Katrina Kaif (pronounced [kəˈʈriːnaː ˈkɛːf]; born Katrina Turquotte on 16 July 1983) is a British Indian film actress and model. She is primarily known for her work in Bollywood films, though has also appeared in Telugu and Malayalam films. She has achieved popularity due to her physical beauty, and for being one of India's highest-paid actresses.
After a successful modelling career, Kaif made her acting debut in 2003, with a role in Kaizad Gustad's box office bomb Boom, after which she was initially written off. She consequently appeared in a Telugu film—the hit romantic comedy Malliswari. Kaif later earned commercial success in Bollywood with the romantic comedies Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya? and Namastey London. She followed it with glamorous roles in a series of box office hits, though was criticised for having little to do in male-centric films like Partner (2007), Welcome (2007) and Singh Is Kinng (2008).
The 2009 terrorism drama New York marked a turning point in her career, earning her praise as well as a Filmfare Best Actress nomination. She subsequently featured in more prominent roles in hit films like Raajneeti (2010), Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011) and Mere Brother Ki Dulhan (2011) and Ek Tha Tiger (2012). She has also featured in the action thriller Dhoom 3 (2013), which emerged as the highest-grossing Bollywood film 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.
Katrina Kaif was born on 16 July 1983 in Hong Kong to a Kashmiri father, Mohammed Kaif, and an English mother, Susanna Turquotte, who is a British citizen. Her parents divorced when she was very young. Kaif once stated, "My dad, unfortunately, and not out of choice, has had no influence on our upbringing, on our religious or social or moral bearings." When she came to India, she changed her surname to that of her father's, Kaif, because it was Indian in origin.
Furthermore, Ayesha Shroff, producer of her first film, has maintained that the actress's original name is Katrina Turquotte. She also claims that they gave her the Indian father and also the surname Kaif after cricketer Mohammad Kaif as he was on top at that time. She adds that they also had thought her naming Katrina Kazi. Kaizad Gustad, director of her first film Boom, maintains that Kaif was a name he conjured up after Katrina was selected at an audition at a Pali Hill hotel in Mumbai.
From Hong Kong, she and her family moved to China, and then to Japan. From there she went to France when she was 8, and thereafter lived for a few months at a time in Switzerland, Poland, Germany, Belgium, and other European countries. Then she moved with her family to Hawaii and eventually to her mother's home country of England. Although it is often assumed that Kaif is from London, she lived there only for three years before moving to Mumbai. As a British citizen, she works in India on an employment visa.
Kaif's personal life, including her romantic relationships, has been a great subject to the media. After years of speculations Katrina Kaif admitted in a 2011 magazine interview that she had been in a serious relationship with actor Salman Khan for several years, which ended in 2010.
The year 2007 brought about a change in Kaif's acting career, when she appeared in four films, all of which were successful at the box office. In an interview with Businessofcinema.com
, Kaif opined that her starring role in Vipul Shah's romantic comedy Namastey London marked an important milestone.
After a string of films in which she was cast merely for her glamour quotient, Kaif's role in the 2009 terrorism drama New York brought her recognition for her acting. The Kabir Khan-directed film narrated the story of three friends and how their lives are changed when one of them is wrongly detained after 9/11. Cast alongside John Abraham, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Irrfan Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Kaif portrayed the character of Maya, a college student who is later married to a terrorist. On her role, Kaif remarked that she identified with Maya as she felt similar isolation whilst growing up in London because of her skin colour. Kaif further opined that she had "played the arm candy in one too many films in the past" and was looking to work in more "performance oriented" films like New York. The film did well at the box office and received positive reviews. Subhash K. Jha mentions that Kaif "comes into her own as an actress of substance," adding that "[f]rom the carefree effervescent campus girl to the anguished wife, Katrina makes the journey look plausible all the way." New York earned Kaif her first Filmfare nomination for Best Actress. She also appeared in a cameo for India's first underwater thriller Blue.