started taking them more seriously, a new venture can be distracting. “It is hard to balance,” she says. But whereas earlier she “lacked the vision and was too distracted”, now she can “see something through”. “I like to jump around, be here, there and everywhere,” she says. “Now is the right time for me to stick with something. You have to have that patience. I could not have done it before.”
When it comes to her films, she has been lucky because the timing has been perfect, she says. Right now, there is a break from the shoot of her next, Rohit Shetty’s Sooryavanshi. She is excited to be doing a Shetty film for the first time. “After Diwali, when we resume the shoot, I will be completely into that,” she says confidently. “Also, [introducing] the brand has not been a day’s work,” she says. “It has taken years, and now that the ball has been set in motion, I can sink back into the world of my characters.”
Sometime down the line, she also wants her own production house. It is something she “definitely wants to do—to be a part of the creative process of putting a film together”. “But I have to also realise that I am only one individual and my bandwidth is only so much,” she says. “So, one step at a time. I will take forward my plans as and when the time is right.”