The October Digital Cover Star Parineeti Chopra in a no-holds barred exclusive with Aakanksha Naval-Shetye
It’s impossible to box Parineeti Chopra in an image or typecast her in any role. This, the stunning actress has already proven with her versatile screen outings. But now Parineeti is ready to scale new heights altogether with a version of her that’s been wowing audience and surprsing the toughest of critics. Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar and The Girl on the Train were just a tip of that iceberg which garnered her much praise in rather intense roles bordering on the noire. But now there’s more coming up as her out-and-out actioner Code Name Tirangaa is all the buzz. Ever since the trailer of the spy thriller was dropped by makers, it has her fans and movie-goers excited. After all, it’s a role like never before, but then it’s also Parineeti like never before, finds Aakanksha Naval-Shetye in an exclusive interview with the October Digital Cover Star. Here’s Presenting Parineeti 2.0
The trailer of your upcoming spy thriller Code Name Tiranga looks amazing and you look cut out for all that action… Is it a genre that excites you?
I’ve actually wanted to do an ection film for the past five years and I was just waiting for a director to see me out of the rom-com image that I usually have and finally Ribhu Dasgupta who also did The Girl on the Train with me, I always call hi my angel director because he always give me roles beyond how all see me and Code Name Tiranga is just that. We have done some amazing action in the film and yes, I can’t wait to share it with the world.
Any three similarities between your character and you?
I think they are that we both love our country, also we both would do anything for the loves of our lives, for the people we love and third, we both are extremely confident of who we are and are inexcusably us all the time!
How ambitious are you? Say on a scale from 1-10!
I am ambitious enough. I feel like ambition usually is associated with work and career. But I’m actually an ‘ambitious life liver’. For me, my ambition is to live a full life. Every moment has to be full. Whether that is work related or whether that is fun or anything that I do – scuba-diving related or whether that is sleeping or watching TV. When I am doing something I’m 1000 per cent there. And, so for me the ambition is not like – ‘oh my God I did this and I only got this much, I need more and that’s why I’m ambitious.’ No. For me it’s like – ‘I really had a great time doing it and it was full and I met some lovely people and I felt nice. And when I went home, I had peace in my mind.’ For me that is my ambition in life.
“I live life on purpose. I do every single thing with so much purpose that I will never say – ‘Oh I was breezing through that’. No. I am in the moment all the time.”
So basically living that particular moment and enjoying it to the max…
I live life on purpose. I do every single thing with so much purpose that I will never say – ‘Oh I was breezing through that’. No. I am in the moment all the time.
You have been so selective about the kind of work that you associate with, it’s difficult to kind of box you in a role. You have kind of been on your own path…
My work is the work part of my life. So, it’s a job that I love to do a lot. But it is a part of my life. And so, I will not spend days and nights going crazy about what’s happening at work. What’s working, what’s not working. Who do I have to meet, who do I have to talk with? No. I will work to the best of my ability because I love to perform and I love to act, and I love this business. But I think that I have the privilege of having people in my life who have made me realize what the meaning of life is and so that takes the pressure off. That makes me realize that it’s a part and a percentage of our total life. that is why a lot of people say – ‘oh how does failure affect you; how does success affect you?’ and it affects me the same way. When something is successful, I’m like okay great, that is awesome it all worked out! And if it doesn’t work out then you know that it didn’t work out and I move on. I am not emotionally bogged down when something wrong happens. And I’m not partying and celebrating when something works out.
“Everybody is watching us 24/7. There’s global scrutiny at all times. The pressure of that can drive anybody crazy. So, if I am not aware of that and if I don’t distance myself from that, I’ll go crazy. You have to keep your sanity to be able to do a good job. That’s how you keep sane.”
How do you find that balance? You said that you have the right people who help you balance it out…
See if you don’t have that balance, unfortunately, as an actor, you can get emotionally all over the place. Because our job is like that. Our job is unlike any other job in the world. So, for me, if I was 100 per cent putting all my energies into the results of what I am doing, I would be a mess. Because actors face rejections every day. Actors face acceptance everyday. The number of rejections and acceptance we see on a daily basis, it could be something that I’m wearing today to what film I’m doing to who I’m dating to what the box office result of my film was. Everybody is watching us 24/7. There’s global scrutiny at all times. The pressure of that can drive anybody crazy. So, if I am not aware of that and if I don’t distance myself from that, I’ll go crazy. You have to keep your sanity to be able to do a good job. That’s how you keep sane.
