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Meera Chopra: I am not comfortable with bikini scenes

March 19, 2014 13:30 IST

Meera Chopra: I am not comfortable with bikini scenes

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Patcy N in Mumbai

'In the past one-and-a-half years, I was offered overtly glamorous roles. People think I am good looking, so I will do anything.'

'I don't want to kiss. If I am typecast as a 'bold' actress, there will be another struggle to get out of that image.'

Actress Meera Chopra is quite clear as to what she will, and will not, do on the big screen. She also opens up about her equation with her cousins, Priyanka and Parineeti Chopra.

She's very fond of Priyanka Chopra, but does not like her other cousin, Parineeti.

She became a heroine by accident in the south -- her first film was a superhit! Yet, after a hugely successful career, she dropped it all because she didn't want to act in languages that she could not speak.

This Punjabi kudi has now trained her sights on Bollywood and tells Patcy N why she is excited about her Hindi debut, Gang Of Ghosts.

You carved a successful career for yourself in the south. What made you try your luck in Bollywood?

I am a North Indian Punjabi girl so Bollywood is an obvious choice.

I did films in the south because they fell in my lap without any struggle. Fortunately, my very first film down south (Anbe Aaruyire) was a very big hit. After that, I started getting work very easily.

But, at the back of my mind, I wanted to work in a language I was comfortable with.

I did not want to be among people who could not understand me. (As an actor,) I didn’t know what I was saying. So Bollywood was always on my mind.


Image: Meera Chopra
Photographs: Meera Chopra/Faecbook

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'I was not prepared to work hard'

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Did you plan to become an actress?

I never thought I would become an actress.

I was working in NDTV as a trainee. Money was short but I did not have the habit of asking my parents for financial help. I had lived in America for four years and led a very independent life.

A friend suggested I try modelling, so I did a couple of assignments.

A director from the south saw my pictures in a magazine. He called me to Chennai and asked me to do a movie, Anbe Aaruyire.

It was a big film. It had A R Rahman’s music. Surya S J was the hero; he produced and directed the film as well. Anbe Aaruyire became a huge hit and I started getting very tempting offers that I couldn’t say no to.

But I was not happy; there was no job satisfaction. I was just working for money. It was getting frustrating.

After working for a few years, I decided I didn’t want to do this. But I didn’t know what else to do.

I wanted to try Bollywood but I was lazy; I knew I would have to start all over again. I was not prepared to work hard.

I started my own production company with a friend. We did fashion weeks all over India. Within two years, we were doing quite well.

Then, I started missing acting so I decided to try my luck in Bollywood.

I had to struggle for one-and-a-half years. People here treated me like a newcomer even when I had done such good films in the south.

Then Vikram Bhatt offered me a sequel to 1920 called 1920 London. I was very happy.

A week later, Satishji (Kaushik) called me for Gang of Ghosts.


Image: Meera Chopra
Photographs: Meera Chopra/Faecbook

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'It was my dream to become a crime reporter'

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What was your parents’ reaction when you said you wanted to act in South Indian films?

They didn't want me to do films as they knew it was my dream to become a crime reporter.

I had joined NDTV as a trainee.

I told them to give me 40 days to go and shoot in the south. I said I would come back.

Once my movie became a hit, my parents were very happy.

I come from a middle class family. Then Priyanka (Chopra) became Miss World and found a career for herself in the movies.

Till then, for me, movies were another world, not meant for people like us. You don’t even dream of being part of that. Priyanka made us realise that we can do this too.

What do your parents do?

My mother is a housewife and my father has his own business; he manufactures electrical goods.

I have a brother who helps my father in his business. My sister is still studying.


Image: Meera Chopra


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'I have never asked Priyanka for help'

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When you were struggling did you call your cousin Priyanka and ask her to help you out?

No, I didn’t. Priyanka is somebody I have always admired from a distance.

I have always struggled, never got things easy.

Applying to colleges, getting admission, applying for further studies in the US, getting a job in New York, leaving that job, coming back to India and applying for jobs… I have done it all on my own. At every state of my life, I have struggled.

Priyanka has been a huge inspiration for me. She won Miss World. She was an outsider in the film industry but she is a superstar now. We never thought she could achieve something like that.

When I thought of entering Bollywood, I decided that I would not use Priyanka’s name. She really appreciates me for that.

When I signed both the films, she didn’t even know about it. Now she is happy for me. She always messages me: ‘Babes, if you need any help, let me know.’

But I never asked her for help. Now I will. Now I have proved to myself that I can do something on my own.

How are you, Priyanka and Parineeti related?

Our fathers are first cousins so we are second cousins. We all lived in the same house in a joint family about 20 years ago. All the brothers are very close to each other.

When they split, we all grew up in different cities. Parineeti is very young. Priyanka and I are close as we are almost the same age.

I was very close to Priyanka’s mom and dad too.


Image: Meera Chopra


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'I don't share any equation with Parineeti'

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Initially, Priyanka and Parineeti said they didn’t know you, that you were a very distant relative. Was that disheartening?

Parineeti must have said that. Priyanka will never say such a thing.

It is not disheartening. I know Parineeti has been saying that. I don’t share any equation with her.

When you don’t have emotional bonding with somebody, why will it affect you?

I think she is stupid to talk like that, but it doesn’t disturb me as I don’t remember the time I have spent with her.

Priyanka has always been supportive. In fact, she called me recently to ask me why I haven’t told her anything about Gang Of Ghosts.

I don’t ask her for help but she has been there for me whenever I have needed her. She is tweeting about the film.

You will be compared with Priyanka and Parineeti once the film releases…

I am prepared for the comparisons; I don’t have any options. I am very confident as an actress, so I think there will be only good comparisons.


Image: Meera Chopra
Photographs: Meera Chopra/Facebook

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'Gang Of Ghosts is not a horror film'

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You are doing two horror films back to back…

No, they are completely different. Gang Of Ghosts is not a horror film. It is a mad comedy.

I laughed so much while shooting the film that I didn’t know when the shoot got over.

In Vikram’s movie 1920 London I play a housewife and don’t have a scene where I even smile. I got tired of crying and getting scared.

What made you sign Gang Of Ghosts and how was it working with Satish Kaushik?

I signed the film because it had Anupam Kher and Satish Kaushik. I am a huge fan of their work.

There are so many good actors in this film. I have been their fan.

I saw Mahie Gill’s work in Dev D. She is so talented. The film stars Asrani, Jackie Shroff and Chunkey Pandey too.


Image: Meera Chopra


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'I am dying to work with Salman Khan'

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Are there certain things you will not do on the big screen?

I have a strong do’s and don’ts list.

In the past one-and-a-half years, I was offered overtly glamorous roles. People think I am good looking, so I will do anything.

In the south, I never did any glamorous roles. I always played the gaon ki ladki, girl-next-door kind of roles. I had decided I would not do overtly glamorous roles at the start of my career.

I am not comfortable doing intimate scenes. That’s not me.

I am not comfortable with bikini scenes. I am not going to do it. I just refused a film because of a bikini scene.

I don’t want to kiss.

If I am typecast as a ‘bold’ actress, then there will be another struggle to get out of that image.

Let’s see how long I stick to my rules. I think I will not break them because I am very stubborn, but let’s see.

Will you do an item number?

I am dying to work with Salman Khan.

I don’t mind doing an item number with him or Shah Rukh Khan.


Image: Meera Chopra


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