The evening was romantic. The stage was set. And then Parineeti Chopra walked in and set the stage on fire. Dressed in lovely backless white dress and silver stilettos, the ravishing Hasee Toh Phasee star was promoting her TV debut, Zee TV’s India’s Best Cine Star Ki Khoj where she would be seen as a mentor in intial episodes. We posed a few questions to Parineeti and the Ishaqzaade star gladly obliged. Here’s what she has to say…
You are coming as a mentor in the show. So what experiences did you share with contestants to help their acting career?
You know, it is not as generic as that. Basically, when a contestant comes and performs, I try to tell them those small things which happen in sets and if they were in a film set what they are doing wrong. I can’t teach them as I am not experienced enough. I was like a friend pointing out small mistakes which could be avoided. And I think it really helped them, as they didn’t know how a scene is shot in sets. Film set is not same like stage, there are so many technicalities which an actor has to keep in mind. So those were the small personal experiences which I shared with them.
Would you advice the contestants to have a back-up plan?
Oh yes! I have a back up plan. So everybody should have a back up plan.
What’s your backup plan?
I am a banker. So the day you all get bored of me and don’t want to watch my films, then I will go back to banking.
You were a banker, then became a PR and finally an actor. Did you ever have an inclination towards banking?
No. I never had any plans to be an actor. For many years, I had my inclination towards banking. I studied to be an banker both in India and England. So I was always interested in banking.When did you came to know that you could be an actor?
It happened when I joined Yash Raj. I was not getting any work in UK. Due to recession, lot of bankers were out of job. So that year I applied at Yash Raj and got the job. I worked as PR for one and a half years there. Then I decided to give acting a shot.
A lot of heroines have to face the dreaded casting couch. What do you want to say on that?
Don’t sit on that couch (Laughs)
You are a mentor in Cine Stars Ki Khoj. Who was your mentor when you first started acting?
My mentor has been one and only Manish Sharma. He’s the reason that I am an actor. He’s the one who found me. He’s the one who spotted me. And then I would say Adi..Aditya Chopra. So Adi and Manish are two people whom I ask, like in the middle of the night I call them and ask ‘Yeh picture karoon ki nahin? Yeh shoot karoon ki nahin? Badi gandi photo aayi hai, kya karoon?’ So all my questions go to them and the best is that they really give you advice like you are the only person in the world. Like nobody else matters. They give me advice and leave the final call to me.
How do you manage to stay so down to earth?
Because of weight(Laughs). I am very heavy. I can’t fly only.(Laughs)
Are you doing a film with Saif Ali Khan?
Yes. Finally, I am doing a film with him. Actually it’s not been green lit. So I can’t say much about the film. But, yes, it will be directed by Dinu as we call him. He is Dinesh Vijan, Illuminati partner of Saif. And we are hopefully starting in October. That’s all I can say about the film.Saif’s daughter is a big fan of you? Did you have a chance to talk with her?
She is very sweet. I actually read it two days ago. I didn’t know she has said such lovely things. I think she and I should sit and meet and then talk about Saif cos I am a big Saif fan. So I think we will just sit and talk about Saif.
What about doing a film with her?
I think we should do it. You guys write the script.(Laughs)
What is your strength as an actor?
It is the homework that I do. I do a lot of research and I really become that person on the sets. I think, may be that helps me in giving a good performance.
If someone believes that they have a talent in them, so should they take the risk of pursuing it leaving every thing aside?
I think they should definitely try. I will not advice to leave everything until and unless they have their first acting offer. If you feel you are talented you should definitely try. But there are very few who get through in their first try without any struggle. Industry is unpredictable. They should have a back up plan and then try.
Who is easier to find now-a-days- a star or a actor?
I think the question itself is wrong, as you can’t search and tell that this person is a star. Even I watch movies, and if I like some actor’s film and go on to watch his movies, then that actor is a star for me. You can’t say to somebody that you are a star. It’s audience’s love which makes a star. So I think the question itself is flawed.
Did being Priyanka Chopra’s cousin give you any advantage?
It could have worked in my favour. But I was already working in YRF and Manish had found me. So it has got nothing to do with being Priyanka’s sister.Do you think age matters in Bollywood for female actors? Do heroines have a shelf life?
No.No.No…not at all. I don’t think so. I mean, there could be somebody as young as Alia. Alia started when she was 17 and Rekha ji is still acting. So I don’t think there is any rule. In Bollywood I don’t think only looks matter, I don’t think only talent matters, I don’t think only luck matters. I don’t think there is any rule in Bollywood.
You said talent matters in Bollywood, but what about marketing? For an aspiring actor how difficult it is to chose the mentor?
You know, I think they choose us than we choose them. Honestly, for me bring with Yash Raj is really helping me because I started with them. Adi and me as an actor-producer have a great relationship. He is always there for me. Same is the case with Varun and Sidarth. They have a great mentor in Karan. So I think with whom you have the strongest relationship, you should work with them. Mine is strongest with Yash Raj.
Preity Zinta is going through a hard time. And no one in Bollywood seems to be supporting her. What do you have to say on this?
I don’t know her personally and I don’t know Ness Wadia personally. So I would not like to comment on it. Seriously I don’t know them. If I knew them or she was my friend, I would have definitely supported her. You know me, I would have said something.Did you share any personal stuff with the contestants?
When I was in the show, no one asked me anything personal. I even finished the shooting and came (Laughs)
Who are you wearing tonight?
I am wearing Varun Bahl and Nitasha has styled me. People think I have changed my stylist in last few appearances, but that’s not true. She is the same stylist and she is making me look better and better.