Photographs: Abhijit Mhamunkar Patcy N in Mumbai
'I keep my eyes wide open all the time, twitch my nose, my tongue is always out, I keep tapping my fingers and eat toothpaste.'
Parineeti Chopra goes 'mad' in Hasee Toh Phasee.
Parineeti Chopra plays a 'mad' scientist in her next film, Hasee Toh Phasee. While the actress insists she's not as mad as her character, she admits to having a lot of fun while playing it.
Hasee Toh Phasee will see her opposite Siddharth Malhotra, and will release on February 7.
Parineeti chats with Patcy N about the upcoming film, the kind of roles she would like to do, and why she has rejected films with big actors.
What is your character in Hasee Toh Phasee all about?
I play a scientist, who is a genius and because of that she is a bit mental.
To play the character right, I have done a few things. I keep my eyes wide open all the time, twitch my nose, my tongue is always out, I keep tapping my fingers and eat toothpaste.
There is a reason why this woman acts the way she does.
Sid’s (Siddharth Malhotra) character likes her because she is so different.
This is not your typical rom-com. It was good fun shooting Hasee Toh Phasee; we were all always laughing on the sets.
'I am a huge fan of Deepika Padukone'
How close are you to your character?
I am a very enthusiastic person. I am a very bright person, and very friendly but I am not mad like her.
It was fun to play the character. It is not Barfi! or My Name is Khan where they (Priyanka Chopra and Shah Rukh Khan respectively) played autistic characters. I have no medical problem but still I am a bit off in the film.
I had no reference point for this character. I had total freedom to do whatever I wanted with my character.
You were nominated for a Filmfare award (for Shuddh Desi Romance), but Deepika Padukone won. What do you have to say about that?
I am a huge fan of Deepika. If any other actress won this year, it would be unfair.
Deepika has played different roles and her films have done well at the box office. The reviews have been very good. So there is no chance anyone else can win.
Deepika deserves it. But I am happy that I was nominated. I would have felt bad had I not been nominated.
'I will do all kind of films but they must be right for me'
Hasee Toh Phasee is a unique title…
The title of our film was Hasta La Vista, but I didn’t like it; I felt it is not what the movie is about.
Vikas Bahl of Phantom came up with the title Hasee Toh Phasee because I have this very bizarre laugh in the film, in fact, the laugh is scary.
The title may not complement the film, but it is very catchy.
Your work in Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl, Ishqazaade and Shuddh Desi Romance was much appreciated but a real blockbuster has eluded you.
When I am acting in a film, I think about what the film will do. I don’t think about how much it will recover as that is not in my hands.
Certain genres of films become blockbusters and those genres don’t allow me to do much in the film. I may be there for five or seven minutes. I haven’t done those films yet, but I will do them.
Barfi!, Ashiqui, Rowdy Rathore, and Cocktail fetched Rs 100 crore. They are all different kinds of films. I have to get a film that seems to be a commercial film, where my role is also good.
I have been offered many films in which I didn’t have much to do and those films might have made Rs 100 crore.
So what kind of roles would you like doing?
Roles for which I have to do homework. I want to go home and have tension about how I will do my scene tomorrow.
I have prepared for all the roles I have done and so my performance was good and I was nominated and received awards.
My forthcoming film Daawat–e-Ishq also has different look. And I will play a glamorous character in Kill Dill.
I will do all kind of films but they must be right for me.
'I have been offered films opposite older actors but I didn't do them'
Your dialogue delivery in every film is such that any one can make out that you are a Delhi girl.
In Ricky Bahl, I played a Delhi girl so I spoke like that.
In Ishaqzaade, I played an aggressive girl from Lucknow.
In Shuddh Desi Romance, I hardly have any dialogues. I have always spoken the way my role demanded.
In Hasee Toh Phasee, I am an expressionless girl. I will speak fast and in one tone.
Would you like to be paired opposite an older actor?
Yes, why not? I would like to work with all the senior actors because I have grown up watching their films.
I have been offered films opposite them but I didn’t do them.
Where you offered roles opposite any of the Khans?
I won’t give you details, but I was offered films with almost everybody. I told the directors I was not even in the film for 10 minutes, so what do I do?
If cast opposite a big actor, does the role of the actress diminish?
It depends. Cocktail was a Khan (Saif Ali Khan) movie, but Deepika Padukone and Diana Penty had great roles. Deepika had a good role in Shah Rukh Khan’s Chennai Express.
If the film is an action film about the boy, then of course the girl will not have anything to do.
Barfi! was about Ranbir Kapoor, but both the girls (Priyanka Chopra and Illeana D’Cruz) had great roles.
I would love to do a love story because the boy and girl would be equal.
'Siddharth was a good partner on the sets'
Of all the roles you have played which character most resembles you?
The character in Ladies vs Ricky Bahl. It was actually me -- Punjabi, bratty, childish.
I have nothing in common with my characters in Ishaqzaade, Shuddh Desi Romance, or Hasee Toh Phasee.
What was your experience of working with Siddharth Malhotra?
It was good. At first, I thought I won’t get along with him because he says very little. But within a few hours, I came to know that he is very intelligent and I could talk to him about anything.
I love talking to people; my bonding grows by talking.
We have the same sense of humour, we crack similar kind of jokes. Because we are both from a middle class, non-filmi background, we have lots of things in common and we have bonded well.
He was a good partner on the sets. If I was tense because my scene was not good, Sid would calm me down.
How was the newcomer, director Vinil Mathew?
It was superb working with him. It is his first film but he has made 300 advertising films. He is a very experienced director. He was lovely.
Sid and I would rag him a lot and he would take it sportingly. We would tell him ‘Yeh ads main hota hain, films main nahi hota’. He really thought we meant it.
'Alia Bhatt is going to be a huge star'
In the Rapid Fire round on Koffee with Karan, when Alia Bhatt was asked who she would gift the book Style For Dummies to, she said Pari (Parineeti Chopra) needs it the most. What do you have to say to that?
Alia called me and told me she had said that on Koffee with Karan and she also told me that when I have my chance, I should say I would gift her Acting for Dummies.
Alia and I have been friends even before Student of the Year released. We get along very well.
We are not fighting. I know what she thinks of me. She holds me in high regard. She always says I am a great actress and my Hindi and English is so good. She says nice things about me. I think she is going to be a huge star.
How much do you believe in luck?
I totally believe in it. My name is Parineeti, which means destiny.
All my life I wanted to be a banker and I worked towards it, but a flight ticket from London to Mumbai was cheaper than a London to Delhi ticket so I took that and came to Mumbai. And I never went back.
My story is very weird and that can only happen because of destiny.