Katrina Kaif (pronounced [kəˈʈriːnaː ˈkɛːf], born Katrina Turquotte; 16 July 1983) is a British-Indian film actress and model. Primarily known for her work in Bollywood films, Kaif has also appeared in Telugu and Malayalam films. In addition to being one of Bollywood’s highest-paid actresses, she is considered one of India’s most attractive celebrities by the media.
Born in British Hong Kong, Kaif and her family lived in several countries before she moved to India. She received her first modelling assignment as a teenager and later pursued a career as a fashion model. At a fashion show in London, filmmaker Kaizad Gustadspotted Kaif and decided to cast her in Boom (2003), a critical and commercial failure. While filming in India, Kaif received modelling assignments and established a successful modelling career. However, filmmakers were hesitant to cast her due to her poor command of Hindi. After appearing in the Telugu film, Malliswari (2004), Kaif earned commercial success in Bollywood with the romantic comedies Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya? (2005) and Namastey London (2007). She followed with a series of box-office hits, but was criticised for her acting, repetitive roles and inclination to male-dominated films.
Kaif’s performance in the 2009 terrorism drama New York was better received, earning her a Filmfare Award for Best Actressnomination. After roles in Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani (2009), Raajneeti (2010) and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011), she received her second Filmfare nomination for her performance in Mere Brother Ki Dulhan (2011). Kaif featured in the thrillers Ek Tha Tiger(2012) and Dhoom 3 (2013), both of which rank among the highest-grossing Bollywood films of all time. Despite receiving mixed reviews from critics for her acting prowess, she has established herself as a commercially successful actress of Hindi cinema.
In addition to acting, Kaif is involved with her mother’s charity and participates in stage shows. She is guarded about her personal life, which is a subject of media scrutiny. Her background has also been a topic of discussion, with some sources accusing her of fabricating her history.
atrina Kaif was born in Hong Kong with her mother’s surname Turquotte (also spelt Turcotte), on 16 July 1983.[a]According to the actress, her father (Mohammed Kaif) is a British businessman of Kashmiri descent and her mother (Suzanne, also spelt Susanna) is an English lawyer and charity worker. She has seven siblings: three older sisters (Stephanie, Christine and Natasha), three younger sisters (Melissa, Sonia, Isabel) and an older brother, Michael. Isabel Kaif is also a model and actress. Kaif’s parents divorced when she was a child, and her father moved to the United States. She said her father had no influence on Kaif or her siblings while they were growing up, and they were raised by their mother. On her father’s absence in her life, Kaif stated: “When I see friends who have wonderful fathers who are like pillars of support for their families, I say, if only I had that. But instead of complaining, I should be grateful for all the other things I have”. In a 2009 interview with The Indian Express, she said she was not in touch with her father.
Kaif says that her mother decided to “dedicate her life to social causes”, which led to the family’s relocation to a number of countries for varying lengths of time:
Our transitions in growing up were—from Hong Kong where I was born, to China, then to Japan, and from Japan by boat to France … After France, Switzerland—and I’m cutting out many East European countries where we were for only a few months each—then Poland in Kraków … After that we went to Belgium, then to Hawaii, which was a short time, and then came to London.
Due to their frequent relocation, Kaif and her siblings were home-schooled by a series of tutors. Although she is thought to have grown up in London, she lived there for only three years before moving to India. According to Kaif, she then changed her surname to her father’s because she thought it would be easier to pronounce.
Kaif’s paternal parentage has been questioned by some members of the film industry. In a 2011 interview with Mumbai Mirror, Boom producer Ayesha Shroff accused Kaif of fabricating her history: “We created an identity for her. She was this pretty young English girl, and we gave her the Kashmiri father and thought of calling her Katrina Kazi. We thought we’d give her some kind of Indian ancestry, to connect with the audience … But then we thought that Kazi sounded too … religious? … Mohammad Kaif was at the top, and so we said, Katrina Kaif sounds really great”. Kaif called Shroff’s comments “hurtful”.
Modelling and film debut (to 2003)
At the age of fourteen, Kaif won a beauty contest in Hawaii, and received her first modelling assignment in a jewellery campaign. She subsequently modelled professionally in London, working for freelance agencies and appearing regularly at London Fashion Week. At a fashion show Kaif attracted the attention of London-based filmmaker Kaizad Gustad. He selected her for a role in the English-Hindi erotic heist film Boom as part of an ensemble cast that included Amitabh Bachchan, Gulshan Grover, Jackie Shroff, Madhu Sapre and Padma Lakshmi. While filming in India, Kaif received other offers and decided to stay in the country. In 2003, she received notice as a model after walking the ramp for Rohit Bal at the India Fashion Week and appeared in the first Kingfisher Calendar. Kaif soon established a successful modelling career in India after endorsing brands such as Coca-Cola, LG, Fevicol and Samsung.
Kaif’s career as a model led to anticipation surrounding her Bollywood debut. Boom (2003) had its first screening at the Cannes Film Festival, and was heavily promoted at the event. Boom was a commercial and critical failure. Kaif’s enactment of a supermodel ensnared in the Mumbai underworld was poorly received, with Ziya U. Salam ofThe Hindu attributing the weak performances of the film’s leading ladies to “the vacuity of their expressions”. Hindustan Times reported that after Boom ’s release, Kaif was written off due to her poor Hindi and thick British accent. She later dismissed the film: “I don’t count Boom among important happenings in my life. When I signed this film, I didn’t know much about India and its film audience”. Although Kaif was offered a number of modelling assignments, filmmakers were hesitant to cast her because of her poor command of Hindi. In one instance, Mahesh Bhatt replaced her with Tara Sharma in Saaya (2003) as he found her an “inconsistent performer”. Subsequently, Kaif began working on her diction through Hindi classes.