Parineeti Chopra on limited screen time in Kesari: I said yes to a romantic song with Akshay Kumar more than the film
Parineeti Chopra has a spring in her step. Within a week, she has bagged two projects — Bhuj: The Pride of India (alongside Ajay Devgn, Sanjay Dutt and Sonakshi Sinha) and badminton champion Saina Nehwal's biopic, replacing Shraddha Kapoor. Coming to terms with the highs and lows and the unpredictable nature of this business, Parineeti appears relaxed. Touted to be the ‘next big thing’ when she started her career with movies like Ishaqzaade (2012), Shuddh Desi Romance (2013) and Hasee Toh Phasee(2014), she saw her career dip with Daawat-e-Ishq (2014) and Kill Dil (2014), which left her a bit shocked.
After a nine-month hiatus, she unveiled her new svelte self with a song in Dishoom (with Varun Dhawan), followed by romcom, Meri Pyaari Bindu (opposite Ayushmann Khurrana) and then came Ajay Devgn and Rohit Shetty’s big commercial ticket Golmaal Again (2017), one of the highest grossing movies of all time, that put her back in the major league. Excerpts from a chat with the effervescent actress, who plays Akshay Kumar’s love interest in Kesari, the war film based on the Battle of Saragarhi.
What made you say 'yes' to the small part in Kesari? Akshay calls you a brave girl for this.
Of course, the film is centred around these boys. It is a boys’ film but at a very crucial point, there is an emotional moment where Havildar Ishar Singh (Akshay Kumar’s character) thinks about his dead wife. It is a love story woven into this story which is a two-day battle. The director has interwoven our love parts and love songs so beautifully that you will never wonder where did this emerge from. I play a small part but it is one of those films where I wanted my stamp, that I was there in Kesari. Moreover, I have done the film for that romantic song which is so beautiful. I think I said 'yes' to the song more than the film. I don’t think about the screen time, or how big is my role, so it won't make any difference to me if I read all that stuff written about my role.
Earlier, in Golmaal Again and now in Kesari, you play a dead person romancing leading men, Ajay Devgn and Akshay, respectively.
Wow! Yes, this is true but why do people kill me? I don’t even get the chance to be alive. I am dead from my first scene itself. I will think about it that why do I get to play such roles (jokes and laughs heartily).
These days, there is a lot of talk about content-driven films. So how are you going about with your selection?
I have gone right and wrong in my choice, and there was no film where I felt that this one will flop and I will still do it. Before every film, I feel this will work but sometimes, we go wrong and now I have realised that it is a game. Some actors are lucky that whichever film they select it works for whatever reason. That has happened with me too. In the first three years, all my films worked. But my process of selection has not changed. It's my realisation of the game has become stronger. I will use the same brain, the same knowledge but I know today that some films will work and some will not work. It’s not that this has dawned upon me because of some intelligence. Everybody will say the same thing.
Akshay was once telling me that it was during an interview he realised that his six films had flopped in a row but he was continuing with his work with a feeling that he was growing in his career. It is a weird surreal thought an actor goes through because till the time a film is up for release, our life has gone way ahead. But I am definitely taking into account the time and that the audience has evolved, and I hope that whatever films I do next will connect with the audience. Luck also plays an important factor. Sometimes luck is bad, you shoot a film now and it comes only two years later and gets outdated.
There was a dip in your career but you rose again. Today, when you see newcomers on the same platform, do you feel you missed out on opportunities with the kind of exposure and the kind of films they are getting?
No, we don’t really sit and think like this, and these things happen with every kind of creative process. Some people start with finding their footing and then learn on the way, and that’s how I went about. When I entered, I was a clean slate on which people used to come and write and go. Then I tried experimenting but it didn’t work, and a creative career is always like this. There might be five amazing years and then they will dip, or maybe they will have one amazing year, while some actors don’t see success for 10 to 15 years. Everybody’s graph is different. There is a lot of media created pressure which is not healthy for creative people.
The choice that I made in the first three years is the reason why I am still here. Had that dip not happened, I don’t know if I would have become the actor that I am today. Priyanka (Chopra) also saw six flops in a row. Somebody else saw 11 flops in a row. I was not a part of any filmy family so whatever I have learnt has been in the last seven years.
I watched, tried, failed, succeeded and learnt on the basis of that and that takes time, sometimes one year and sometimes five years. That doesn’t mean I will sit and cry, ‘Oh, I missed out on this or that opportunity’. No, we actors don’t do that. We are too busy living it every single day and I thin you guys may call it philosophy but genuinely if the dips are not there then the rest of it is no fun because then there is nothing to live for. Secondly, the expectation of the audience and the confidence of producers never saw the dip in my case. They never questioned that I can’t do this or that role. Conversations have been very creative and constructive. I always felt that yes, it is a dip but I will come out unscathed. It is okay. When I signed Golmaal (Again), people said why was I being part of an ensemble film but it is my biggest hit till date.
Kriti Sanon recently said that at times she has to take up whatever is offered to her but she can do a lot more as an actor. What is your thought on this?
What Kriti said is absolutely correct but there is actually more pressure from the media than the audience. Trust me when I say this. For example, the audience will still say that they loved Meri Pyaari Bindu, and they are not sitting and thinking that my choice was not good two years ago but now it is better. It’s the media that thinks and analyses. Hits and flops are part of the game. Some of the biggest successful actors have maximum 10 big hits and they must have done 500 films. There are some actors who are superstars today but they actually have three superhit films. If the audience loves the actor, producer will cast them. So you may be calculating box office hits and flops but producers-directors are looking at how much the audience loves the actor.
How do you look at 2019 because you have three diverse films coming up for release?
(There) Might be one more actually. So you can’t plan it. Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar was supposed to release last year but it has still not released. It is an intense film so it is taking time. I was supposed to have only two releases this year — Kesari and Jabariya Jodi, so whatever I was expecting last year is probably releasing this year.
Do you get nervous before a release?
Nervousness is different for different films. In Namaste England (released last year), it was all riding on both Arjun (Kapoor) and me, so its success or failure would impact both, whereas Kesari has got to do more with Karan (Johar) and Akshay, and I can’t take the ownership. It depends upon film to film but you can’t be nervous. Some films I thought were really bad but they did well and some films were looking good during the making but they flopped. You can’t plan and that is my learning over the years.
Will you consider going digital?
(Sounding excited) I am getting lot of interesting content for web shows. I have three to four good offers but I don’t know if I am going to do any of them. Whenever I am about to say ‘yes’ to a web series, an amazing film offer comes up. A lot is there to choose from, and I can’t decide where to place what and how to plan. I can only plan so much.
Updated Date: Mar 25, 2019 11:24:46 IST
Your guide to the latest election news, analysis, commentary, live updates and schedule for Lok Sabha Elections 2019 on firstpost.com/elections. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram or like our Facebook page for updates from all 543 constituencies for the upcoming general elections.