Hindi Film 101: Katrina Kaif, the Mystery Woman

I hadn’t even considered writing this post until a few days ago when somehow we started talking about her. Which is a sign of how mysterious she is, that her past is such a vast emptiness we all somehow forget it even exists. We think of her as boring bland Katrina instead of considering the amazingness of her life and existance.

Usual Disclaimer: I don’t know these people, I have no special knowledge, everything I am saying may or may not be true. All I can do is repeat But at least it will give you a starting point.

Katrina Kaif’s story is, inevitably, also Salman Khan’s story. The more I write about her and read about her, the deeper and closer their connection appears. They will probably never marry, may never have a romantic relationship again. But there is something there, some ways that they each fill each others lives which are never going to go away. I didn’t realize how true that was until I saw her life written out and read her words.

In 2003 when Katrina was very young, she arrived in Bombay, having been discovered in London, and was cast as beautiful eye candy in a small odd film produced by Ayesha Shroff (Jackie Shroff’s wife), Boom. The movie flopped, but Katrina had been noticed by a Telugu producer, she was given a love interest role in a Telugu film, Malliswari. Not unusual, Telugu heroines are usually dubbed so hiring a woman who doesn’t even speak Telugu just to look good and dance a little is common. And in that movie, she was noticed by a director who crosses between Telugu and Hindi, Ram Gopal Verma. He liked taking new talent and molding it to his vision, and he wanted a beautiful international feeling woman for his next film. So Katrina got her first substantial role in her third movie, Sarkar. By the time Sarkar released there was already talk about Katrina being the new girlfriend of controversial top star Salman Khan. No one was surprised when she was announced as the second heroine in Salman’s next movie, produced by his brother Sohail, Maine Pyar Kyun Kiya.

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Katrina had two more southern films that dribbled out after Maine Pyar Kyun Kiya, but they had been filmed earlier. After Maine Pyar Kyun Kiya, she had arrived and it was all leading roles in top films from then on. She was not regarded generally as a good actress, but she had striking looks and a different feel on screen, and her personal life gave her a fame beyond her career. She rapidly signed multiple endorsement deals and became a familiar face on billboards and magazine and TV ads through out India. And her movies kept hitting, she became known as “lucky”. Hire Katrina and your film will have good luck. She also became known as a surprisingly good girlfriend to Salman. Despite the massive age difference, and her status as a white outsider, which made her look like merely a rebound affair after his grand passion for Aishwarya Rai. But then Salman went to court, and jail, for his pending poaching case and Katrina was there. Not made up and fancy for the paparazzi, but quietly and faithfully in the background. His family adored her, she was regularly seen going in and out of the family home. And while there were stories of fights on set and off (a fight at her birthday party supposedly started the Shahrukh-Salman feud), she generally felt like a good influence, a calming influence.

Her first big public scandal hit in 2009, she was filming a movie with Ranbir Kapoor and it was rumored that they were having an affair, meaning Katrina was cheating on her famous boyfriend Salman and Ranbir on his famous girlfriend Deepika Padukone. At this point it was unclear what Salman and Katrina’s status was, she was still very close to his family and they were still seen together, but the occasional comments in interviews that confirmed-without-confirming a relationship had slowed down. However, Deepika and Ranbir were still definitely together. The popular version is that Katrina flew to America to visit Ranbir on the set of Anjaana Anjaani, which he was filming with Priyanka, and Priyanka called up Deepika and told her. That could be completely made up, but it is certainly true that Deepika and Ranbir broke-up around then.

In 2013, Katrina had her second big scandal when photos of her in a skimpy bikini on a beach with Ranbir in Spain showed up in the press. While she and Ranbir had long been known to be dating, they had never confirmed it. A bikini that small was a shocking thing in the Indian context. And so was an overseas vacation with a man to whom you were not married. The photos became a 9 days wonder in the Indian media.

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Salman leaped to her defense, saying

If such pictures of your’s, your mother’s or sister’s would be out in the media how would you feel? even if your boyfriend’s such pictures came out would you like it? If you will not like such things, others won’t like it too. What we do in films is a different matter, but exposing one’s personal life in this manner is not right, you do not have any right to do something like this.

