By Asjad Nazir
A new generation of stars are helping to change the face of Indian cinema and lighting up high profile films with bright performances shining to audiences across the globe.
One of the most naturally gifted of the new Bollywood brigade is Parineeti Chopra, who has consistently delivered sparkling turns and added fizz to movies with her natural delivery. The star of recently released comedy Golmaal Again showed off once again that she can hold her own against stalwarts. Not surprisingly, she was upbeat when Eastern Eye caught up with her to talk about Golmaal Again, comedy, girl power, inspirations and more.
You delivered amazing performances and then took a couple of years away, why was that?
I didn’t take a couple of years off. I just took nine months off. After that I started shooting my films immediately. Now I am releasing those films.
Why did you take the break?
Well I spoke about it at length, but to summarise I was making my new house, I wanted to work on my fitness and had some personal issues to deal with, so I needed to take a break. However I was only not shooting for films, but working every day for everything else.
Wonderful, we are really glad you have returned. How are you choosing your films?
(Smiles) Thank you Asjad. More or less similarly to before. The kind of work that is coming in is beautiful. I am really happy with the offers and the kind of films I am subsequently able to choose. The motto is to give as much variety as possible.
I love seeing you do comedy most, is that the space you are happiest in?
I love doing comedy honestly because I consider myself to be a person who likes making people laugh and I think I am fairly funny. So I think comedy is something that is not easy to do unfortunately, but I really love doing it.
What was it like jumping into a comedy franchise with Golmaal Again, which is now the fourth in the series?
I have to say it was a beautiful experience. I am so sad that now the film has released and this whole experience is coming to an end because I had the time of my life on that set. They are just great people. (Director) Rohit (Shetty) is the most beautiful captain of the ship. He just gives so much love to everyone. We all had so much fun while shooting. I think all the actors on set would say it was like a paid holiday. It was a beautiful set to be on and honestly a franchise like Golmaal that Rohit has mastered, it doesn’t get any better.
How did you feel being the youngest star of a multi-starrer like Golmaal Again, which had so many actors who have been in the industry for so long?
Before the first day I thought I would be really scared and I didn’t know how I would find my footing, but on the first day itself they broke the ice. They were laughing, playing pranks, being so friendly and we all became like family because we were together all the time. Now I really feel I have found friends for life.
I don’t believe you ever get scared of anything and think you are fearless. Is that true?
(Laughs) I am not a person who gets scared of anything, but obviously when you are working with legends and such senior actors you just want to do everything right and don’t want to rub anyone up the wrong way. You want to work in the best way and do the best work. But I didn’t know I had nothing to worry about because Rohit and Ajay are amazing people to work with.
Talking of Rohit Shetty and Ajay Devgn they are famous for playing pranks during shooting. Did they do that to you?
(Laughs) Yes they are infamous for that and because I was the new person on set and not used to them I was not always alert to the way the others were, so was the easiest target for pranks. They did a lot of things like Rohit would tell me in this shot your back is to the camera. I was standing there and waiting, I turned around and the whole crew had left. They were amazing, but I love them for their sense of fun. The day they are not crazy I feel like something is wrong.
Rohit Shetty makes his movies on a bigger canvas to other directors you have worked with, how does he compare?
I have to say that Rohit is my favourite director to have worked with. He is an amazing guy and a beautiful human being. More importantly, he is the strongest leader that anyone can be. He makes such huge films, which are tough to make with so many characters. He just makes it so easy. He does it because he is so passionate about it. He is so hardworking and if it were left up to him he would never want to go home. He would just want to be on a film set all day, every day.
What can you tell us about your character in Golmaal Again?
I can’t say too much about my character. Unfortunately if I say too much I will reveal too much and don’t want to spoil the experience for audiences.
What is your favourite moment in the movie?
Oh I can’t reveal that either without spoiling the surprise.
What kind of comedies do you love to watch?
I am a person who loves dry humour and satires. I like humour that is done with a straight face. That is my favourite kind. Hollywood films do that very well. In Hindi films I like Hera Pheri and Andaz Apna Apna. The Golmaal series as well!
Today what inspires you?
Honestly I am inspired by people who are doing great work including other actors and they don’t have to be in the film industry. It can be people in life who are doing really well. I pick up different things. I pick up various traits from them and try to imbibe them because I love to grow as a person, as clichéd and cheesy as that may sound. I love to keep evolving and really like seeing the changes within myself. So I try to pick and choose positive things even from my friends around me. Something I really love about somebody I will always try to do it.
You are part of an exciting new generation in Indian cinema tackling diverse subjects. It must be exciting for you as an actor.
Honestly it is a great time because I entered this industry five years ago and that was the start of this change. There were a lot of different content-driven films plus the usual masala commercial entertainers being made. Both of them were being accepted. Audiences have a choice of unlimited content including the internet and so have become so choosy, so we are giving our best right now because of that pressure. Audiences becoming choosier than before puts pressure on everyone to do their best work and it is a wonderful time to be in the movies because of that.
You are becoming a symbol for girl power in India, how important is that for you?
Thank you so much Asjad. I never saw myself like that, how sweet of you to say that. I didn’t grow up in a society where there was any kind of gender discrimination. I have grown up with two younger brothers and was the only girl. I was given all the luxuries that my parents could afford. The best life and the best opportunities. I was never treated as inferior to my brothers so I never knew there was anything like gender discrimination, which is why I find it absolutely absurd that there should be that in the world. As any kind of public figure, I would really like to, if I can, alleviate that in society because I really want things to be equal. Girls are no less and people say that all the time, it’s a used and abused phrase, but they really are no less and there shouldn’t be discrimination. So I will do all I can in my power to spread that kind of knowledge and tell people out there boys and girls are the same.
Finally can you give a message for your fans?
My message to my fans is that you are my everything. You are my true love because you are the reason I wake up each morning and go to give my heart out on a film set. So please continue watching my films and please keep loving me because you are my everything.