Saif & I respect my past: Bebo

BOLLYWOOD: She honoured her promise to take time out for a chat at Le Meridien, and in that chat, there were no unanswered questions, no matter how personal the subject. Bebo’s in a happy bubble of her own, it seems.

She doesn’t mind questions on Shahid Kapur, for instance. Do Shahid conversations make her unhappy? “Not at all!” Bebo smiles serenely. “And that’s because I respect my past. Both Saif and I respect my past. Shahid is a wonderful human being and it’s extremely sad that things couldn’t work out. I don’t think that there’s anything much to say, but the fact is that I’ve been left with some wonderful memories. I’ll cherish them forever,” says Kareena. So she doesn’t think much about rumours linking Shahid to his female co-stars? “Why should they? That’s my past,” she repeats.

Other things have happened in the past - like current beau Saif Ali Khan visiting her, or vice versa, when they’re away from each other. How come he wasn’t with her on this visit to Delhi? “This time he’s working. He’s also a producer now and busy with his film Love Aaj Kal with Imtiaz Ali. Besides, he doesn’t need to come everywhere. I mean, we spend enough time together. We take out a lot of time for each other. That’s important,” she says.

Marriage is not, though - important, we mean. She’s called marriage with Saif “just a formality” in the past. Is she going to move in with him? “Not right now. We travel a lot and we’re together pretty often. Besides, work takes up most of our time.” And what about the references to her as chhoti begum? “About chhoti begum ... I honestly feel it’s something we should save for a little later. Both Saif and I are working right now, and of course, I look forward to a wonderful future with Saif, but nothing is decided. Marriage? Not for two years,” she answers.

And tattoos? Never! “Saif doesn’t like women with tattoos. He feels that a woman is too pristine and pure to mark herself that way. I believe in the same thing. And I think he knows how much I love him ... ,” says Kareena.

So does the rest of the world, but bindaas Bebo’s on a roll, and seems to have no problems with that either. She says she and Saif have an “added responsibility”, as couples look up to them and their out-in-the-open relationship. “I’ve always been open about my relationships and my work. Saif comes from a very affluent family and a family associated with sports. Sports stands for a lot of integrity and honour. Both of us connect on that level. And I guess we’re trying to fulfil that in public. The audience, fans and the media should know what they should know, and I think we know where to draw the line. So they don’t know where I go on holiday with Saif, but they know that we do go on holidays,” says Kareena.

Another thing everyone knows is that she’s doing the opening act at a soon-to-be-held awards ceremony, but she doesn’t know that Shahid and Priyanka Chopra (her ex’s current purported flame) are doing an act too for their forthcoming Kaminay. “I’ve no idea. I didn’t know that. I really don’t get into what other people do. I’m interested in my work, my stuff, I’m always the last person to ask who, what, where. My monies are met, whatever I want is fulfilled and that is why I’m going to the awards ceremony. There’s no other reason.”

And what’s the reason behind the buzz that things are shaky in her Sudhir Mishra film, Dhruv?

The dates are actually not working out. There’s Stepmom with Kajol and me that I’ve said yes to. Agent Vinod, my film with Saif, was always on priority because I had signed it first. But due to the multiplex issue, Saif is not being able to release Love Aaj Kal on time and so, Agent Vinod can’t be started on time, and hence all my dates get pushed by three months. I’ve told Sudhir that I won’t be able to start the film for the next 9-10 months. If they want to wait for me, they’re welcome to and if not, they can carry on with whoever they like, because Agent Vinod is my priority . Then, maybe some other film together,” she says.

But she hasn’t done a lot of ‘alternative’ cinema post Chameli, has she?

Yes, not apart from Omkara. But all my films this year are performance-oriented. There’s the tentatively titled Qurbaan with Saif, one of the finest roles I’ve been offered after Jab We Met. Then there’s 3 Idiots with Raju and Aamir, Kambakkht Ishq – the totally commercial film with me doing a wonderful fun role. Then there’s Agent Vinod, with an extremely thrilling role for a girl. And there’s also KJo’s Stepmom, where I essay Julia Roberts’ role. Main Aur Mrs Khanna is complete too. Everything in these films is designed to make my role special, otherwise I wouldn’t be a part of them,” she says.

Was it special working with Hollywood biggies in Kambakkht Ishq too?

Sylvester Stallone and Denise Richards are great people. Kambakkht Ishq is a fun film. You can’t go in expecting to see the greatest film. It’s going to be a potboiler. Go with a big bag of popcorn and enjoy the locations and costumes,” she says. But while on Hollywood, did she refuse Chimera with Billy Zane? “Yes, I was offered a film with Billy Zane or someone in it. But you know what? I’m not ready for that. My hands are full with interesting films here, where my role is a central one. I’m happy doing the kind of work I’m doing here right now. Hollywood is not for me just now. People may be vying to go there, I’m not. I want to be the best here. I’m working towards that. I work 18 hours a day for my endorsements, performance and films, because all this is really important to me,” says Kareena.

In-laws are important too – how was her family time with Saif’s mum, Sharmila Tagore? Before going to the Cannes film fest, Sharmila had said that she was looking forward to spending some time with Kareena and Saif, who were going to be holidaying in Italy then. “That didn’t happen. She was in London and Saif and I were in Italy. We weren’t able to meet,” says Kareena. But Sharmila was definitely planning some family time? Adds Kareena, “Yeah, but we didn’t go to London. Our dates didn’t match.”No that it bothers Bebo.