Ranbir was slower to respond, remarkably silent, and finally issued a tepid statement:

Us picture main Katrina Kaif bahot hi sundar lag rahi hai aur Ibiza bhi bahot hi sundar jagah hai. Please jaake aap visit kijiyeMain toh Ibiza main tha na… Main photo dekh ke maza kyu karu? Main toh Ibiza main maza karunga. (Translation: Katrina looked really beautiful in those pictures and Ibiza was also beautiful. You should go visit the place. I was in Ibiza, so what should I enjoy in those pics? I will enjoy in Ibiza right?)

Katrina tried to handle it calmly, she was promoting Dhoom 3 and unable to avoid questions:

“Next time when you all plan to take pictures give me a notice. Red doesn’t look good with white (regarding the colour of her bikini)… I will wear matching next.”

In 2014, Ranbir moved into Kat’s apartment in Bandra, complete with a house warming party. Katrina was seen spending more time with his parents (something that had not been the case before). Rumors of a marriage were flying, the press claimed to even have a date and that invitations were ordered. Ranbir was producing his first movie, Jagga Jasoos, and cast himself and Kat as leads. And then Ranbir moved out of Kat’s apartment and into his grandmother’s house. Filming on Jagga Jasoos stopped abruptly and restarted months later. Meanwhile, Ranbir signed a movie with Alia Bhatt and did a promotional photo shoot and rumors immediately started that he had left Kat for her. No one really believed it, Alia was thought to be dating Sidharth Malhotra at the time. Ranbir was publicly single for a long time. And then, 3 years after the initial Alia rumors, he and Alia announced they were in a relationship after all. Katrina has been single publicly since Ranbir. She has remained extremely close with Salman Khan and his entire family since 2003, occasionally that closeness has given rise to rumors that she and Salman are getting back together.

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Katrina at the family women’s party for Salman’s youngest sister’s wedding

All of this, everything since Boom, is documented and public and well known. We may not know details like whether she and Ranbir had really ordered wedding invitations before the break up, but we know they were living together. And we know they were together from some time in 2009 to 2014. And in the same way, we know she and Salman were definitely together from at least 2003 to around 2008.

We also know that people in the industry generally like her. When she started, she was getting roles that any white-looking woman would get. Meaning, any model just arrived in Bombay could have done those parts equally well. But directors and producers and co-stars over and over again chose Katrina. She works hard, she gets along with everyone, and she really does have something special that comes across on camera. And she is not ashamed or afraid to take a simple “heroine” role, one of the few famous actresses who is still happy to play the love interest instead of worrying about her career and her future.

I found a wonderful article about her from back in 2008, when she was established and working hard. And she is very honest in it that she does not plan a future as an actress. She wants to take care of herself and her family, build stability, and the way to do that is to work as hard as possible and as much as possible right now, while she can.

To get there, if I have to do films that involve four songs and not playing a character that will go down in history, so be it. At 40, when my career span is done, I don’t want to say, I don’t have a house and I don’t have any money, but it’s okay because I didn’t play any so-called bimbo…. It takes intelligence to recognize that cinema is just cinema. My mother never planned materially for the future. But I feel the need to stabilize myself. I need physical security — I can’t roam around and say, oh, we’ll all be fine. I need to work on building security for my sisters for sure. I could not go to film school, but I want to ensure my sister can.

In another interview from 2010, she talks honestly about the opportunities she has been offered and how she is well aware that her only qualifications are a pretty face and a willingness to work hard, but also how strange it is that she is never given credit for the good work she does, it is always given to the script, the director, her co-star, and Katrina just “benefited” from their talent:

The way I see it is that there must be so many people who are genuinely beautiful, genuinely fantastic dancers, fluent in Hindi, also with acting training, who must also be looking at me from time to time and asking – how has she got these positions and these chances and we have not? Those people must be feeling very undercut.

So, when I see the situation from that way, I see that the point you are making – which is a valid point – I still, even though I know the language, I still have an accent when I dub the films…In Raajneeti there’s a faint accent, I’ve worked hard, but it’s still there. Even with these things, the industry has – even if, as you say, reluctantly – has accepted me, I work with the biggest directors, the biggest people.

But there are moments when I sometimes feel that, when I see if some people are doing good work, and are being celebrated for their wonderful performances, even if the films have not done so well – I find myself asking my friends and colleagues that I hope I am given that same kind of…leeway.

