All pepped up...

Unfazed by the string of flops in her career, Parineeti Chopra tells RAJIV VIJAYAKAR that she treats each failure as a learning experience
Last Updated 23 March 2019, 19:30 IST

As always, the girl’s mood is upbeat, and she admits her voice isn’t exactly soft so our recorder can be kept at a slight distance. Parineeti Chopra is perhaps the actor for whom the term full of beans was coined.

The media is munching on samosas when she enters, and the first thing she protests is about why we are keeping them in her sight! We offer her some instead
and she says, “No! I have passed that stage. There is nothing good in a samosa except the taste. I think I have learnt from Tiger Shroff that if some temptation like
this is in front of you, you just bring it near your nose and smell it deeply. Its taste goes in and you need not eat it after that! Yes, waiters who see me do that think I
am mad!”

Ask if her role is fact or fiction and she says that the role is real, but there are two aspects to consider: first, that Kesari is a saga of an extraordinary and true
battle of 21 Sikhs against 10,000 invaders, and second, that she comes in, at some crucial points, only in some of Akshay Kumar’s flashbacks as his now-dead wife.
Parineeti describes it as “a really cool love story interwoven into the main plot.” “I just wanted to be a part of the story when it was offered to me,” she chirps
happily. “And I said yes more for a beautiful song that is there in the film, and then to the movie. And that’s what I told (producer) Karan Johar, that I am doing it
because of the song. He said, ‘Will you also do the film?’ and I said, ‘Yes, on the side I will also do the film!’”

Alive & kicking

A point strikes us suddenly. Apart from Ranveer Singh when he had not made it to the superstar level, she has worked only with two of our reigning superstars — Ajay Devgn in Golmaal Again and Akshay in this film. And in both, she is dead before the film starts and still romancing them! Her eyes go uber-wide and she exclaims, “Wooooowwwww! I did not realise that! I will go home today and sit and think about why they kill me! What is all this?”

And what about the movies in which she has been alive all through? A few have not done well. What happens to her when there is a dip in her career that way?
“Well, like everyone else, I have gone both right and wrong in my film selection,” she answers. “No one thinks of doing a film because they feel it will flop, right? But things can go wrong. You see, both my brain and thought-processes for accepting a film remain the same, but sometimes things go wrong, and now I have realised that’s the game.”
She ponders and adds, “In the first three years of my career, all my films ran.My sister (Priyanka Chopra) faced a phase when she had six flops in a row. Every
actor has a different graph. Akshay sir was telling me that at one time he was asked by a journalist what he felt as he had then got six flops in a row.
Since he was just working every day, he told me that he had not even realised that!”

And Parineeti says, “Of course, it is the media’s job to observe and analyse, but honestly, we just keep working! And somewhere my choices must have been
correct, if not, I would not have been talking to you now, with Kesari and more films to come this year!”

Flipping over flops

She pouts and says that we are harping too much on her flops and asks, “Do you know that there are superstars whose careers have had only three superhits?
So it is all about how much the people love an actor, and how much they want to watch him. Producers choose us on that basis, because they feel we will bring in a
section of the audience!”

She spells out her conclusion: “I had no film family. As with every creative field, I came here and found my footing. I was a clean slate on which people would
come, write and go. And every creative career goes like this! You work, go home, think and learn. This media-created pressure is not healthy if an actor starts
thinking too much about it, because our audience is simple. It does not analyse our actors and say, ‘Oh, she did three flops!’ Or ‘Oh, she is now making good
choices!’ Come on, without my flops, I would not have been the actor I am now!” The actor insists that if dips are not there, the rest is “not fun. There is
nothing to live for.” “If there is an achievement , you go ‘Wow!’ If not, you try and fix it the next time by thinking, ‘Okay great, fine, may be it’s a dip, but I will come
out of it’.”

Did she ever have any self-doubts? Shaking her head firmly, she replies, “No-o-o-! An actor is not allowed self-doubts. You must have faith in yourself, and
nature, and accept the good with the bad. I have, for example, got more love from Meri Pyaari Bindu than from some of my hits. And the film did far better on
satellite than in theatres.”

Coming back to Kesari, how much did she know about the battle of Saragarhi before accepting the film? “I knew a little, as I hail from Punjab,” she admits. “But what I came to know from the director, Anurag Singh sir, and from Akshay sir, was astounding! There are places where the audience will think, ‘This is not possible!’, but it has happened!”
Parineeti also accepts that this story should have been brought to the screen years ago, but it was just as well that it came now, for the simple reason that today
technology and VFX can take us closer to the nearest possible reproduction of the war.

She strongly recommends that children should be taken to watch the film as “their sensitivity to and understanding of the bravery and patriotic acts of our
soldiers can be increased. They should learn from these things.” What next? “I have Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar, which was to release last year, but will still take a while this year. Jabariya Jodi is coming, and I may be having one more release from the three films I have just signed, which will be announced soon.”

A day after this interview, we come to know that Parineeti has replaced Shraddha Kapoor in the Saina Nehwal biopic. Her remark of, “I don’t plan! When you plan, God laughs! And so does the industry,” holds good.

(Published 23 March 2019, 19:30 IST)

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