How Katrina Kaif developed a thick skin, made her place in the film industry

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On Katrina Kaif’s 39th birthday, here’s looking back at some of her most vouched performances and films.Katrina Kaif is celebrating her 39th birthday today. (Photo: Katrina Kaif/Instagram)
With a career spanning over 19 years, and several successful projects to her name, it is safe to say that Katrina Kaif is an A-lister in the industry. One of the highest-paid actresses in the country, she started her journey as a model and did a couple of regional films before firmly placing herself in the Hindi film industry.

Juggling between the hits and misses and criticism over her acting prowess and language issues, Katrina’s filmography has been diverse in terms of the genres she’s explored and the stars she has been cast opposite. From the Khans of the industry to actors such as Akshay Kumar, Hrithik Roshan, and Ranbir Kapoor—you name it and she has worked with them all.

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Katrina ventured into the industry in 2003 with her debut film Boom. However, it wasn’t until 2005 that she got a successful project on her list. Starring opposite Salman Khan and Sushmita Sen, she got her fair share of recognition with the romantic-comedy Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya? in which she essayed a significant role. This film not only fetched Katrina the ‘Best Breakthrough Performance Award’, but also in real terms gave her the ‘big break’ she needed.Following Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya?, the model-turned-actress did a mix of romantic and comedy films and gave back-to-back four hits in 2007. Her films Namastey London and Welcome, both of which were with Akshay Kumar, turned out to be commercial successes and blockbuster hits, and so did Partner, in which she starred with Salman Khan, Govinda, and Lara Dutta. Also read |Katrina Kaif: I was 18 when I met Salman Khan, that’s my most memorable experience
In between all the romantic comedies, she also played a part in the musical drama Yuvvraaj, which failed to fare well at the box-office, but coming to her rescue were her 2008 films Singh Is Kinng and Race. While her innocent portrayal of Sonia in the action-comedy starring Akshay Kumar won hearts, her killer dance moves and twirls on the songs Zara Zara Touch Me and Khwaab Dekhe in the multi-starrer Race swayed away all. The period between 2009-2012 witnessed an upwards rise in the actress’s film graph. From playing the young & naïve Jennifer in Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani and Anjali in De Dana Dan to essaying the role of a learned, philosophical Laila in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and the out and loud rebel Dimple in Mere Brother ki Dulhan—she proved her skills and strengthened her footing in the soft, romantic-comedy genre.

Talking about criticism she got, Katrina said in an earlier interview, “When we have lows, they stick for a while. When we have highs, they stick for a while too. In lows, I have to have the tough skin, introspect what am I doing, how to make it better. When the great phase comes, people acknowledge my performance. Then also I have to see what have I done right, without getting too attached to the end result.”

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Around the same time, Katrina garnered double the limelight for her crazy dancing skills. To date, her performance on the songs Zara Zara Touch Me, Sheila Ki Jawani, Chikni Chameli, Dhoom Machale, Kamli, Mashallah, Afghan Jalebi, and Ishq Shava are considered to be amongst her hits, and so are considered her recent performances on the songs Suraiyya, Husn Parcham, Kala Chashma, and Tip Tip.Stills from Katrina Kaif’s famous performances on Tip Tip, Chikni Chameli, and Sheila Ki Jawani (L-R).
With Raajneeti and New York, Katrina broke her image as “an actor who could ‘just’ do romantic-comedies or male-dominated films” and explored and exposed herself to political and spy thrillers. She offered the viewers her multi-faceted side as her character in both the films was strong, and power-driven, and her performance was underrated. In her 2012 action spy thriller Ek Tha Tiger, which also starred Salman Khan, Katrina played an ISI undercover agent and adorned a never-seen-before avatar. In her subsequent releases, notably, Tiger Zinda Hai, Dhoom 3, Phantom, Bang Bang! and Jagga Jasoos, she was just as involved in the action, drama, violence, and stunts as her male coordinates. As opposed to her earlier timid characters, Katrina parlayed with action.

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