Katrina appears as an empty pretty face, but if you go below the surface, find the few interviews where she really opened up about her inner thoughts, there is a lot more there. And suddenly her 16 year close relationship with Salman Khan looks less like an older man picking up a beautiful young woman and more like two people whose mental ages and experiences are far more similar than pure age would show. And her relationship with Ranbir appears doomed more than ever, how could someone who looks at film as a way to find artistic fulfillment ever build a life with a woman who looks at it as a way to pay her sister’s college tuition?

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In their last movie together, the Ranbir produced Jagga Jasoos, Ranbir cast himself as a teenage schoolboy and Katrina as a grown woman. Perhaps that is how their relationship always felt?

How did Katrina get this way? Who was she before she burst into India as a teenager from nowhere? The most fascinating part of her history is that no one really knows her history.

Katrina’s version in interviews is vague. But, as she explains, her life before India was so strange and confusing that it is vague even in her own mind. She was born in Hong Kong to a woman who is from Bath, England. They went from Hong Kong to China, then China to France, then Switzerland, then Poland. All of this in the early years of her childhood, before she was 10. They lived briefly in Hawaii, where a scout saw Katrina and she did her first modeling. There were more places they lived during that time, Katrina occasionally mentions them, but also says that they didn’t live there more than two months at a time. Then they moved back to London and lived there for 3 years. It was in London that she was spotted by a producer and brought to Bombay to make Boom. And for the past 17 years, Katrina has lived in Bombay. She bought an apartment in Bandra (near Salman’s family), and she has friends and a life. Stability, finally.

Why did Katrina move around so much as a child? What was her mother doing all that time? And where did her many siblings (6 or 8 depending on which source you read) come from? And who was her father?

This is where we get into the realm of deep dark rumors, not official statements from Katrina. The official version is simply that her mother wanted to do good works in the world and chose to live her life in service, which is fine but not really clear. Some articles refer to her mother as a lawyer, which could also be true, but you can’t be a lawyer internationally so she wasn’t doing that as they traveled the world. What is also known is that Katrina had a large number of siblings with ages spread out over 10-15 years. That there was no father figure in her life as a child.

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Katrina and some of her sisters

Katrina’s “father” himself is a bit of a figure of myth. In an early interview, Ayesha Shroff directly says that they made him up. Katrina’s last name was “Turcote”, but she looked possibly Indian and they thought it would be good to give her an Indian backstory. So they picked the name “Kaif” based on a popular athlete of the time and made her Kashmiri. Kashmir is the area of India with the most naturally pale population, and an area that (thanks to political turmoil) it is natural to have folks that disappeared a bit. Not killed or lost, just left home and never came back. Ayesha describes picking the name at random, but since then Katrina has been very firm about her father being Kashmiri, although she has no memories of him. She has never claimed any connection to an Indian heritage, simply that her biological father was from Kashmir originally. Both these things could be true, perhaps Katrina’s father was Kashmiri, but she didn’t have a name for him or know anything about him. Ayesha helped her invent a name that sounded good to go with the simple fact she already knew, that he was Kashmiri.

The rest of Katrina’s family is not mythical, but they are private. She has said in interviews that she feels her siblings are not public figures and should not be photographed, so she requests the media and fans, when they see her with them, to wait until they are out of frame before taking photos. The exception to this is her younger sister Isabelle, who stayed with Kat in India as her assistant, appeared with her at events, and attempted an acting and modeling career. She has a small role in an English language movie produced by Salman and featuring a primarily American cast, Dr. Cabbie.

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Hey, it’s that guy from The Big Bang Theory! And Salman.

And then there is the rumor. The rumor is that Katrina’s family was part of The Family International, the cult previously called Children of God. It is a Christian based cult formed in the 1960s, which spread rapidly worldwide. They use commune houses all over the world to shuffle followers back and forth and avoid legal supervision. They are also sex friendly, and unfriendly to traditional family structures. Spouses are not necessarily encouraged to be faithful to each other, children might be separated from their parents and kept with other children. The worst stories about them revolve around sex work and child sex abuse. Followers were encouraged to use “flirty fishing”, young women were sent out to flirt with men and have sex with them in order to get them interested in the cult. And children were sexually abused by their parents and other adults around them, since all sex was supposed to be good and loving. The Family officially disavowed these practices years ago, and it is hard to know whether or not they continue. What is true is that The Family International runs group homes all over the world, actively tries to recruit new members and, once you join, your life is controlled by the cult.

