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August 2011
Kulraj Randhawa
The Gal from Punjab
The effervescent actress Kulraj Randhawa truly represents all things Punjabi, right from her attitude to eat hard and work harder, her abundant energy levels, to her life’s mantra that says ‘live and let live’. Last seen in the Box Office grosser of Deols, Yamla Pagla Deewana, Kulraj, who started out as a TV star, is presently reading scripts that match the status of her last film’s success.

Q: How did you get into films? Was acting your childhood passion?
Acting was never my childhood passion. I come from a family that is full of degree holders. My dad being a Ph.D. and my sister being a doctor, everyone in my family expected me to be another scholar and join their ranks. I too wanted to complete my MBA and be an entrepreneur, but as they say, fate has its own designs for people, like it did for me. I came to Mumbai because Kishore Namit Kapoor, my acting teacher convinced me to try my hand, if only just once for the experience of it all. And well, the rest is history…

Q: How did you debut into the industry?
I started my acting career with the small screen. My debut was in a show called Kareena Kareena, which used to air on Zee TV. This show went on to become a top grosser amidst the TRPs.

Q: So, without any family background in acting, you landed here?
Yes! In fact, I come from an army background and ours is a very close-knit family. There is dad, mom and an elder sister. Despite no experience in acting, no experience in the film industry, my family supported me throughout. They have been the wind under my wings always!

Q: After TV, how did you get your first break into films?
Yamla Pagla Deewana was my big filmy break that came in 2010. I had gone to meet the director of the film, Samir Karnik, who was casting for another film, when he offered me the role opposite the Deols. He said he wanted me in this role because I seemed to be the most apt one for this character.

Q: Has the transition from TV to films been easy?
Well, these are two different industries, though both are based on acting. While I certainly wanted to take this big leap from the smaller to bigger screen, there were some memorable moments in TV, for instance the episode of Kareena Kareena where Shahrukh Khan was shooting with us for that day. That was definitely a high...

Q: Being a sardarni, how are your eating habits - as hearty as the Punjabis, or were you always a conscious eater?
This community is pretty well known for their attitude of eating hard and working even harder! However, during my growing-up years, my mom made sure that I ate healthy food, which also included some bit of ghee. But during teenage, I became figure conscious and started doing my own diets and restrictions on fat and unhealthy food. I still manage to eat well and hearty, though, in moderate proportions.

Q: Have you been blessed with a slim frame constitutionally even as a kid, or were you plump?
No,I have always been usually skinny.

Q: Does being slim run in your genes or did you have to labour hard for it?
Genetically, my mother has always been thin and I resemble her type more, so luckily I don’t put on weight so easily.

Q: Being slim is one thing and being fit is quite another. When did you wake up to the need for fitness?
Thankfully, I didn’t have to do much to get into the fitness mind frame. Since childhood I was a very active, in fact, hyperactive kid. I was into sports throughout my childhood, but now of course I pay attention to my fitness, doing yoga, cardio, kick boxing, etc.

Q: What is your best kept health and fitness secret?
Be happy and let go of sorrows... there is only one life!

Q: That’s an inspiring thought process. But does it allow you to follow a diet fad too?
Yes, I do follow a diet plan to supplement my mind and body’s strength. Currently I follow the blood group diet.

Q: Talking of diets, do you believe in fad diets, or any other form of instant weight loss/gain diets?
It’s been proved in the recent times that crash dieting seriously affects your organs. I personally think that a gradual approach to diet is better.

Q: Do you subscribe to any particular way of eating as the healthiest one-vegetarian or non-vegetarian?
Well, I am a moderate non-vegetarian, but I avoid eating red meat. Fish is a better option in non-veg. But nothing beats lightly sautéed veggies… it is my all time favourite.

Q: What do you do to maintain your skin and its health?
Exercise and yoga are a boon for my skin, as I would say, for everyone’s skin. Dry fruits are an essential part of my skin’s food, these are important to maintain healthy fat content for the skin.

Q: Any skin and hair disasters you've had so far? Define your bad hair day. What’s been your worst skin and hair nightmare?
Hair and skin disasters are part of the process I guess. But hair can be really unpredictable; depending upon weather to weather… my hair can get static in cold, which is bad news. Once I had a very bad skin rash due to the pesticide in the wheat field where we were shooting. It took almost four days to go. That was a nightmare!

Q: What is the one thing you must have by your bedside? 
Hand and foot cream. And of course,water.

Q: How do you start your day in the morning?
By taking a deep breath.

Q: Are you religious, or spiritual?
Yes, I am.

Q: Do you believe in alternate fitness programs?
Yes, I believe in alternate fitness like yoga.I do it three times a week.

Q: Do you have a personal trainer or would you rather go to a gym?
A personal trainer in a well-equipped gym is ideal.

Q: What’s your take on one size as the ideal size for all people? Does ‘size zero’ mean anything to you?
Everyone is born with a specific body type, but understanding one’s type is very important. There is no one-size-fit for all… its very individual. I don’t believe in size zero.

Q: Do you believe in boot camps that have become the rage of late?
Boot camps can be a whole lot of fun.They can be a variation from the regular exercising patterns. Also, they cover the cardiovascular exercises easily, without feeling the stress.

Q: How do you keep your energy levels up?
I keep busy with various activities... basically I am a high energy individual. I don’t skip my meals and keep myself hydrated and get enough rest.

Q: What makes you tick - in terms of either people, habits, fitness, food or temperament?
All these factors contribute to our overall health. The body, mind and soul must be integrated for a wholesome existence.

Q: What’s your take on the Southern film industry? Would you consider any offer from there if you got one?
Of course! I have been getting a few offers from South, but I would like to do a great script with a good crew. Just waiting for that.

Q: Finally, what’s your happiness quotient and success mantra in life?
Live and let live!

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