We all love our share of slasher violence movies, especially if it stars badass women ripping an army of enemies to shreds with their action skills. From Uma Thurman avenging her lover in the Kill Bill series to Scarlet Johansson as Black Widow (the smoothest spy and sniper in the business), these women in Hollywood have broken the door open for female actors to not just enter but conquer this genre.
In Bollywood, one of the only recurring names that come to mind when we think of action-packed films is Katrina Kaif. When she started out in the industry, she dabbled across many streams including comedy and drama, but it was in action where she found the room to carve a niche for herself. In the first decade of her career, we were introduced to the bubbly and vivacious side of her as an actor, who could also outperform her contemporaries as a dancer. But it was only in the 2010s that we saw her come into her own as a swashbuckler. Here are the top 5 adventure films that established Katrina as the ultimate fight-sequence queen in the industry.
1. Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara
10 years ago this film was released and it went on to become a pop-culture phenomenon in India. Apart from the various things it is remembered for, it’s recognised for creating cool characters for women that took on unconventional journeys. Katrina didn’t start her action crusade from this film, but it definitely laid the foundation. She played a nomadic voyager who works as a scuba diver and lives her life to the fullest. The movie may have followed the lives of its male characters, but it was her role as Laila that did stand out. Especially in the part where she chases the love of her life on a Royal Enfield Classic 350 to confess her feelings. She’s an adrenaline junkie who savours every moment and isn’t afraid to go on big adventures, a narrative that was previously just secured for the men in the movies.
2. Ek Tha Tiger
Ek Tha Tiger was the movie that forced everyone to take notice of Katrina as the next big action star in the making. The film had all the ingredients for it – a spy for the neighboring country? Check. A girl on a secret mission that includes confidential nuclear information? Also, check. She portrayed the character of Zoya, an ISI agent who falls in love with a RAW agent Tiger (Salman Khan) while being on a national assignment. Up until now, the ladies in Bollywood action films were either the damsel who the patriotic hero had to save or the side-kick that got to throw a punch here and there. Katrina made this grey character her own.
This Hindi adaptation of Knight And Day had Katrina and Hrithik Roshan in the leading roles. Her character Harleen, in the beginning, starts off as the girl next door living in a small town, but that completely flips when Rajveer enters her life and gets her embroiled in his own drama. From then on, she comes into her own and matches Hrithik in each of his action segments. The makers of the movie made sure they used Katrina to her fullest potential, therefore you will see her jumping an equal number of buildings, firing guns from the backseat and breaking jaws with her left hook.
In this Kabir Khan directed terror-based movie, Katrina played an ex RAW agent who now has to help a former soldier Daniyal Khan (Saif Ali Khan), who is on a mission to catch the masterminds behind the infamous 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack. She as Nawaz Mistry is the silent hero of the film, as she is constantly rescuing Daniyal from situations and working as the solution provider. By now, Katrina had understood this category of films thoroughly and had found a way to level up with each of these characters in terms of actions. Driving military tanks while firing rifles had become a routine gig for her.
5. Tiger Zinda Hai
Tiger Zinda Hai is the continuation of the 2012 hit film Ek Tha Tiger. In this second edition, Salman and Katrina revive their roles but this time around they are playing for the same team. As ex-agents in marital bliss, they live a quiet life away from the world until one day, duty calls. Katrina as Zoya in this film plays a crucial part in a rescue mission and is seen pushing her limits with martial arts and other physically gruesome training to fight a battalion of men. With no body doubles or stunt artists doing it for her, Katrina body-slamming people twice her size is a treat to watch.
Although it has been fun to watch Katrina play the equal partner in crime with her larger than life male heroes, it’s about time she gets a solo action film where she’s saving the day all on her own.