In 2011, when Parineeti Chopra made her debut with the film Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl, and followed it up with films like Ishaqzaade and Shuddh Desi Romance, few would have imagined the cute, bubbly girl in an intense role as Mira Kapoor in The Girl On The Train, or that she would one day transform into ace shuttler Saina Nehwal in the biopic Saina.
If she has managed to prove her versatility, Parineeti says she seems to have rediscovered herself. “I feel more liberated now, I feel like I found myself again and I feel great to be myself. You see I introduced to the world through the films and the kind of characters I played in those films. Most of them were the bubbly, happy-go-lucky Punjabi girl who is a drama queen too! Those characters were entertaining and people loved me in those avatars. So people started believing that even in reality I am that girl. Somewhere the reel life and real life got mixed and I also thought that I have to be that person in public. Whereas in reality, I am a deep thinker,” Parineeti said.
“I have always been an intellectual who is academically inclined. I was good in studies and in every creative process. I plan my work, I analyse, I strategise. I think with time and with a certain maturity I realised that I just want to be myself,” she added. Before entering the film industry she completed her higher education in Business, Finance, Economy from Manchester Business School and aspired to be an investment banker.
Despite early attention coming her way thanks to her roles in Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl, Ishaqzaade, Shuddh Desi Romance and Hasee Toh Phasee, she has also seen a fair share of struggle and she went off the spotlight for around three years. Her recent releases The Girl On The Train and Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar have brought her back in focus.
“When people saw me as a bubbly girl, I wasn’t faking it. That is surely a side of me, but I am a little more serious as a person than that people think of me. I think it would not be right to say that I feel liberated now because I never felt imprisoned. I choose to work with my gut feeling when I took a film, I choose to dress in a certain way, appear at certain public events. I am not rebelling, I am just being myself. I am following my heart and my gut feeling, so this is me and I am happy,” shared the actor.
Saina directed by Amole Gupte shows the journey of Saina Nehwal, the first female Indian badminton player to rank as world number one in the sport. Tell her that the film is woman-oriented, and she replied: “I think the time we are living now, with the amount of work that we women are putting out there, we should stop labelling our films as ‘women-oriented cinema’ because if it is about equality, we never said there is ‘male-oriented cinema’, in which the story revolves around a male protagonist.
This is the time when, even though the dialogue should continue, we girls have to focus on our actions because we know that we are capable of more, in every field — be it sports, science, defense, academy, entertainment — in every field. By labelling as ‘women-centric’ and ‘women-oriented’, we narrow things down.
Yes, we know we have a history where women faced discrimination and their effort has never been recognised. But now is the time for action, for achieving our dreams and for making the world celebrate when we say, ‘we are capable of doing more’,” Parineeti signed off.
Saina, also featuring Manav Kaul, Eshan Naqvi, and Meghna Malik releases in theatres on March 26.