This would answer several questions about Katrina’s past life. Her mother’s many children with no father present, their constant travel, Katrina’s vagueness about her memories. And her mother’s current charity work in India which is rumored to include religious proselytizing.

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Katrina when she was young with her mother.

But then, it is also just a rumor. I tracked it over the internet including on some message boards for The Family International. These are really nice message boards, set up so that people trying to escape or worried about how to save their relatives can find help. The response there was “can anyone confirm this so we can help her?” essentially. And no one could. If this were a different kind of rumor, I would say the lack of confirmation means it is false, because there would simply be too many people and too much evidence for it not to come out. But since it involves a cult, where the rules of secrecy are so extreme, it is possible for it to be true and all the many many people who know the truth of it are unable or unwilling to confirm it.

What is true is that Katrina is living her life independently now, not as part of a group home or under some sort of control, and so are many of her siblings. If there was cult life in their background, it is not there now. And if Katrina chooses not to discuss this part of her life, or not to cut her mother out for still living that life, that is her right.

It is also of course possible that her childhood was like that simply because of who her mother was. I have known women in my life who loved having many children, and loved traveling, and loved doing good, and that is what they did with their time. Perhaps Katrina’s mother felt a burning need to see the world and do things, and so as a young woman she left England. Perhaps she picked up partners as she traveled, had children with them, and then their lives lead them to separate while she remained the sole parent to her children. Perhaps as her children grew older and so did she, she decided to return to her home of London and settle. All of this could be true just as easily as The Family International version.

Mostly dipping in to Katrina’s past made me appreciate even more how far she has come, and understand better what a blessing the Hindi film industry has been to her, why she is so committed to it. She didn’t make a “new home” in India, she found her first home ever. In Salman’s family, she found the first stable family she had ever known. And her relationship with Salman was the first time she felt truly happy and safe and loved.

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That’s something else Katrina talks about in interviews, that she felt like she finally had the joy and freedom of childhood and being a teenager in her 20s in India. Ayesha Shroff, in her interview, refers to how she doesn’t want to say what Katrina was doing before she was discovered. The implication is that she was doing escort work or something similar. It could be true, or it could not be true. What I do believe is true is what Katrina says, that she never had a romantic relationship with anyone before Salman. She had a strange childhood, then she was an awkward teen who didn’t fit in, and then she started working crazy schedules as soon as she was half grown up. Living in India, having fun, being loved, she was getting back her childhood.

Maybe that is what we are seeing onscreen, that is what makes her feel special? And maybe that is what makes her special for the people who choose to work with her? This person has experienced so many strange things in life, that the normal parts of it, falling in love and having friendships and a home and parents, that is what is exciting for her. There is a strange kind of openness, naivete, and joy that comes across. She is joyfully average.

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40 thoughts on “Hindi Film 101: Katrina Kaif, the Mystery Woman

  1. I get that sad gut ache when I see her in interviews, because she it a very insecure, broken person. And, now that I’ve started watching more Salman stuff, I’m bewildered as to where the “change” happened. He seems very … untethered …? when I see him in interviews these days. Honestly, he and Kat need to settle down together and have 2 kids in quick succession. Arranged marriage!! Sometimes you don’t see what you need that everyone else can see.
    PS: Is Ranbir really as big an ass as he comes off??

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    • I can’t imagine Ranbir is as bad as he comes off, because how could anyone be that bad? Basic known facts are that he dated Deepika and she got “RK” tattooed on her neck, then they broke up and he started dating Katrina but stayed friends with Dips and her new boyfriend Ranveer. Then he left Katrina after they were publicly living together, and now he is with Alia and loves her because she makes him feel young (blech!). There’s all kinds of wild stories about him cheating on people and having multiple girlfriends and so on. But I think I can dislike him just because he is the kind of guy who has his girlfriend tattoo his initials on her neck.

      Kat has twice gone through periods of talking about marriage and children in her interviews, first back in 2008-9 when she and Salman had been together for 5 years, and then again in 2014 right before the Ranbir break-up. Reading between the lines my personal unconfirmed and based on nothing theory is that she and Salman reached a point where they loved each other too much to keep dating and either had to marry or break-up and Salman didn’t want to get married. And Kat really did, wanted a family and children and all the rest of it. And now she is just sad and has decided no one will ever love her.

