Updated: February 26, 2021 9:15:49 am
Actor Parineeti Chopra says getting into the skin of Mira Kapoor, a character originally played by Emily Blunt in the Hollywood counterpart, was challenging, yet wholesome. “I’m reacting to it as if this is my first film, because I feel like a new actor,” she shares.
Directed by Ribhu Dasgupta, The Girl on the Train is based on Paula Hawkins’ novel of the same name. The psychological thriller also stars Aditi Rao Hydari, Avinash Tiwary, Kirti Kulhari and others.
In an exclusive chat with indianexpress.com, Parineeti got candid about playing an alcoholic, how the Netflix film gave her a better direction in her career, and her memories of shooting on a train in London.
Picking her reference point between the book and Emily Blunt’s performance, Parineeti said, “I think I work with visuals better. So, I did revisit the film, just to get into the world of it. But it was mostly visual references of various things I’d seen all over the world. I used to actually practice in front of the mirror to see how a certain expression looked on my face because I had to be an alcoholic, which I have no experience of. So, I needed body language. I didn’t want to make it very filmy.”
She further revealed that she asked for a full length mirror in her room just for the purpose. “London hotels don’t have the best mirrors. So I had this huge double size mirror in my living room. Every day I would rehearse scenes before coming on sets. For the first few days, I was a really nervous first time student on this film. Once I understood the character, I was fine. I was shooting such a hectic film. It gave me so much anxiety. It was an emotional roller coaster for me.”
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As per the original story, Mira suffers from amnesia and is an alcoholic. Post an unfortunate incident, Nusrat (Aditi) gets murdered and the evidence points towards Mira. The only way out for Mira is that she needs to remember what transpired on that fateful night.
Ribhu rewrote portions in the original script to suit the Indian audience. Parineeti further shared her experience of collaborating with the director for he first time. “We would talk about references or things that he had seen or I had seen. For the first few days, we used some references for me to understand what he meant by what he said. After that I could understand his direction,” she said.
Parineeti’s Mira imagines the back stories of people she sees on her train while travelling to work every day. On being asked if she did that in real life too, she said, “Hundred percent! I’m a person who can’t sleep when they travel. So seeing people outside the window, I’ll be imagining where this person is coming from, or are these two married. I’m a big daydreamer. I freak out people also. Trains are the best places to daydream (laughs).”
Further recalling her experience of travelling in London via train, she said, “I used to travel (in the train) during my university days in England. This whole shoot was a series of nostalgic events for me just because of where it was shot.”
The Girl on the Train marks Parineeti’s debut in the digital space. Sharing her views on why being a part of a web film would’ve been a different ball game till a year ago, the actor said, “Before Covid-19, we were, of course, spoiled because every film went directly to theatres. OTT was always a secondary release. Till a year ago, if you were told that your film is going directly to OTT, everybody would think of it as a step-down and every actor would feel like, ‘Oh, this is a compromised release. If I’m not going into a theater, am I really even releasing a film?’ But a year later, I just feel OTT is not a compromised release anymore. I think it took me some time to get it.”
The film is set to release on Netflix on February 26 and Parineeti calls it “the perfect home for The Girl on the Train.”
“If I was not in the film, and I just wanted to watch a cool thriller in my pajamas, in my house, I would put on The Girl on the Train. OTT is the perfect home for it. I feel today, there’s so much more quality content. You can reach the whole world in a single click. You’re placed amongst multiple languages and people can choose to watch your film at a lesser cost,” she quipped.
Happy bday #EmilyBlunt! You gave me the inspiration (and many sleepless nights) to do something I never had the guts to do before. Thank you for being the voice in my head when I was shooting. I hope I have done even 10% of what you did in #TheGirlOnTheTrain. Big shoes to fill 🙏 pic.twitter.com/JqUKmjRXwu
— Parineeti Chopra (@ParineetiChopra) February 23, 2021
Parineeti had recently wished Emily Blunt on Twitter through a special post, calling her “the voice in my head” So, what is she taking away from this movie?
“This film has really changed me as a person, as an actor. And I’m very lucky that it came my way, with amazing actors who used to challenge me and inspire me, with an amazing crew, and just generally giving me a clear sense of direction of where I want to go after this film. I’ve actually got a lot out of this experience. And I’m almost reacting to it as if this is my first film because I feel like a newborn, I feel like a new actor and a new person. I just hope, that it’s a good start and a strong start, because I have so many plans in my head. I just want them to come to fruition,” she concludes.
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