Parineeti Chopra on playing bubbly Meeta in her latest, “Hasee Toh Phasee”, and more
There are some people who enter a room and instantly endear themselves to everyone present. Parineeti Chopra is one of them. She walks in describing herself as one who wears her heart on her sleeve, talks and flashes her bright, warm and refreshingly un-plastic smile and you are won over before you know it. In the Capital to promote her new release Hasee Toh Phasee directed by Vinil Mathew, Parineeti talks about her quirky role, her love for singing and food, and more. Excerpts:
What excited you the most about Hasee Toh Phasee when it was offered to you?
My character, Meeta, without a doubt. She’s a scientist. Typically, if you say scientist, you think lab coats and glasses, full stop. But Vinil sir had a very different take on how he wanted Meeta to be. She is one of those people who are so intelligent that they’re borderline mad. She is somewhere between being normal and mentally challenged. Thodi off hai. If you watch the promos, you’ll see that I behave a little weird, dress weird, keep scaring the hero...so it’s very quirky and I felt very proud that I was offered a role like this one; that someone thought I could pull it off.
Tell me more about improvisation that went into playing Meeta?
I had no reference to compare her with, so yes, we did actually make up a lot of things along the way. My director and I would decide little physical quirks for her, like, she’ll keep her eyes wide open, won’t blink much, will stick out her tongue a certain way, will eat toothpaste...the hardest part was remembering all of it in every take I gave, because all of it together constructs her as a believable character. I would do everything but miss out on one detail and would then do it all over again. It became physically exhausting at times but was a lot of fun.
In a role as quirky as this one, there is always a chance of slipping into caricature.
Yes, yes, of course! With this character, there was a huge chance of that happening, so we would always keep a check on whether a shot is looking over the top or fake, like a caricature. We would play out a scene for a lot of people, Siddharth (Malhotra) for example, before actually putting it on reel. I tried to do whatever I did in as natural a way as possible so that people would believe it. A lot of the time it would be too much and I would need to tone down a few things a little, so a kind of hit and trial was constantly happening.
Dimple, Zoya, Gayatri and now Meeta: all characters one doesn’t associate with the typical Hindi movie heroine. Is this a conscious effort towards garnering critical appreciation and even awards perhaps?
I would love the biggest honours to be given to me. Who wouldn’t, really? But that doesn’t mean that I’ll only do roles that I think will get me those honours. My aim is to establish myself as the best actress that I can be so that directors and producers are confident about me and can say that Parineeti can do any role we give her. That’s what I’m concentrating on in my first four-five films and then I think I’ll start playing with the kinds of roles I want to do. I don’t want people to get bored of me and I don’t want to get bored myself with what I’m doing.
Acting aside, you seem to have great fondness for music and food.
Oh yes! I’m a trained singer actually. There was a time when I was very serious about it and would do riyaz everyday. Now that I’m acting, it’s taken a backseat, but one day I do hope I get to sing for myself. It’s my first love and I do cherish a dream to perform at concerts and sing on stage one day. And as for food, I’m a complete Punjabi foodie. Dal makhni, jeera aloo, butter chicken, paranthas, rajma, baingan ka bharta, makki ki roti...just thinking about them gets me drooling. I’m excited about the food here in Delhi more than anything else!