      Salman has had a weird messed up life of his own, his parents’ marriage imploded in a spectacular and public fashion when he was 12-13-14 and the oldest kid, so that clearly had a big effect on him. And then with the way his career and family have turned out, he has been the head of a household raising kids and taking care of people since he was in his mid-twenties, only it was his siblings he was taking care of and then their children instead of his own children. So I can see why marriage might feel like just one more person he could be letting down and needs to take care of. Oh, also he has like 3 life-threatening health issues and could literally drop dead at any moment. Or be sentenced to jail for years. He has reasons to think that he shouldn’t get married at this point.

      But I still agree with you! Kat craves family and love and security, here is a guy who loves her to death and always has! Salman craves support and sustenance and happiness, here is a woman who always makes him happy!

      On Thu, May 30, 2019 at 1:57 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I’m going to disagree about Ranbir. He’s not a good boyfriend but how did he make Deepika get a tattoo? Even in those days, he clearly said in interviews that he does not believe in tattoos and would never get one. Deepika did whatever she wanted to do. It’s strange to blame Ranbir for it.

        I also don’t think Salman is a good partner to Katrina. He did offer her some stability (anything would be stable compared to what she had lived through) but there were always rumors of abuse. Stories about Salman slapping Katrina are still available online. If you watch their Bharat interviews, he is so condescending towards her that it makes you feel sorry for her. With 20 unsettled court cases still going on, who would consider Salman a good partner for Katrina or for anyone? He is saying openly everywhere that he wants children but not the mother that comes with them. Kat deserves better than to be stuck with someone who has so little value for women. Besides that, he has a girlfriend who he has been living with for years now.

        Katrina will find someone who loves her as long as she opens her eyes and looks elsewhere other than at the leading actors she works with.

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        • Well, then there’s the Vicky Kaushal theory. Although I still want Aditya Roy Kapoor more than Vicky, Vicky’s Dad has gross stuff in his past, with ARK she would have Vidya as a sister-in-law.

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          • What is the vicky theory?

            What about ali abhas zafar? She frequently claims he’s her closest friend.

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          • She and Vicky are/were supposed to co-star in something and were seen going around together, so people thought they might be dating. He’s younger, talented, hot, and seems generally nice, so that could be good for her.

            I like Ali Abbas Zafar for her! He made her look so good in the movies he made with her, like he actually likes her and understands what will make other people like her too. Plus, it feels healthy to have one in front of the camera and one behind, doesn’t it? I can’t find anything about his personal life, but he does have a beard, so I approve of that.

            On Thu, May 30, 2019 at 3:49 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. Great post. I was one of the people who asked for this but somehow my post came across as annonymous. I find Katrina’s life fascinating. I also found this article interesting about Katrina’s mother’s work in Tamil Nadu. https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/society/a-story-of-love/article4580908.ece?fbclid=IwAR0xp3xVNf_ttkOvIRnoHx4Zz7iwiu-eVUe1brewln3MUqkSLp202VFEcpg. She and her partner also started and work regularly at the Mountain View School in Tamil Nadu for the rural poor to bring quality English-medium education to impoverished villagers for whom such education is unaffordable. I think her mother teaches art there.

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    • I am a little nervous about her mother’s charity work. Somehow it feels slightly self-serving in an odd way? That much service work, without any official organization involved, I don’t know. Feels odd.

      If nothing else, Katrina’s drive to take care of her siblings makes me think that her mother was not the most stable and steady parent she could have been.

      On Thu, May 30, 2019 at 3:14 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      Liked by 1 person

  3. What a moving story. I’m so glad she is in a safe and secure place now, even if she hasn’t found a life partner yet. Hoping it will happen for her. It took Preity a while, but seems to have worked out beautifully! In her Zero promotional interviews I felt like she was practicing “radical candor” which has become a buzzword in my place of work these days. I don’t really know what it means, but it’s something like, show up at work as your whole self, don’t hide those parts that you think are weird or awkward.

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    • I was surprised reading her old interviews with how honest she was in some of them. One of the interviews talked about how she was slow to open up, even had her assistant stay in the room at first because if it was just the same old questions, her assistant would answer for her. But once she convinced her to send everyone else away, Kat was open and honest and articulate. So maybe it’s not so much that she is being more honest now as being more confident? More aggressive about making her voice heard?

      And I hope she finds a life partner too! I don’t think everyone needs one, but she has said so many times over the years in so many ways how much she wants marriage and kids, and even now she is saying that but that she has given up hope. I really want her to have what she wants, if that is what she wants, instead of just thinking life has passed her by.

