Inspiration comes in many forms. In what form did it arrive for you to pursue acting?
I think in terms of inspiration, I honestly believe it is extremely circumstantial. For me, acting felt right at that moment and it felt like my calling. I realised I found direction when I decided to pursue acting because acting genuinely happened to me by chance. I have been modelling since the age of five. Some people from the industry took notice of me and eventually, I was offered a film. Acting is not something that I pursued upfront but when the first offer did come to me I decided to grab on to it, to make use of that opportunity and do my best regarding pursuing it as a career. It took me a few years to start taking it more seriously, I suddenly realised that my love for acting was genuine and it wasn’t just a hobby. For me, it was a very organic thing; from acting being my hobby and eventually becoming my career path, acting happened to me. It is something I love and want to do for the rest of my life.
Who is the naughtiest among the Kharbanda siblings? Any significant childhood memory that brings a smile to your face till now?
I don’t think the Kharbanda siblings are naughty at all. If there is a little bit of naughtiness, it’s a little bit in all three of us. But, the three of us getting together can be a very naughty scenario (chuckling). We are very closely knit, my brother and I are eight years apart and my sister and I are two years apart. In terms of the age difference, I think it kind of establishes the hierarchy among the siblings. Having said that, I don’t think the three of us are naughty, I think the three of us are extremely empathetic, extremely close-knit and we care about each other a lot. If anyone comes and stands in front of us, it’s three against one, always. The three of us are one entity. I think a significant childhood memory will be teasing my brother a little bit (not giving him a bat while playing cricket), those kind of childish things. As we were growing the three of us became so close that we will always be one entity. It’s a relationship which is very different from anything.
Initially, you had a very strained relationship with your father. How did it change over the years?
I wouldn’t call it a strained relationship at all. It was never a strained relationship. You know as children we don’t understand that why mom is always available for the kids at home and dad is not. He didn’t spend enough time with us as he was always busy with work. We never really understood why he wouldn’t spend time with us. I think I always held that against him till I started working and running a house on my own. I suddenly realised that my dad was never unavailable he was making some immense amount of sacrifices to bring us up. He was working hard to give us the right education, to make sure that we had everything available and to make sure that we never had to struggle. When I understood his sacrifice and hard work, I remember picking up the phone and calling him and saying ‘I’m sorry that I didn’t understand you, I didn’t get where you are coming from and thank you for being the best dad.’ He actually made so many sacrifices and he didn’t think about himself, not even for a moment and he still doesn’t. We still have to tell him that paa it’s okay to do your own thing and it’s okay to put yourself first. But, he still keeps us first before him. I’m so grateful that he is my dad. Whatever little strain there was between us, it came from a place of naivety and childishness on my end. I realised that I was blessed with a superman, my dad.
Your films have displayed your talent as an artist, the work that is closest to your heart.
Every film that I have done is very close to my heart because at that moment that was the most important thing going on in my career. My first film ‘Boni’ is very close to my heart because it marked my debut in the industry altogether. It isn’t about the languages, it isn’t about anything, it’s just that it was my first opportunity and I met some brilliant people through that journey. ‘Googly’ is also a film that is very close to my heart because right from the word ‘go’ I knew that this was going to be something magical and it turned out to be magical. I honestly felt the same way – the magical feeling when I signed ‘Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana’. So, I think ‘Googly’ and ‘Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana’ are the two films that are very close to my heart. Apart from that there is ‘Taish’. ‘Taish’ happened to me by chance. It was so weird and random but I’m so glad these films happened to me. These films have made a place in my heart that I don’t think I can ever let go of. These three films are going to be extremely close to my heart and of course, every other film that I have done. I know I’ve given it my best and my most hard work. ‘Housefull 4’ was my biggest film, we did 200 cr, it’s a big number and it’s again a film that happened to me because of ‘Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana’. Sajid sir saw my work there and that is how I was offered ‘Housefull 4’. It’s a very hard choice to pick one, so I’ll go with ‘Googly’, ‘Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana’, ‘Housefull 4’ and ‘Taish’.
How do you define your road to success?
I define my road to success as extremely exciting, it has been a very exciting journey. There’s never been a dull moment and it never felt monotonous. I know it’s been filled with hard work as well as hardships and I’m just so proud of myself that I never gave up. I never let success get to my head and I never let failure bother me. I just kept doing my work and I’m so glad that it doesn’t have gone unnoticed. It’s the best feeling in the world to know that someone recognises you as an actor and not just as a star. I love that I’m an actor.
When projects are being offered, how do you decide your calling? How do you take rejections?
