MUMBAI: It’s a lazy Saturday morning and with the calmness that work is happening at Yash Raj Films looks like it’s a relaxed weekend. But it is a busy day for Parineeti Chopra ahead of ‘Shuddh Desi Romance’ release being closer. She gears up to give interviews to numerous journalists lined outside and craving for eating a yummy crunchy sandwich ahead of a busy day!
In an exclusive conversation with Business Of Cinema, Parineeti Chopra reveals about ‘Gayatri’, her character in ‘Shuddh Desi Romance’ and how from not being charmed by the gleam of Bollywood an inner catharsis inspired her to face the camera.
BOC: ‘Shuddh Desi Romance’ is a film set in Jaipur. In recent times our films have moved away from metropolis to smaller town stories. What do you feel is a reason for that?
Parineeti: Jaipur isn’t a small town. Initially I did think it was. But it has grown and is more forward and modern. As far as moving to small towns are concerned, we have moved away from Mumbai, New York flossy, glossy content is because audiences want to see something different. And it is just right to give them what they would love to see. And ‘Shuddh Desi Romance’ is just trying to do that. Give audiences a glimpse of what they want to watch.
BOC: An insight into your character ‘Gayatri’ in ‘Shuddh Desi Romance’
Parineeti: My character of Gayatri is a person who is so well sorted in life. She has dated men, seen relationships, live-ins and is very cool about life. She smokes cigarettes and there is a sense of maturity in her. There is a little teheraav in Gayatri. It’s quite different from the kind of roles I have played earlier. This one’s pretty serious and not the typical ‘bubbly’ kind.
BOC: Whether it’s Dimple Chaddha in ‘Ladies V/s Ricky Bahl’, Zoya in ‘Ishaqzaade’ and now Gayatri in ‘Shuddh Desi Romance’ how do you go about preparing for your role?
Parineeti: With Ladies V/s Ricky Bahl, I was completely clueless as I was new to the whole gamut of acting. Maneesh (Maneesh Sharma, director) had a clear definition of the character, which helped me work and get closer to Dimple Chaddha. With ‘Ishaqzaade’, Habib Faisal’s perseverance and motivation helped. And now with ‘Gayatri’, I have understood the character well. And I just followed what Maneesh briefed me about the character and how we wanted it to be.
BOC: What about your vision of ‘Gayatri’? Every actor has a certain vision of the role, the character he/she is playing.
Parineeti: (smiles) Yes I did have a vision. I thought I could relate to the character. But I realised that my vision of the character was completely wrong. So I had to go by Maneesh’s vision of Gayatri. There is a complete sense of seriousness and maturity that one needs to have to play a character like Gayatri and he had it clear in his mind. It was an easy task then to just follow him.
BOC: Previously you have said that the ‘bubbly’ tag has become synonymous with your image. Do you think in ‘Shuddh Desi Romance’, you have managed to break it?
Parineeti: (chuckles) I can’t say how much of the tag I have broken. But if you can identify that the Parineeti one has seen isn’t the same in ‘Shuddh Desi Romance’, Ill be really happy that I have broken away from the ‘bubbly’ tag.
BOC: The film is about hypocrisy in Indian culture. While the younger generation is pretty cool with the dating, live-in culture, and has come to reality with this culture well, it’s a question for the older generation to ponder about. So has ‘Shuddh Desi Romance’ managed to bridge the gap between two different thoughts?
Parineeti: We have just thought it as a film. In no way we are trying to be preachy about the hypocrisy. Our parents were conservative. Our grandparents were super-conservative. Our children will think we are conservative. So this gap will always be in a way. But ‘Shuddh Desi Romance’ is a satirical take on what is happening around us, in society in real lives of people.
BOC: So does ‘Shuddh Desi Romance’ leaves us with solutions to bridge the ever-existent gap?
Parineeti: (laughs) That you will have to wait for the film to release and see it for yourself.
BOC: From a triple honours at Manchester to a career in acting? Is it because of the gleam of Bollywood that drew you closer to acting? You worked at Yash Raj Films as a PR Consultant so how the big shift?
Parineeti: I wasn’t even interested in acting and I was happy here working in the Public Relations team. I wasn’t driven by the money the glamour that actresses have. Until I realised the catharsis within me and that feeling of going to the sets and performing. It was during that time that Maneesh (Sharma) was looking to cast Dimple Chaddha. So it was at YRF that we met, had an audition. And thus I got a break with ‘Ladies V/s Ricky Bahl’. Habib Sir also liked my performance and I was cast in ‘Ishaqzaade’.
BOC: So you attribute the success to Maneesh Sharma and Habib Faisal?
Parineeti: Yes Of Course. Habib Faisal has always been so motivating at the sets and pushes you as an actor. Maneesh is great to work with too. He gave me my first film. And that’s one of the reason I call Maneesh as one of my closest friends.
BOC: We are slowly moving from the zone where we have extremely commercial content to more offbeat, sensitive human stories. Say a film like ‘Ship Of Theseus’, ‘The Lunchbox’. In this scenario, as a commercial actress, how do you challenge yourself?
Parineeti: I am glad you asked that question. Today is the best time and the right time to become an actor. Today audiences will watch a Shah Rukh Khan film, even his son’s film, even my films. I don’t see my self as glamorous and would like to work towards better roles.
I can act in a film like ‘The Lunchbox’ and at the same time do a commercial film. This is the challenge. Ten years before it wouldn’t have been the same. I would have to go thin, dance around but today it is different. You have options as an actress.
BOC: Any role that your peers or colleagues in Bollywood have played and that you thought, you could have played that role?
Parineeti: It has to be my sister’s (Priyanka Chopra) role as Jhilmil in ‘Barfi’. I couldn’t have imagined that someone as glamorous as Priyanka could play the character so effortlessly and seamlessly. I was so surprised with her act. So it has to be that one character in ‘Barfi’ that I would go to any extent to play (smiles in excitement).
BOC: Talking about Priyanka Chopra. How much of a sibling rivalry do you have and the competition between sisters? Do you discuss films with Priyanka and vice-versa?
Parineeti: (grins) There is no competition between Priyanka and me. We are from the same family. Only now is that we stay separately. It is like you are an actor and your brother is also an actor. So you are proud of each other’s work. We watch each other’s films. But we prefer not to discuss work at home or when we meet.
BOC: You are moving away from the Yash Raj Films banner with ‘Hasee Toh Phasee’. What are your other films that you are working on?
Parineeti: Yes ‘Hasee Toh Phasee’ with Sidharth Malhotra. It is completed. Then I am doing another film with Yash Raj Film’s with Ranveer called ‘Kill Dill’ and Habib’s next film with Aditya Roy Kapoor.