Interview By: Ankita R. Kanabar

In her own words, this has been a life-changing year for Parineeti Chopra, for many reasons! Of course, her transformation from chubby to fit is one of them. She was equally stunning even earlier, but now she’s only raising the bar and the temperature. Go watch ‘Janemann Aa’ from ‘Dishoom’ to reinstate that. She’s just finished shooting for ‘Meri Pyaari Bindu’ and in a brief chat, she speaks about the film, the ‘Dream’ tour and why actors like to stay connected to their audience today….

“I’m nowhere close to where I want to be but of course, it’s leaps and bounds from where I was”

You’ve just wrapped up ‘Meri Pyaari Bindu’, how has it come along?
The shoot went really well. We have two days of shoot left in January but for now we’ve wrapped up the film. Every film becomes a family and I’m going to cry at the end of it, but I’m very excited so I hope people like it when they see it.

How has this year been for you, with the ‘Dream’ tour happening as well?
I think this is been an amazing year for me, a life-changing year for me in many ways, personally and professionally. There are a lot of things that have happened but I’m very happy at the place that I am right now, work wise. I’ve finished ‘Meri Pyaari Bindu’, I’m starting ‘Takadum’ this month. I have just finished the ‘Dream’ tour which was the first tour for all of us. We still miss it every day. We’ve all become such great friends, and professionally also, it all went so well. Even ‘Bindu’ has shaped up well, so it’s all great. As an actor, what else do you want!

How is the experience of connecting with a live audience?
It’s an experience like no other because you are out there with billions of people, every day, in a new city each day, with Indians who are living abroad. They do not even live in Mumbai, and they’ve just seen us on-screen so when they see us live, the reactions are priceless. The connect you have with these people is something else. The high that you get on stage, in a packed stadium when you are working with the contemporaries is something else. Every day we were taking a new flight for a new city, we were exhausted, tired, injured but it was the best experience of our lives. It was so amazing to be a part of that tour.

Before that you consciously took some time off to work on yourself. And now that your transformation is inspiring so many, how do you feel?
I’d done four films back-to-back, and I had no time to rest, or take a day off. I wanted to make my new house which took many months, plus I wanted to take care of myself, I wanted a break, I wanted to travel, there were lots of things happening in my personal life. There were many reasons for me to take a break and I’m so glad I did because how I feel now is so much better, so fresher, so much positive, which helps me work better. On-screen you get to look better, wear certain clothes, and feel more confident about yourself. You don’t have to worry about body angle, but it gives you freshness, stamina, and I’m nowhere close to where I want to be but of course, it’s leaps and bounds from where I was. I can work harder, for longer hours, I have better stamina so those kind of things are a bigger achievement for me than anything else. What you feel from inside is amazing and it’s been a struggle for me for years and years to do this. Finally when I’ve reached where I am today, it’s a huge achievement, but I’m still working on it.

Do you also look at work with a fresher perspective, once you are back from a break?
It’s like coming back from a vacation. You do not want to leave the vacation but the first day that you start working, within an hour you’re back to the groove. And that’s exactly what happened. I was always doing ads and events; it was just a film that I was not shooting. So the moment I start shooting ‘Bindu’, I was back to normal, it was not such a big thing.

Young actors, producers, film-makers – what do you feel about the youth having such a strong voice when it comes to cinema? Of course, the youth also forms the majority of the audience.
It’s amazing. In times when digitally we are so far ahead, we are on social media, we’re a generation who are pretty impatient, we want results for everything pretty soon. Which is why, I think the young audience has set off this trend of wanting films which hit them hard, or make a difference to their lives, they are really demanding cinema in a different way today. They do not want the age-old films. It is so empowering because then film-makers, writers, producers can make films that they want. Actors can take risks. They know that there’s an audience for it, there will be people who will accept those films when they are made. So, it’s a very collaborative relationship between the audience and the makers now. The audience is demanding something and the film-makers are applying. And similarly, if a film-maker wants to make something out of the box, they know it’ll work if it’s a good film. So, it’s a great time to be in films.

“Connecting with the audience, and yet maintaining the right amount of distance, is the balance that all of us are trying to achieve”

Is that why, today stars also like to stay connected to their audience while social media?
We do not really look at ourselves as stars. All of us are as young as our audiences are. I think the time is such that it is all about connecting with people who watch your films, so I don’t think it should be any other way. Gone are the days when tantrum or attitude was accepted. People now want to know the stars, what their personal lives are, what we do at home. But I think connecting with the audience, and yet maintaining the right amount of distance, is the balance that all of us are trying to achieve.

Have you ever felt apprehensive before a film, or felt that it could be a risk?
I’ve felt that for each one of my films. ‘Ishaqzaade’ was so risky because I was new, ‘Shuddh Desi Romance’, we didn’t know whether the concept of live-in relationship will be accepted. ‘Hasee Toh Phasee’ was such a crazy film, we didn’t know how people would take it but then again there were films like ‘Daawat-e-ishq’ and ‘Kill Dil’ which were not accepted. There’s always a gamble before a film, and whether it works or not, you have to see that after the release.

Are you influenced by the films you’ve grown up on, while choosing the films you act in?
Actually, I never watched films while growing up, I was really studious so I’ve not had a filmy influence. I watch a lot of films now, but mostly as an actor, I go by my gut instinct. It’s just something I learnt on the job. I read a script, and if I like it, I do it.

When there are people who seek inspiration from public figures like you, who do you seek inspiration from when things don’t look that great?
It comes from within but it also comes from people around you. Things are bound to go wrong, and you are bound to have bad days, but it’s a combination of who’s around you, who connects with you and what your own mindset is at that time. It’s a combination of all those things.

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