In an exclusive chat with BollywoodLife the effervescent young star opened up on her idea of Shuddh Desi Romance
Parineeti means destiny. And destined she was, to achieve name, fame and accolades in B-town within the span of two short years. When Parineeti Chopra returned to Mumbai when the recession hit her banking job in London, little did she know that her life would turn upside down so soon. “I was a banker in London. I studied finance, economics and business administration there. In 2011, I could not get a job in recession-hit Britain, so I returned to Mumbai and started working as a public relations consultant with Yash Raj Films,” recounted the 24-year-old, as we settled down for this interview at Yash Raj Studios in Mumbai, just ahead of her new movie Shuddh Desi Romance co-starring Sushant Singh Rajput and newbie Vaani Kapoor. “After working as a PR executive I realised that acting was my true calling and I wanted to study acting abroad. I even quit my job to persue further education in film, but thanks to a stroke of luck, movies happened,” explained Parineeti.
Pari is two films old, but it feels like the young star has been around for a while. Onscreen she looks poised, effortless and self-assured, and off it, she is vocal, unassuming and absolutely uninhibited. In an engaging conversation with BL Parineeti discussed her new-found fame, her new movies and why she thinks that cousin Priyanka Chopra is not a rival….
From public relations to acting – how did the switch happen?
I think I have found my true calling. I didn’t know what I was doing all these years. Even before I decided to quit my job, somehow director Maneesh Sharma and Aditya Chopra had made up their minds that they wanted to cast me in Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl. I was working with Yash Raj Films (YRF) in their Marketing and Public Relations department. I wanted to quit my job and wanted to learn acting, but had no clue that my career will start from YRF itself. I have not planned anything, but I am living my dream now. My name ‘Parineeti’ means ‘destiny’ and this was destined to happen.
Your film Shuddh Desi Romance is releasing alongside your cousin Priyanka Chopra’s Zanjeer 2.0? Are you competing with PeeCee?
No way! It’s only when the media pits us against each other that we actually realise that we are in the same profession, but there’s no competition between us. My bonding with Priyanka is indescribable. We grew up together until she went off to America to study. But these days we hardly even meet. And when we bump into each other – like we did at a recent reality show – we discuss anything and everything but films.
What is Shuddh Desi Romance all about?
The film is about lovers who don’t follow any rules. My character Gayatri in Shuddh Desi Romance has been into relationships. She takes her relationships casually; she’s cool about having many affairs, but at the same time she believes in the importance of relationships and the people she is attached to. But she’s not a loose character either. In fact, Gayatri has many shades to her colourful personality.
Parineeti Chopra comes across as vocal, at times loud and even overtly expressive. Are you trying to be intimidating?
My co-actors, especially those who know me well, like me for being vocal and expressive. They respect the choices I make and they also respect my point of view. I don’t think anybody has any problem with me on that front.
Were you as confident even before breaking into the industry?
In fact, Maneesh (Sharma) thought that I looked over-confident while I was shooting for my first film. I did my first shot in the first take. When I was shooting for Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl I was not nervous at all. I felt like I was shooting for my tenth movie. There was something within me that said yes, you could do it. I remember Rani Mukerji had told me once that when she would go to acting school there would be some gadbad or some blunder happening all the time, but during her mahurat shot she was confident. Even I felt the same.
The characters you played in Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl and Ishaqzaade bear close resemblance to your off screen persona – that’s the impression we get. Will you try to break that image?
No, I am not my regular self in Shuddh Desi Romance. In the promos or in the songs, you may get that impression. In fact, in Shuddh Desi Romance and even in Hasee Toh Phasee, my characters are very different from what I am like in my personal space. In fact, while shooting for Shuddh Desi.. I was bit unsure, as my character has many different layers.
So didn’t you get the same ‘I can do it’ feeling?
I think because the character was very difficult to play, I was not that confident. The challenge was to create a new person that I’m not! So we had to do many workshops for me to be able to play this character, Gayatri.
Priyanka is making waves with her albums. We hear that you too have expressed a keen interest in singing for your films…
One day I will sing, for sure. Everybody in our family is a singer. In fact, I am a trained singer, Priyanka is not. I have learnt Hindustani classical music from Pracheen Kalakendra in Chandigarh. I have performed live during all my growing years. Be it ghazals, classics or Bollywood songs, I have sung it all. But Priyanka is a brilliant singer, I must say.
Barely two years in the industry and after just a couple of films, Parineeti is very popular. How do you enjoy this sudden success?
I don’t think I am very successful. Success comes after many years of work and experience. In India success as an actor is measured by how popular you are. Warna acting toh main puri zindagi karti rahoongi, lekin uska faayda kya hain agar mujhe koin dekh nahi raha hain? If you are more popular, that means more people like you.
How ambitious is Parineeti Chopra? Where does she want to go from here?
I am very ambitious,but I don’t want success at the cost of my personal life. I want to keep my health in check, my personal life in check. I treat my profession like a nine to five job. Wahan se ghar jao and look after my husband and kids – when I have them, of course!