Returning to the big screen with Jabariya Jodi after their 2014 breezy romantic comedy Hasee Toh Phasee, Parineeti Chopra and Sidharth Malhotra are five years wiser and closer. The comfort shared between the two actors is striking, and it’s easy to guess why. Both have seen their share of failures and also learnt how to deal with it. The two stars have also gone through the obvious typecast trap and are now looking to break out of it.
Sidharth’s turn as a raw, flamboyant lad from Bihar in Jabariya Jodi’s trailer is a departure from all of his previous outings. While Parineeti has films as diverse as Badminton champion Saina Nehwal’s biopic and The Girl On The Train remake in her kitty.
Talking to indianexpress.com ahead of the release of Jabariya Jodi on August 9, the duo reveals if there’s pressure to recreate the magic of their previous collaboration. They also talk about filmy acting and the curse of bad Fridays.
Here are excerpts from the conversation:
Q. When two actors come back together after a much-loved outing, is there a pressure to live up to the expectations?
Parineeti: You have given us a lot of pressure just now with a very loaded question! Honestly, as actors, we would do anything for that pressure because that is coming from the fact that you were loved and accepted in your last outing. That’s what we work for. We work to be loved. If you are saying that people are discussing a five-year-old film till today, I think every actor wants five of those films in their career and they are sorted, right? So, that pressure is honestly taken positively.
Hasee Toh Phasee had a cool, urban set-up. Jabariya Jodi is the opposite. It’s as desi as it gets. It’s as loud, larger-than-life and filmy as it gets. That’s half the reason why we signed the film because we wanted to come back together in the correct film but didn’t know what it was till Jabariya Jodi came.
Sidharth: It’s special to come back with a cast which has been loved before. There comes a lot of goodwill. But obviously, it’s not part two of Hasee Toh Phasee. It’s a different zone. There’s something new to look forward to. We are hoping the same crowd comes in and maybe there will be newer fans of me and Pari. We have put in a lot of hard work and effort into the film.
Q. Jabariya Jodi writer Sanjeev K Jha has heaped praise on both of you. Because Sidharth has not been in such a role before, Sanjeev said he would surprise everyone.
Parineeti: Absolutely! I genuinely feel Jabariya Jodi is one of his best performances. I keep saying this because it is unexpected. He is such a cool, urban, soft-spoken and understated guy. Abhay Singh (Sidharth’s character in the film) is not that at all. Abhay Singh is out there. He is not subtle about anything. So, to come out of your comfort zone and not look uncomfortable (is great). If this were Sid’s first film, I would feel this is how he is. He is that convincing. He is going to surprise everyone.
Q. Sanjeev mentioned that it’s great to have Sidharth and Parineeti in the film because obvious casting choices are boring. But as actors, experimenting is risky. Have there been times when you have been advised not to take up roles because they did not suit your image or were too different from the kind of work you have done before?
Parineeti: My biggest learning has been exactly what you said. In fact, it’s weird that Sanjeev said this because I have been saying the same thing that if I am the most obvious choice for a role. I think I should not do it because I think I have already done it and I want to do something different. Yes, image is something that I am learning more about. The audience forms an image of you from what you have played on screen and that’s just one part of me. So, I want to show them variety.
For that, I have to do different kinds of films. It’s exactly why Sid is thought to be an urban, cool guy who maybe cannot do a Jabariya Jodi but today he selects a film like that to prove to people that he can. It’s a risk but that’s the exciting challenge.
Sidharth: I don’t think it’s a risk if the story backs it and the character has a graph. You have to look at the film from a holistic point of view. I have had people who told me, ‘Jabariya Jodi? Patna ka ladka? Sid, you are playing this?’ While I was shooting the film, I had people tell me, ‘Oh you are playing this small-town guy!’ I took it as a motivation.
I felt it is unfair to assume that I can’t when I haven’t. You see the product and then say. In my head, I don’t consider myself urban, rural or anything like that. I have lived in New Delhi, Mumbai and other places. Jabariya Jodi will set the record straight and we will probably have good things to hear.
Q. In a recent interview, you spoke how you enjoyed filmy acting in the film. But is there a risk of going overboard?
Parineeti: I was introduced to filmy acting in Golmaal Again. That was my first film which had a completely different grammar and style of performances. And I had 19 principle actors to see. Their delivery was so much different from whatever I had done before and I think it’s beautiful. It (filmy acting) comes with a certain world of films. And you accept that. Jabariya Jodi is also in that world.
I don’t think when you watch Jabariya Jodi, you would be like this is too much or over the top. I don’t know if it is filmy acting or not but it’s not understated. As an audience, I love watching these kind of films. I would have loved to watch a film like Jabariya Jodi if two other actors had done it. So, performing it was more fun because then you get to be a heroine. You get to do slow-motion. You get to speak those dialogues. So, why not? It’s amazing fun doing that, and these kind of films will never go out of style.
Sidharth: There’s only good acting or bad acting. There’s no such thing as filmy acting.
Q. You both have said that Fridays are a gamble for actors. How have Fridays affected you and how have you coped with the days after?
Parineeti: For me, there are about four-five films which haven’t done well. And the first time I saw failure, it was a big shock because I didn’t know what failure was. I did not know what it meant for a film to not do well. But you get better at dealing with it. I am such a feedback hungry person in life that I take it (failure) as feedback.
Honestly, I groom myself in every department of my life based on feedback. So, I took those negatives and understood what might not be working for me and what I did wrong in a certain film. You know by Friday afternoon whether a film has been accepted or not. So, I think I take it positively. I can’t let it break my spirit or affect me negatively because as an actor you will be finished. You won’t be able to perform anymore. You have to learn, move forward and do even better than your last outing.
Sidharth: Everything is short-lived. Be it good Fridays that people built us up for or the bad ones when they try to bring us down. Nothing is permanent. So, every Friday is about performance eventually.
In our country, the full credit is given to stars, more so when the film doesn’t work. It becomes branded as ‘those stars’ films are not working’. But we are merely a technical aspect of the film. We are just following lines that are given to us. We are performing the way we are directed. We are styling according to the clothes given to us. We are surely the face of it (a film) but not entirely the creators of it. So, my attitude is to keep working hard and look forward to every Friday with an equal amount of excitement and zest.