While her contemporaries Alia Bhatt and Shraddha Kapoor were busy shooting for back-to-back films, Parineeti Chopra took a break, and ‘risked’ her career by not signing any films for nearly two years. But she asserts that through the time, her ‘so-called competitors’ stood by her, and supported her decision wholeheartedly. “Both Alia and Shraddha were very sweet. I used to talk to them at that time. They would say, ‘You are doing the right thing.’ Everybody understood what I was doing, and it was perfectly fine. Everybody’s journey is different,” says Parineeti.
Last seen on the big screen in Kill Dill (2014), Parineeti hasn’t had any release in the last two years. But the actor isn’t perturbed. “I was focused on what I was doing,” she says, adding that her image makeover has helped her look “younger and fitter”.
While on a break, Parineeti admits she got all kinds of advice. “Those who were close to me knew what was going on, but people who met me once in a while would ask me, ‘Why are you not signing films?’, ‘Why aren’t you doing this?’, ‘You are not looking nice’, etc. And I was just like, I know what I am doing, and thankfully, I think it’s working,” says Parineeti.
Taking a break so early in her career was considered risky by many. Wasn’t she afraid of lagging behind in such a competitive industry? “I knew I was taking a risk, but somehow, I don’t think I am a part of anything cliché. I am definitely part of the game — be it the kind of roles or even the endorsements that I have done, nothing has been usual. I think my journey is going to be very different. That one year [break] is a big part of it,” she says.
She says the break was a risk only for her acting career, because she was “losing out on one year of work in Bollywood”. “But during that time, I did everything else (smiles). It’s just that I didn’t start shooting for a film. Now that I am doing a couple of movies, I am happy, because I don’t have any doubts about why I’m doing a certain film anymore. If I had signed a movie in a hurry, mujhe hamesha doubt rehta ki (I would have always been doubtful) have I signed the right film? At least now I know how I look and I know that I am ready to get back to work,” says Parineeti.
Parineeti Chopra admits that it’s “unfortunate” that actors have to constantly explain themselves. “It is part of our job. It has worked well in many ways for me. It has helped me even emotionally. The kind of commitment I have for my work, my focus and the joy I get out of working — all this has been amplified,” she says.
The Shuddh Desi Romance (2013) actor says that the break helped her get ready for work again. “It’s good that I got that time off. I come from an academic background, from banking. I was never connected to the film world. So, for me, to get into the industry and follow its schedules was very different,” says Parineeti.
Check out Parineeti Chopra’s new song Jaaneman Aah from Dishoom
Is her fat-to-fab figure the result of the pressure to fit into the mould of a typical ‘Bollywood heroine’? “People won’t believe me but honestly, it was all ‘self-pressure’. Because there used to be so many kinds of films I wanted to do, but I was like, ‘I can’t do them because I won’t look the part.’ Plus, my wardrobe inspired me. There were so many clothes that I was not fitting into,” says the actor, who, at the age of 27, wanted to be “able to wear cool clothes.” She adds, “I have been fat all my life. People don’t understand that being an actor is not my life. I have always been obese. I have wanted to lose weight for the past 15 years.”