I can barely recognize Kareena when I see her today

Kareena was always impulsive and very moody. After Saif, she changed drastically and became far less impetuous and far more family-oriented. She is constantly evolving

I can barely recognize Kareena when I see her today

Subhash K Jha

As Saif and Kareena celebrate the birth of their second child, my mind goes back to the time when Kareena, much younger and far more impulsive, told me she would never get married. As for children, are you joking?

As with much of what she would say during those days of impulsive youth, I’d just smile at her headstrong declarations, knowing she would change her mind sooner rather than later.

From saying no to Kaho Na Pyar Hai to saying yes and then no to Devdas to saying no to Bajirao Mastani...Kareena was always impulsive and very moody. In fact, she warned me about her moods when I got to know her. “You better get used to it.”

When she started her career with my dear friend J.P. Dutta’s Refugee, she didn’t want to be the glamour queen at all.

“Looking hot and sexy is my sister’s domain. I am a very simple girl at heart. I love my salwar and kameez and I want to spend my life in them (the salwar and kameez). I want to play real women.

My role models are Madhubala, Nutan and Waheeda Rehman. I want to do the kind of roles they did,” she told me in her first interview.

A few weeks later, she called nervously to say she had just signed a film with Abbas-Mastan where she had to be the archetypal glam diva, “Chiffon sarees, backless blouses. I don’t know how I can carry them off.”

I told her she would be just fine. And she was. She wanted to play Nutan’s role Kalyani in Bandini. When my friend Deepa Mehta offered her the widow Kalyani’s role in Water through me, she jumped at it and then chickened out saying she was too inexperienced for something so complex.

I don’t know how she is now. But back then Kareena (never ‘Bebo’ for me, thank you) flourished in extremities. She either ‘hated’ or ‘loved’ her colleagues. The female co-stars were specially annoying to her. One of them who is today a global star complained to me about Kareena’s behavior during a concert abroad.

Kareena couldn’t help laughing over how ‘tacky’ this particular actress was. Her blood would boil when I wrote praises for another actress. Sometimes she would actually call and read out what I had written about others to embarrass me.

I was supposed to praise only Kareena. Yes, she is very possessive about the people close to her. She got along very well with her male co-stars, Salman being a favourite with both the sisters. But her favourites kept changing. Karan Johar who she once told me was the only male allowed into her home where she lived with her mom (I had to wait for her in the car when I visited) at one point became hostile territory.

When she was seeing someone long ago, she couldn’t stop raving about his mother. The next thing I knew I was being told that the mother did kala jadoo on her to get rid of her. This is not the Kareena that we all see today.

After Saif, she changed drastically and became far less impetuous and far more family-oriented. Most important of all, she learnt to be gregarious and social. She at one point hated the social media and didn’t even have an email ID (yes, believe it or not!). Today she is all over posting pictures, hosting talk shows etc.

Kareena is constantly evolving. From salwar kameez to gowns, from Refugee to Ajnabee, from footloose to Saif. From never-want-to-be-a-mother to how-could-I-live-without-Taimur. Now from mother of one to the mother of two. Keep changing. It suits you.

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