2019 marks 16 years since Katrina Kaif made her Bollywood debut in Kaizad Gustad’s forgettable 2003 film Boom. While her dance numbers in films such as Race (‘Zara Zara Touch Me’) and Tees Maar Khan (‘Sheila Ki Jawani’) were what first got audiences’ attention, over the years, she has climbed her way to the top despite criticism of her acting. Most recently, Katrina won praise for her role as Kumum, aka Madam-Sir, which she played opposite Salman Khan in Bharat.
As the actor turns celebrates her 36th birthday, here’s looking back at some of her best performances.
While the Shah Rukh Khan-starrer bombed at the box office, Katrina’s honest performance as the actor Babita was uniformly praised by critics. Though she featured only in a handful of scenes, she aced her role as a vulnerable, cynical celebrity who battles alcoholism and forms a relationship of empathy with SRK’s Bauaa.
Despite Salman Khan’s star power, some of the most memorable scenes in Bharat featured Katrina Kaif who plays Kumud, aka Madam-Sir, a government official. “Kaif is one of the few actors on the planet who can elicit even a flicker of genuine emotion from Khan. She delivered the best performance in the 2018 dud Zero, and she exudes charm and confidence as Kumud, a kinky-haired government official who steals Bharat’s heart and tells him off when nobody else can,” wrote critic Nandini Ramnath of her performance.
Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011)
The Zoya Akhtar directorial features one of Katrina’s most natural performances. The actor plays Laila, a free-spirited deep sea diving instructor who helps Hrithik’s uptight character learn to loosen up and live a little. She effectively holds her own amidst the film’s largely male protagonists - Abhay Deol, Farhan Akthar and Hrithik Roshan.
A departure from her usually glamorous avatars, Katrina Kaif plays a politician with her character loosely based on Congress leader Sonia Gandhi. She reportedly spent time with Priyanka Gandhi to prep for her role. One of the stand-out moments from the film was when she delivered a lengthy political speech that to a crowd.
Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani (2009)
The 2009 rom-com stars Ranbir Kapoor as a happy go lucky Prem and Katrina as his love interest Jenny. The film is zany and often improbable, but Katrina’s performance is endearing enough to stick it out to the end.
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