I’ll do kissing & bikini scenes if character demands: Parineeti Chopra
Parineeti Chopra, the 23-year-old actress who made her debut opposite Ranveer Singh in Ladies vs Ricky Bahl, has won almost all female debutante trophies at major awards shows. Vivacious and full of energy, she talks to BT about her life-changing shift from marketing and PR to acting, turning to older sister Priyanka Chopra for advice and films ahead. Excerpts…
You were in the PR division of a production house. How did acting happen?
It’s true…this time last year, I was working for Yash Raj Films, and within 12 months I’ve finished my second film! I used to co-ordinate interviews for Ranveer Singh, Anushka Sharma, Shahid Kapoor and Rani Mukerji. I was their manager, bodyguard, assistant and PR person. I never wanted to be an actor; I was a nerd and weighed 85 kilos, so naturally becoming an actress was never on my mind! I studied finance and was a topper. I even went abroad to study further but returned during the recession. That’s when I came to Yash Raj. People would tell me, ‘Your cousin is a heroine, why don’t you get into acting as well?’ That really irritated me. But when I saw the process of acting up close, I felt like I could do this well. By then I’d met Maneesh Sharma (Band Bajaa Baraat director) and we’d become friends. He told Aditya (Chopra) that he wanted me to play Dimple. He asked me to do a dummy audition for fun and I did not know the tape would reach Adi. A few days later, I got a call from Maneesh saying I had to sign a three-film deal with the studio!
What about comparisons with Priyanka?
I can’t compare myself to her, but I’ve always wanted to be an equally good actor. She keeps telling me, ‘Thappad marungi agar acchi acting nahi ki toh!’ She’s a typical big sister. After watching my first film, she hugged me for five minutes. She gives me real advice because she’s gone through the same things. Thankfully, I haven’t faced any problems because I have people like her, Maneesh and Adi around me.
Was it a downer having to play a cameo in your debut film as opposed to Ishaqzaade, where you are the main lead?
Not at all. Maneesh and Adi told me this was the right thing to do and I trusted them. Dimple wasn’t an ideal launch in the sense that it wasn’t my solo lead film, but I knew that if I did a good job then people would notice me. That’s what Adi said too and it was true.
Was it intimidating working with Ranveer and Anushka?
I wasn’t nervous. On my first day on set, I had a scene with Ranveer and Maneesh was worried about what I would do. But I just walked on set, looked at the camera and gave my shot with ease. I wasn’t intimidated and felt comfortable in front of the camera. There were days when I struggled, but I was never camera conscious.
Would you be comfortable doing kissing scenes and donning bikinis.
If you are an actor, you will be asked to do certain things. If I’m told to do an intimate scene or wear certain clothes, I can’t say no if that’s what the script and character demands. I know there are actors who won’t kiss on screen and I respect that, but I don’t have any rules like that. I will stay true to the script.