How did you feel when when you received the Special Mention honour for Ishaqzaade at the National Awards?
I was in Jodhpur when I started getting some texts from journalists congratulating me. Then my mom called me 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 saidbadhai 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,a new category for which Ill get a proper award. Of course it all hit me when I was in the hall with all the winners. To get those three seconds with the President and to know that I must have done something right to get this for my first film was a heady feeling. And you know what,I got it on May 3 which was the day when Indian cinema turned 100.
From aspiring to be an investment banker to becoming a Bollywood actor,who has been your godmother on this journey?
I think it was destined and my name means destiny in Hindi. My parents saw Prakash Jhas Parinati and named me after the film. All my life,I used to think actors are famous just because of their looks. I still remember,in London at a train station,when I broke down. I wasnt getting a job because of the recession and it was taking a toll on me. So I called up Priyankas mom and told her that Im coming to Mumbai. I came to YRF studios with Priyanka who was shooting Pyaar Impossible. I was offered a job in the marketing cell of YRF and thats when the acting dream began to take shape. I thought of enrolling for acting lessons but then Maneesh Sharma told me,Dont go to an acting school; Im taking you for my film. The day after,I resigned and Maneesh offered me Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl. He saw the spark in me and,in a way,Maneesh is my godmother.
In both your films,youve played the pataka girl-next -door. Do you fear getting typecast by the industry?
I believe that if an actor gets typecast,its the actors fault because nobody else is making the choice for him/her. Maybe people feel Dimple of Ladies… and Zoya of Ishaqzaade were similar. But thats okay since my next three roles are different. In Kill Dill,Im all glam.
What kind of female characters and performances draw you?
Ive been shocked by everything Rani (Mukherjee) has done right from Bichhoo,Black,Paheli to Bombay Talkies. Look at Priyanka in Barfi! She was so good as Jhilmil that she made me forget that I know her. I want to be so good at my work that years later,when someone Googles me,they find only good stuff. Anyway,I get bored so easily,so more than the audience I need roles that can shock me.
Do you get bored that easily?
My mom says I have an emotional range and attention span of a teaspoon.
How do you deal with the pressure of looking good all the time?
Earlier,I was naive enough to believe that as long as I act well,it doesnt matter 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 everyday,but I have become weight conscious as well as fashion savvy.
What brought about this change?
There was a series of criticism online about my dressing sense. That made me think that I wasnt doing my best. Ive realized that whenever I dont feel too comfortable with what Im wearing,I look bad in photographs.
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.
Any ambitions of turning a singer like Priyanka?
The running joke is that we have 28 singers on my paternal side. Ive a BA Honours in Hindustani Classical Music. I hope to sing for one of my films.