      On Thu, May 30, 2019 at 4:49 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  4. I feel like she dodged a bullet with Ranbir. Short term might feel like she gave up a lot but Neetu and Rishi Kapoor can be hard to deal with (along with Ranbir’s commitment issues). I sense a rehash of the Bachchans circa 2007 when they felt no one around was good enough for their son.
    Salman is so weird, he wants a relationship with no expectations. Like Anon said his statements about wanting a kid but not wanting the mother that comes along is strange. This is more than commitment phobia.

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    • If she can find someone who gives her support and love and acceptance and all those good things, and keep the wonderful family she has found with Salman’s family, that would make me happy. And I am sure it is possible, she’s such a nice person, why won’t someone love her?

      On Thu, May 30, 2019 at 6:03 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  5. I find this quote very moving. The need to provide security for her sisters. “My mother never planned materially for the future. But I feel the need to stabilize myself. I need physical security — I can’t roam around and say, oh, we’ll all be fine. I need to work on building security for my sisters for sure. I could not go to film school, but I want to ensure my sister can.”
    I have new found respect for her.

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    • Me too! There is nothing to be ashamed of in working for the money, especially if you need the money for your family.

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  6. That Children of God story sounds plausible to me. I live in Los Angeles and know a lot of people who were involved in culty things here (it’s everywhere in La La Land) and there’s a weird naivete/idealism combined with disillusionment and an inability to relate well to ordinary people (because they never learned how to). I hope Katrina finds someone but she may just have no clue how to connect to a loving respectful partner. Salman’s history of abuse (even if he never abused Katrina) completely disqualifies him as a decent partner and Ranbir is a jerk so clearly her picker is off.

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    • Could it also be that she was drawn to people who had as odd and dysfunctional childhoods as hers? Ranbir survived his father’s abuse and alcoholism (typical childhood memory described in an interview, “I remember hiding in bed covering my ears so I couldn’t hear the fights all night”), and Salman’s childhood was as strange (typical childhood memory, “My mother cried for two years without stopping after my father married again”). Maybe she just feels comfortable with people who also have a bit of oddness in their past? But surely there is someone out there who had a sad childhood and then got therapy and is now a completely healthy person and a good partner who would be good with her?

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    • The Children of God story is correct. There was an article about the cult in a UK paper once and it had quotes from Katrina’s sister. I think she changed her name at some point.

      Another sister was a porn actress. There are pictures and videos floating around online. There was a name change there too.

      Katrina’s family has had a very difficult childhood and she deserves credit for pulling herself out of that and making something of herself. I think she is drawn to the typical Indian family with lots of relatives and joint living. Hopefully she finds what she wants one day.

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      • She also deserves credit for working to pull her sisters out of it with her. From other cult stories I have heard, that’s one of the hardest things, figuring out a way to get your family out one by one, both financially and emotionally. I ran across the porn story as well, and it seems probably legitimate. And makes me lean a little more towards believing the escort possibility, or something similarly sketchy, for Kat. And again, seems like it could tie in to the cult story, if she hit 17-18 and wanted to get out but had no skills or training, some variation on sex work might have been the best option for her. Very impressive to go from that to being a legitimate movie star.

        I was thinking with her being drawn to Salman’s family that his family has kind of cult-y elements. They are loving, accepting, have people moving in and out of the space all the time, immediately welcome folks as part of the family. All the good parts that draw people to those kinds of communities, without the strict rules and philosophy and exclusion of outsiders and stuff.

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      • I didn’t know about the cult possibility but agreed that it scans for me. If you have a childhood that involves moving around a lot, that might cause you to compartamentalize more, and it might be hard to talk about in a way that other people who don’t share that experience can understand, but it wouldn’t cause you to shut those years off inside of yourself altogether. If your childhood experiences involved abuse or being unsafe, on the other hand, that might cause you to not want to go back there in your mind, which sounds more like what she describes in her interview.

        It also clicks with how she approaches her career – very practical, but not especially interested in playing roles that cause her to have to unearth difficult emotions. Like maybe being OK with playing simple roles without much depth to them, where screen presence and physical grace is more important than acting chops, is as much an emotional decision as a financial one. She did say after Zero that she was glad people responded well to the performance but she wasn’t especially interested in doing more dark roles like that. And…maybe this is a piece of why she seemed so closed off in JTHJ. She was asked to play essentially a religious zealot, whose beliefs take precedence over her human feelings. Maybe it wasn’t just lack of experience, maybe that was specifically for her a difficult emotional place to be asked to go into.

