‘Mom says I have the attention span of a teaspoon’

Parineeti Chopra on winning the National Award,dealing with criticism about her fashion sense,short attention span and stealing from cousin Priyanka Chopra.

Written by Harneet Singh | Published:May 17, 2013 3:01 am

How did it feel when you went to receive the Special Mention honour for Ishaqzaade at the National Awards?

I’ll 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,“What’s going on? I’m 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,you’ve got a National Award.” Then I called up my sister (Priyanka Chopra) and she broke it down for me that it’s a Special Mention and it’s a new category and I’ll 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 Jha’s 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 wasn’t 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 Priyanka’s mom and told her that I’m 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. That’s when the acting dream began taking shape. I thought of enrolling for an acting school but then Maneesh Sharma told me,‘Don’t go to an acting school,I’m 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 you’ve played the pataka girl next door. Do you fear getting typecast?

I believe that if an actor gets typecast,then it’s her fault because nobody is making the choice for her. Maybe people feel Dimple of Ladies… and Zoya of Ishaqzaade were similar but that’s okay. My next three roles are different. In Kill Dill,for instance,I’m all glam.

What kind of women characters and performances draw you?

I’ve 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 she’ll 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 doesn’t matter what I wear or how I look but I’ve come to realise that I have to pay attention to my appearance since cinema is a visual medium. This doesn’t mean that I’ll 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 wasn’t 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. I’ve realised that whenever I don’t feel too comfortable with what I’m wearing,I photograph badly.

If you could steal something from Priyanka,what would it be?

I’d steal her ability to work so hard. She’s incessant. She can’t 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. I’ve a BA Honours in Hindustani classical music,and hope to sing for one of my films.

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