So when you go in front of the camera, it’s not with the pressure of what is it going to be at the box office or where you’re coming from…
It cannot be. The most senior actor / producer / director, nobody can predict what’s going to happen. It’s a creative job. It’s ever-evolving. It’s literally as simple as when you cook the same dish, it tastes a little different every time. And you’re like – ‘but I did the same thing, what’s happened this time?’ There are so many factors. So the same way in our career, one small thing can change everything. And that one Friday changes our entire career. It changes what we’re going to do for the next two years. So, nobody can predict it. If anybody could predict it, everybody would be successful. So, we have to have a little bit of distance from our careers and our work. Otherwise, we will never be able to do our job.
You’ve been in the industry for a decade? So, has this entire thing of success changed in the years? Do you see a transformation in the way that you have to be?
100 per cent. I think I am also a little bit of a rare case in the industry. Because I was an investment banker. I became an actor almost by chance, by destiny, by fate. So, the first two-three years I was still figuring out what’s happening in my life and then once I accepted it, I saw some failure which was like – ‘oh yeh bhi hota hai!’ And then I saw success again. Utne mein I grew up. So, I think for me I am still discovering me, myself, my life and my career till today. And I think I’ll keep doing that to the end. So, to answer your question, how do I measure a success or not, oh man! That answer is changing every single day. Today’s success is appreciation. Because today’s success can’t only be numbers. We’re also in a post-pandemic stage. OTTs have come into our lives. So, our parameter of success; the numbers have changed. And so, what is successful. Are they the 100 crore films? Or are they a well-appreciated films on OTT? I have had a Golmaal which is 250 crores, I’ve had Sandeep aur Pinky Faraar which never came onto box office. But it’s one of the most successful films. So, what is the measure? Is Golmaal successful or is Sandeep aur Pinky successful? So, I think what we can only do is just keep working.
So, you don’t have a preference that you’ll rather hope that this works out or that?
Never, you want everything to work. I want every single thing to work. But there’s no way of predicting. We just have to keep doing our jobs. And we just hope that nine out of 10 things will work. Because 10/10 will never work.
What about turning producer?
I will get into producing at some point. Production is not for me. But producing yes. I want to be a producer. And producer is a broad term. I just want to back content which doesn’t get easily backed. There are so many times I read the script and I really want to do it. As an actor I’m greedy for it. But you know the paperwork doesn’t work out, maybe it’s not a feasible project. Maybe it’s too risky a project. Maybe its content which is not ready to be seen out there. You know there are different reasons why projects don’t work out. and I really want to be that producer who can back content that has not seen the light of day. That’s the one. So, I don’t know what that is, how that will work out. I still have to work out the mechanics of it. But that’s what I want to do.
You have done projects which seemed very risky propositions…
See, I was never a typical debut. I was not a Yash Raj typical glamourous heroine in the saree, in the snow mountains. I was a very risky debut. I was one of four girls in Ladies vs Ricky Bahl. And even Sandeep aur Pinky Faraar or even Kesari or Golmaal or Hasee toh Phasee. All films that usually are not really part of a plan. But I’m surviving and I’m here since a decade because of those risks. My cousin, Priyanka (Chopra), she always says that she as well as me have the privilege of people’s expectations. People always expect something. In fact when we don’t do something in a film, people are like that was nothing special. In the films where I’ve not done anything special or I’ve not done something different, those films haven’t worked. That is proof of the fact that people definitely want to see something from me. They don’t want to see me doing anything normal or boring. So that’s a good thing. That’s a privilege that people expect so much out of me. So she said, never let them down. Always take those risks, always do something. And whether those films work out is not in our hands.
You have been associated with some of the most beautiful films that may or may not have worked out at that well at the box office…
Yes a couple of films are… Meri Pyaari Bindu is the example I give to everyone.
