Their film, Shuddh Desi Romance (SDR), hits theatres today. But even before the film’s release, the movie’s bold theme of live-in relationships has created quite a buzz. The three lead actors — Sushant Singh Rajput (SSR), Parineeti Chopra (PC) and Vaani Kapoor (VK) — visited the Hindustan Times office for a quick chat on stardom, movies and changing mindsets in society.
This is Parineeti's third film, your second and it marks Vaani's debut in Bollywood. What’s the state of mind?
SSR: We are nervous and excited at the same time because we know we have made a good film and want everybody to watch it.
Parineeti, do you feel like a senior now?
PC: No, I am only three films old. So, I can’t feel like a senior. And it really doesn’t matter if it’s your first or second film. Everyone who is in a film today is chosen because of their talent. So they know they have proved themselves. There’s so much confidence and commitment, and there’s equal motivation.
Vaani, since you are making your debut with a big banner like Yash Raj Films, do you feel relaxed?
VK: Relaxed? I have mixed emotions — I feel nervous, excited, I am happy, but at the same time I feel I will have a nervous breakdown. But relaxed? No, I am not really relaxed.
On stardom and its perils
Parineeti, do you feel like a star?
PC: Why me? No, not at all. Stardom is something that comes after many years. When you are a star, you cannot walk on the roads. And I comfortably walk on the roads.
Do you not get mobbed?
PC: Well, people do recognise me, but I walk on the roads. I still do my grocery shopping. I don’t do the boring ‘bhaaji’ (vegetable) shopping. But I buy milk and yoghurt myself.
Sushant, do you feel like a star?
SSR: Why do you think so? The perception is the problem. I am trying to (feel like a star), but am not able to. But that might happen in a couple of years.
Has public perception changed from the time when you were doing TV?
SSR: Initially, people used to call me Manav (his character on the TV show Pavitra Rishta). Now they know me by my name.
SDR is not a typical Bollywood love story. Didn't you think twice before signing it?
SSR: You don’t always think about what audiences will think of the film. You see whether you can relate to the story and the character and if you can add something to it.
On live-in relationships
Are you open to living in?
PC: Sure, if I am in love with a guy and we’re both okay with it, but not ready for marriage, and our families are fine with it, then why not?
Vaani, when you took up the film, you were perceived as the second lead. Did you think about it?
VK: When Maneesh (director Maneesh Sharma) described the role to me, it never came across as the second lead. Since I don’t have an acting background, this is a huge opportunity for me.
Is it true that you barged into Aditya Chopra's office?
VK: No, how can I? How can anybody dare to? I have no connection with him whatsoever. I am not that desperate.
TV audiences are slightly conservative. Did you think that audience might say when they see the film?
SSR: I don’t choose a role or do films anticipating what the audience will think. Secondly, we are not showing anything that doesn’t happen in our society.
The theme of live-in relationship has similarities with your life. Did you draw upon similar experiences?
SSR: No, the characters and situations are completely, different as is the context.
As the film is set in a smaller town, did you have a reference point from your own lives?
PC: Jaipur isn’t a small town. We are showing middle-class society, but not small town. The characters are open-minded and belong to the middle class. Jaideep (scriptwriter Jaideep Sahni) and Maneesh did the research. By the time we came into the picture, they had a lot to tell us.
If you were offered a film that wasn't commercially viable, would you do it?
PC: The audience today is so amazing that they can accept films and surprise you. And sometimes, films with commercial elements don’t work.
Sushant, when you were doing TV, you were at the top. Was it difficult to leave that?
SSR:It wasn’t difficult as I was clear that I want to be in this industry. So I was feeling suffocated there. I wasn’t learning anything. I didn't quit TV for films, it just happened. I was called for three auditions and it just clicked. All the three films I am doing right now are because of those auditions.
How did Ankita (girlfriend Ankita Lokhande) react?
SSR: She was supportive. She gave me the freedom to do what I wanted.