        I’ll stop now, because it does feel icky to be speculating about information that she hasn’t chosen to confirm publicly. Intriguing story, though, thanks for pulling together the info.

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        • Now that I think about the roles where I feel she has done really remarkable performances, they are the ones where she is saving others from that darkness. Ek Tha Tiger, New York, even Mere Brother Ki Dulhan in a way, she is the one who reaches out and pulls other people out of places where they feel trapped and sad. It sounds like that is who she is in real life for her siblings, and sometimes for Salman, maybe that is what she connects with in characters? Her character in Jab Tak Hain Jaan never really got to show that side, was always the fragile one being rescued instead of the warm one reaching out to rescue others.

          I still haven’t seen the film New York, but I remember the first time I saw this song really feeling like I saw a new side of Katrina:

          On Fri, May 31, 2019 at 3:37 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  7. Interesting read! I am not a big fan of speculating people’s back stories, but I enjoyed reading your take on her life. I think Katrina is pretty much symbolic of all the other non-Indian actresses who have made it big in Bollywood or the other Indian industries, they all seem like they have little to no family connections, or at-least hide their private lives so well, so fans and the Indian media is left with nothing else but to speculate and sensationalise their private lives. On a side note, I think Katrina looks like a spitting image of Wonder Woman as the comics portray her, personally I reckon she would’ve been a better choice than Gal Gadot for DC,lol.

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    • I was struck by the similarities between Helen, Nadia Wadia, and Katrina. I am sure there are others, women who went through terrible times and lost everything, and then were able to start fresh in Hindi film.

      On Thu, May 30, 2019 at 11:11 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  8. Thats a very interesting read.I feel like Katrina has matured over the years in so many ways and the Katrina we see now(on/offscreen) is more and more like the real version.I also she hope gets together with Ali Abbaz,he has spectacularly showcased her in New York and Tiger movies, like noone else has.That her whole life is around movies maybe why she is not connecting with any potential suitors outside movies.It feel like Salman Khan is her real family & may come as a baggage attached for anyone trying to date Katrina.Not many self respecting guys would want to be subject to that,unless they are looking for a chance to get launched like his brother-in-law.For a proven star,would he want to risk the chance of a confrontation(at any given point)with Salman,given how Salman can be condescending and shoot his mouth off for no apparent reasons.Somehow amongst all the well sorted(outwardly at least),ambitious,smart ass actresses,Katrina with her broken past, uncertain future & vast experience looks zen like.

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    • That’s really interesting, thinking about Salman as baggage. You’re right, he is always going to be there, looking over the shoulder of whoever she marries or dates or is friends with. That’s a lot to ask of a guy, accepting a powerful scary ex-boyfriend will always be a big part of your girlfriend’s life.

      On Thu, May 30, 2019 at 11:45 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  9. I never really knew her personality because it never seemed super “in your face” but now I can see that she’s very honest which is nice to see. I like her interviews, she doesn’t pretend to be super ambitious about her acting or think she can be #1 in terms of talent but accepts that she wants to make a living. And she does have screen presence. It’s nice to see a deeper thinker who thinks about how the public perceives her and what she’s actually like (in that 2010 interview)

    I think she could definitely get married, it’s all in the mindset. I think that if she seriously wants to she should maybe socialize more and try to meet some businessmen, not just Indian ones. If she’s positive she’ll meet a lot of people. If she thinks there’s no chance, then she probably won’t meet anyone. Don’t think there’s another actor she could be with and like MKP said the Salman closeness, thats a good point. I think outside of Bollywood is her best bet and it’s not “too late” at all. She could go back to the UK for a bit and try to meet people, maybe her agent or sister or someone could arrange a date or something.

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    • Someone else mentioned Preity, and that’s what worked for her. Took a year or two off, visited her brother, met a nice normal non-famous and non-powerful guy who loves her. On the other hand, it feels like Kat really thinks of Bombay as her home and might not want to give that up. So she needs to meet a nice normal non-famous and non-powerful guy who would be okay living in Bandra with her and spending all the holidays with Salman and his family. Hmm.