Tell us about Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar…
Because of Covid, a lot of us didn’t get a release in the last two years that we wanted to, but we got a bigger reception than what we would have got at the Box Office. Because The Girl On The Train was a very strong performance. So, for me Girl On The Train and Sandeep aur Pinky Faraar are films that are so well-appreciated that they are bigger than my big blockbusters at the Box Office. For me, because of the number of people who watched it, like Girl On The Train was number 1 in Brazil, was number 1 in Norway. If it had released in the theatres, I don’t know if it would release in Brazil or Norway. I’m just giving an example. So, the reach on Netflix and Amazon and Hotstar gives us a much bigger audience. And so, for me, I would rather have more people watch my film. We rocked it in OTT. So, I was so happy. But then there are films like Meri Pyaari Bindu, again the biggest success on TV – didn’t get any box office numbers. But for me Meri Pyaari Bindu is one of my successful films then. Because I have got the love for it. And then there are huge films that I released in the theatres which didn’t work. So, like you said, we don’t know the measure of success. There’s no answer to that.
You’ve already sung a song. Are you planning to release more singles?
100 per cent. There’s no way that I’m going to do music in a small way. The plans are in place. I am due to execute them very soon. Sooner than you think. But definitely go big. Whether it’s singles, albums, that we don’t know. But let’s just say I’m going to record very soon.
“I am a very quiet person and I listen to jazz music and I’m very old soul. I call myself a granny just for fun because I would rather sit and talk to my friends for three hours than go and party. And I’m like the agony aunt and problem solver for everybody.”
How different is Parineeti the actress vs Parineeti off camera?
Totally different. I think a lot of people think that I’m the person that they see on screen. Which means that I’m a brilliant actress (laughs). Because I’ve convinced you guys that I’m that person. And that happens with other actors. When I watch other actors, I’m like they must be like this. And now I know so many actors and now I’m like oh that was acting, oh that is the job. So that’s totally fine. But I’m completely different. In real life, I’m very like… I do my meditation every day and I’m actually a very quiet person unless like people come and then I make conversation and then I just want to make people laugh. But actually, I am a very quiet person and I listen to jazz music and I’m very old soul. I call myself a granny just for fun because I would rather sit and talk to my friends for three hours than go and party. And I’m like the agony aunt and problem solver for everybody. I become that person where- okay let’s ask Pari for her advice. So, I’m like that granny for everyone. But on-screen you get to do fun things and you get to be different people and I’m okay if the audience believes I’m that person.
“I look at life very differently. You will not see me sitting in the corner and crying haaye mere saath kya ho gaya. I don’t self-pity. I think that’s a waste of time. Your mindset is everything. So, my mindset is what gives me my strength.”
Where do you derive that strength from. Because it needs a lot of… like putting yourself out there. There is a lot of appreciation and trolls as well…
I think I’ve got that in my genes from my parents. They’ve just brought me up in the most amazing way, where we just have such gratitude for life that when things don’t work out we don’t see them as failure. If there is a troll, who’s saying something about me, I laugh. Or if there is an outfit that I didn’t look good I’m like, oh man I had a bad day today. I wasn’t looking good today. Or if the film doesn’t work out, I’m like – man what a waste of six months! I have a very practical approach to any sort of negativity in my life. It could be a relationship, breakup, it could be a film, it could be something really wrong. I really treat it as – okay this is a project that I have to solve. We’ve been brought up by my dad and my mom who are the strongest souls I know in this world. And they have made me a very differently thinking person. I look at things differently. I look at life very differently. You will not see me sitting in the corner and crying haaye mere saath kya ho gaya. I don’t self-pity. I think that’s a waste of time. Your mindset is everything. So, my mindset is what gives me my strength.
What are your upcoming projects?
I have finished shooting Sooraj Barjatya’s film Oonchai and I’m privileged to be working with Amitabh Bacchhan and Anupam Kher and Boman Irani and it’s a huge mammoth project to be a part of. So that’s the one that will come out soon. I have two more films that I’m going to shoot but I haven’t officially announced them. So, I can’t say much.
What about OTT?
Absolutely, I’m a very greedy actor. I just want to do stuff that I can do homework for and prep for. And I love doing interesting characters. And the platform, the language doesn’t matter to me. I would love to do something if an amazing show comes up. I read every script that comes. I read everything. And I meet every director. Whoever gives me the most exciting stuff, I don’t think about it, I just do it.
So, what’s right now your wishlist?
I have worked with some of the top directors actually. My wishlist is not like that. My wishlist is always like I just want to be the best actress that I can be. You know that’s like you were talking about ambition, that’s my ambition. I just want to be the best actress. So that will just depend on the material that comes, and I will read and react.
Interviewed by : @aakankshanaval_aksn
Photographer : @avigowariker
Stylist : @tanghavri
Make up : @makeupbylekha
Hair : @sheetal_f_khan