How did it feel when you went to receive the Special Mention honour for Ishaqzaade at the National Awards?
Ill have to go to backwards first. I was in Jodhpur in my hotel room,when I started getting some texts from journalists congratulating me. Then my Mom called and said,Whats going on? Im seeing your name on TV,related to the National Awards. By now I was totally zapped. So I called up Karan Johar and he was like Badhai ho badhai,youve got a National Award. Then I called up my sister (Priyanka Chopra) and she broke it down for me that its a Special Mention and its a new category and Ill get a proper award. Of course,it hit me when I was in the hall with all the winners. It was like a graduation ceremony. To get three seconds with the President of India and to know that I must have done something right to get this for my first solo film was a heady feeling. And you know what,I got it on May 3,which was the day when Indian cinema turned 100! Amazing na!
From wanting to be an investment banker to becoming an actor,who has been your godmother on this journey?
I think it was destined. My name means destiny in Hindi. My parents saw Prakash Jhas Parinati and named me after the film. All my life I looked down at actors and used to think they are famous just because they look good. I was in London and looking for a house to move in to and I still remember the moment when I was at a train station and I broke down. I wasnt getting a job because of the recession and it was taking a toll on me since I was a good student. So I called up Priyankas mom and told her that Im coming to Mumbai for a few days. I came to YRF studios with Priyanka,who was shooting Pyaar Impossible. I was offered a job in the marketing cell of YRF. Thats when the acting dream began taking shape. I thought of enrolling for an acting school but then Maneesh Sharma told me,Dont go to an acting school,Im taking you for my film. That was it! A day after I resigned from the company,Maneesh offered me Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl. He saw the spark in me before even I knew it existed,so,Maneesh is my fairy godmother.
In both your films youve played the pataka girl next door. Do you fear getting typecast?
I believe that if an actor gets typecast,then its her fault because nobody is making the choice for her. Maybe people feel Dimple of Ladies and Zoya of Ishaqzaade were similar but thats okay. My next three roles are different. In Kill Dill,for instance,Im all glam.
What kind of women characters and performances draw you?
Ive been shocked by everything Rani (Mukherjee) has done right from Bichhoo,Black,Paheli to Bombay Talkies. I want to be an actress like Rani. Give her anything and shell kill it. Look at Priyanka in Barfi! She was so good as Jhilmil that she made me forget I know her. I want to be so good at my work that years later when someone Googles me,they find only good stuff written.
Do you get bored that easily?
Oh yes. My mom says I have the emotional range and the attention span of a teaspoon.
How do you deal with the pressure of looking good always?
Earlier,I was naive to believe that as long as I act well,it doesnt matter what I wear or how I look but Ive come to realise that I have to pay attention to my appearance since cinema is a visual medium. This doesnt mean that Ill wear a Versace gown but I am weight-conscious and learning to be fashion-savvy.
What brought about this change?
There was a series of online criticism about my dressing sense. That made me think that I wasnt doing my best somewhere because otherwise people have been so generous to me in their praise so why not for my clothes? So I decided to take charge. Ive realised that whenever I dont feel too comfortable with what Im wearing,I photograph badly.
If you could steal something from Priyanka,what would it be?
Id steal her ability to work so hard. Shes incessant. She cant sit still for even a moment while I look for moments to chill. The only sleep she gets is on the flight
Any ambitions of singing?
The running joke is that we have 28 singers on my paternal side. Ive a BA Honours in Hindustani classical music,and hope to sing for one of my films.