I’m someone who really believes in gut instincts and I’ve always gone with my guts. My reasons may be different to do a film but my gut always supports it. If my gut says don’t do it, I don’t do it. No matter how exciting a project may be if my guts say no, it’s a no because there is something in that project that is not meant for me. It doesn’t speak anything about the project. The project might be exciting and amazing and eventually, people will go on to do it, but it just wasn’t for me. This way makes it easy for me to handle rejections also. I have always believed that what is meant for you will come to you and what is not meant for you will not. Don’t fight for anything because eventually, you’ll realise why it didn’t work out for you. I have always believed in the power of the future and the power of the present and I’ve genuinely believed that what is meant for you will come to you. You have to work hard for it, you can’t just sit at home and wait for the opportunity. The mantra is to listen to the gut instincts. Talking about rejections, they do make me feel emotional and sometimes even break my heart. But, deep down my heart knows that there is a reason behind this and eventually the reason will come out. Also, I let myself live that moment. If I feel rejected, I am okay with crying about it, I am okay with pouring my heart out and then moving on. That’s how life works, you have to move on. For me, this way makes it easier to deal with rejections.
Any specific learning throughout your acting journey?
A learning that I gained through my acting journey is ‘Change is the only constant’. As an actor, you are constantly expected to grow and learn more. The more you learn through your journey, the more you adapt to the situations better. Ten years ago, I would have dealt with a situation very differently or a character very differently. Today, I will deal with that character very differently. I think evolving is the only constant in acting, you evolve as an actor and that’s when your versatility comes across. There is no one kind of acting. I believe every actor is a good actor because they are bringing something unique to the table and that’s why they are actors. The other thing that I have learnt as an actor is to always respect your writers. It is very important to make sure you respect the writer who has written your character and the story that you are about to enact because acting is nothing but reacting. When you are looking at a script, you cannot look only at your character. You should be familiar with every other character that resonates with you in some way or the other. So, I think you need to make sure that you respect your writers and you also respect your co-actors because when you have good co-actors your performance enhances and when you respect your co-actors they make sure that your performance is enhanced.
What is on the horizon for Kriti Kharbanda?
I’m currently prepping for my next film which is ‘Risky Romeo’. The film is directed by Abir Sengupta and produced by Jaadugar Films. It is a unique script. Funnily enough, this is not the film I went to meet them for. At the end of the meeting, Abir gave me an idea of the film. It sounded exciting to me and I asked for a full-fledged narration of the film. To which he replied, ‘Are you sure? Because I don’t know if this is something you want to explore. I was sure about acing this film and I said ‘Please let’s do this’. One thing led to another and it all worked out. This is how ‘Risky Romeo’ happened to me. I am very excited about prepping for this role. It’s very different from anything that I have done before. It feels like quite the challenge and I’m looking forward to taking this challenge. Actor Sunny Singh is opposite to me in this film. This is the first time I will be sharing screen space with him. I’m excited to see what comes out of it and I hope the audience enjoys the film. Prepping for ‘Risky Romeo’ is on the way as I start shooting in November.
Are any wedding bells ringing? Is it still a hindrance when an actress decides to tie the knot?
No wedding bells are ringing in my life right now (chuckling). I don’t think marriage is a hindrance anymore. I think actors work all their lives and what they do in their personal lives is also fascinating. I believe being a married woman or an unmarried woman will not change the way I act. It will not change the way I look at all and it will not change the amount of hard work I put in. I’m so glad that this perception is changing in our industry now. Maybe earlier it may have acted as a hindrance, but now the industry is evolving and everyone in the industry is so evolved that marriage is now counted as another aspect of your life. Being married doesn’t change anything about what you would do for your career. Being a married woman, your hard work doesn’t go down, your respect for your co-actors doesn’t go down and your excitement to do a film doesn’t go down. If all these things don’t change I don’t think anything else should. I’m so glad that the industry is evolving and matching up to the excitement that actresses have in their lives. You have to treat marriage like it’s an aspect of your life. From the second you treat it like that, everyone else also looks at it the same way. From Deepika Padukone to Alia Bhatt and Kiara Advani, all of these girls are married and they are doing brilliant work right now. I don’t see any of their careers being affected just because they are married.
If not an actress what would Kriti be?
Your definition of love?
Trust, Home & Compatibility.
Rajma Chawal, Pani-Puri, Matar Paneer & Mutton Rogan Josh.
A Marketing magazine.
A secret about Kriti the world doesn’t know?
It’s going to take a lot to get that out of me.
Your dream director?
Gautham Vasudev Menon, Rajkumar Hirani, Imtiaz Ali, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Karan Johar.
Kriti Kharbanda in one word:
Chaotic & Mischievous.
Start of a beautiful journey and your day to celebrate you.
Message for WA readers:
I hope this magazine serves as an inspiration which is to remember you have got to bring your own brand or uniqueness to your big day or whosoever big day you are planning. I hope you all find some great inspirations here, great looks that Wedding Affair puts together. I hope you find everything you are looking for.