British-born actress Katrina Kaif has delivered six back-to-back hits, bagged several brand endorsements and is now a highly sought after heroine - all the qualities needed to be crowned the reigning actress in Bollywood, say film critics.
"Katrina has immensely evolved as an actress. In Bollywood, actors are mostly known for the number of hits that they can deliver. Katrina has won in that respect hands down. She can undoubtedly be called a lucky mascot for her producers," popular film critic Taran Adarsh said over phone from Mumbai.
After wowing audiences in the recently released romantic comedy Singh Is Kinng opposite Akshay Kumar, Katrina has successfully displaced top-rung actors, including Kareena Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai and Priyanka Chopra.
Her success story started with Namastey London and continued with Apne, Partner, Welcome, Race and now Singh Is Kinng.
"Last year was simply fantastic and this year is the same. I would like to thank god. I believe in enjoying doing the work I'm doing. It is also good to know that the hard work I have put in has shown result. I will continue to do so," Katrina said.
The 24-year-old star ventured into Bollywood in 2003 and was instantly written off because of her strong British accent. But after five years of hard work and determination, she is one of the most sought after actresses in the Hindi film industry.
Her next is Subhash Ghai's Yuvraaj, which is about the arrogance and overconfidence of contemporary youth. Set to release in October, critics are confident that Katrina has another hit on the anvil in Yuvraaj.
Mumbai-based film critic Anupama Chopra says there are high expectations from Katrina's performance in the movie.
"Katrina has had a fortunate choice of films" even though she "had a rather unfortunate start with Boom," Chopra said.
"She is a stunning looking actress and so far she is doing well with her glam doll image. We did see glimpses of an actor in her performance-oriented roles such as in Namastey London," Chopra explained.
Katrina is one of eight siblings, all girls. Her mother is British and her father is from Jammu and Kashmir who has since acquired British citizenship.
The actress spent her formative years in Hawaii but later moved to London. She started modelling accidentally when she was in Hawaii at the age of 14. Thereafter, she continued modelling in London till she moved to Mumbai in quest of a career in the world's largest film industry.
She has also moved on to bigger banners and has teamed up with John Abraham and Neil Mukesh for a Yash Raj Films' project. Apart from that, she will be seen in Rajkumar Santoshi's next film, Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani, with Ranbir Kapoor.
Besides spinning gold at the box office, Katrina also has an assorted line-up of brand endorsements. These include Nakshatra diamond jewellery and Veet hair removal cream among others.
The actress created waves when she replaced Aishwarya Rai as the brand ambassador of Nakshatra last month, besides bagging the crown of being the most downloaded Indian actress in cyber space.
"Katrina is the perfect representation of the young, trendy and fashionable woman that Nakshatra targets. We feel that Katrina lends a refreshing look to the brand. We are excited about having her on board as the new face for Nakshatra," said Mehul Choksi, chairman, Gitanjali Group and Nakshatra.
Though the actress has acquired a star status in a short span, critics feel that she needs to work on more performance-based roles.
Said Chopra: "Katrina needs to evolve and emerge out of her glamorous image."