      On Fri, May 31, 2019 at 5:10 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  10. Katrina is popular because of her unusual looks(the whole white woman fantasy) and amazing dancing skills.She’s definitely more popular with men than women.Her acting skills are limited and she’s good if paired with an excellent actor opposite her.She has enough manipulative skills that she can scheme with the best of them for the best roles. I don’t criticize it- in the same way I don’t find anything wrong with Bollywood insiders using their connections to launch their children.You’ve got to work with whatever you have.Coming back to Katrina, I respect her for being a private person and not oversharing on social media.Which is something she has in common with Ranbir.As for Ranbir, putting all the blame on him for their relationship not working seems unfair.

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    • The Ibiza pictures with Ranbir became viral because they were caught redhanded. No more fudging and “we’re just good friends.” Nothing to do with Kat’s skimpy bikini or unmarried couple taking a vacation together.Indian public is remarkably blase about those things with regard to Bollywood stars.Anyone remember Akshay-Twinkle vacations back in the day when he was dating women right and left?

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      • So it was the anger at them having lied to the public about their relationship status for so long?

        On Fri, May 31, 2019 at 12:48 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • I realized while I was writing this that I could write a similarly sympathetic post about Ranbir. When I look at one person like this and try to get into their head, I always see things from their side. I can believe that from both Ranbir and Kat’s side, the other was at fault for the end of the relationship. And heck, Ranbir’s family background and childhood are tragic enough that they can explain a lot of behavior.

      Somehow I don’t have an impression of Katrina scheming for roles. For one thing, everyone likes her, even her rival actresses. I can’t imagine that if she routinely got roles by “cheating” they would feel the same way. And on the other hand, she really doesn’t get the best roles. A lot of brainless heroine parts that no one of similar experience and fame would want.

      On Fri, May 31, 2019 at 12:38 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I wouldn’t say the public was angry. It was about the time Indian entertainment media was slowly acquiring paparazzi aspects and daily coverage -as opposed to weekly coverage -was slowly becoming the norm.It was just a tasty piece of gossip.That’s all.

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  11. I would not wish marriage to Salman on anyone and definitely not on Katrina. She seems like a genuinely nice person who is craving some stability and “normalcy”. I don’t think Salman is capable of either of those things. I don’t understand why his actions are so easily forgiven by women who would otherwise never forgive an abuser. We know for sure that he was emotionally and physically abusive towards Aishwarya. There are multiple stories of his bad temper. I distinctly remember a story from the 90s about how he once poured a cup of coffee (or some other drink) over the head of his then girlfriend (I think it was Somi Ali). Why should we believe that he will be respectful towards any other woman, especially a woman who is much younger than him and has a much bigger power imbalance than the Salman-Aishwarya relationship?

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    • I wonder if Kat will ever be able to find “normal”? Her life has been so strange so far, I’m not sure she could necessarily relate to someone whose life was completely normal. I like Salman for her (ignoring the abuse allegations) because his life has been a little strange two, with his father’s second marriage and all that. At least he could understand what it is like to have a childhood outsiders can’t understand. But there should still be a better option for her among the less “normal” folks who can understand what she went through.

      On Mon, Jun 3, 2019 at 6:41 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • But why would you ignore the abuse allegations? At least in the case of Aishwarya no one has denied those allegations and despite what they say today, both Somy Ali and Sanjeeta Bijlani said things at the time of their break up that are very suggestive of abuse. On top of that, he also has a drunk driving case where someone actually lost their life! Strange childhood or not, he is pretty much the poster boy of toxic masculinity. Why would you wish that on anyone? Plus, his entire family enables this “hot headed simple man driven to madness by women” narrative. Weren’t there also stories of Salman hitting or threatening to hit Katrina as well? There are way too many stories involving multiple women and witnesses (and police, in some cases) for it all to be just gossip that can be ignored. I am sure there are plenty of other men who can understand Katrina and give her the love she deserves. And even if there aren’t, she is better off being single than being with an abuser.

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        • I’d just ignore them as a thought experiment right now in the comments on the internet. We all know about them, and it tends to be the only thing that is discussed with Salman’s personal life. I just like to open up the conversation some times and look at different angles on things.

          On Mon, Jun 3, 2019 at 7:12 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Oh yeah, that’s just assumed. The way his face has puffed up and his muscles locked up in age is distinctly steroid-y. It’s another level to his health issues, you can tell that he just can’t move his torso any more.

            On Thu, Jun 6, 2019 at 6:06 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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