Parineeti Chopra and Sidharth Malhotra were in the HT office, for a chat with the HT Café team. The young actors ended up cracking jokes, talking about their craziest fan moments, and about their equations with contemporary actors.
Parineeti has repeatedly been pitched against the likes of Alia Bhatt and Shraddha Kapoor. Alia even said that she sees Parineeti as competition. However, Parineeti reveals that the two youngsters have had a good equation from before they became actors.
“People don’t know that we’ve known each other since before we joined films. Alia and I laugh off all the talk about competition. When Ishqzaade (2012) released, Alia called and reintroduced herself. I told her I remembered meeting her several times before. I know of her opinion of me since day one, and that she appreciates me as a friend. There is no competition at all… I feel Alia will be a superstar. She has everything going for her,” she says.
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Ask her about turning down roles opposite senior actors — Akshay Kumar’s Gabbar, for instance — and she doesn’t mince words. “It’s not like I want to say no to a senior actor, it just that the role wasn’t good, or they (the films) were clashing with my other films. I’ve told the actors, ‘I have nothing to do in the movie.’ I don’t regret turning them down. I’d love to work with them, but I have to have a great role.”
Your second release is coming up now. Are you feeling the pressure?
Sidharth Malhotra: In a solo film, you do feel more responsible and there is more pressure, even to perform at the box office. But we’ve made an interesting film… something different in the rom-com genre. We’re not playing the typical hero-heroine. So yes, I am nervous and excited.
Parineeti, what drew you to Hasee Toh Phasee (HTP)?
Parineeti Chopra: My exciting role. She’s a mad scientist. When you see her, you will know that something is wrong with this girl. Her eyes are always open, she never blinks, her tongue is always sticking out of her mouth and she eats toothpaste. She’s got no expressions. She’s like a robot. It was a challenging and hilarious part, so I had to do it.
Read: No competition with Alia, Siddharth, says Varun Dhawan
Sidharth, was this the first film that was offered to you after you made your debut with Student Of The Year (SOTY; 2012)?
SM: There was another film that I was supposed to do, and there were a couple of other scripts too. I read them all. But what sold me on this one was Vinil Matthew (director).
For me, the only person who makes a good or bad film is the director. I read the script and it had a lot of quirkiness. So I needed to be sure that the person who is making it can pull it off. When I met Vinil, I was convinced.
Was there something in particular that you were looking to do after SOTY?
SM: What attracted me first (to HTP) was the fact that it’s very different from SOTY. And I think it’s good to try something different. My next film, Villain, is also very different.
You both made your debuts with big production houses. How much, as actors, do you owe to these platforms?
PC: As actors, everybody wants a big platform. The film might be good or bad, but at least you know that you will be noticed and given a chance to be offered more films. I think it’s a great and a safe way to start.
SM: And it also adds a lot of pressure. Of course, we can’t complain about our introduction to the industry, which was grand, but I still need to prove my mettle. I need to prove to Karan Johar (director-producer of SOTY) that he didn’t make the wrong choice. I feel I am answerable to him.
Read: Watch Mental Parineeti in Hasee Toh Phasee trailer
There are so many young actors — Sushant Singh Rajput, Varun Dhawan, Arjun Kapoor and Aditya Roy Kapur — in the industry right now. Does that make the competition tougher? For instance, if you don’t take up a role, do you fear that the other actor might take it?
SM: There is competition, I won’t deny that. But, that has always been the case. Like, for SOTY, we (Varun, Alia Bhatt and I) were chosen from thousands of people. Competition is part and parcel of this industry. Yes, we are all in the same age bracket and we all can do similar roles, but having said that, we aren’t in a position where we can demand roles. We can only hope that a film-maker chooses us. So that kills a lot of the competition for the time being (laughs).
The younger generation tends to only consider Ranbir Kapoor as competition. Why is that the case?
SM: You know how in sports, they say, ‘If you want to compete, compete with the best.’ Similarly, I think Ranbir Kapoor is the best we have right now. He has done some brilliant work. He is above all of us and I think we should always compete with someone who is above us.
Photos: Parineeti-Siddharth's dull chemistry off screen
We keep hearing about actors being friends with one another. What is the extent of your friendship with your contemporaries? Do you guys hang out and do shots at the bar?
SM: We do actually. We meet at birthday parties mostly because we have a lot of common friends.
PC: Because Arjun, Varun and Alia grew up together, they know everybody. And because we know them, we entered their group. So the three of them and Sushant, Shraddha (Kapoor), Sid and I… we keep meeting at parties. It’s hard for people to believe that we are friends, but the point is we all became friends long before our films released.
Sidharth, what kind of background do you come from?
SM: I grew up in south Delhi. My father was in the Merchant Navy and my mother is a housewife. I have an elder brother who is a banker. I had a very regular middle-class upbringing, but I travelled a lot because of my father. I was exposed to a lot cultures and popular culture early on. For example, I watched Full House and Three’s Company long before the shows aired here. Nobody in my family was close to coming to Bollywood. They used to laugh at me when I used to tell them that I want to be an actor.
Photos: Parineeti-Siddharth's crazy love story
What kind of female fan following have you developed since SOTY?
SM: The good kind (laughs). Recently, I was Delhi for my birthday, when four girls came to my house with a cake, some gifts and letters. They wanted to meet me and because I wasn’t there at the time, my mother welcomed them in, thinking that they were my friends. Eventually, when she called me, I told her that they weren’t my friends. That day, my parents learnt not to entertain anybody and everybody.
PC: There’s this guy from Baroda, who comes to my house in Ambala every three months, to bring me gifts and other customised things. My mom keeps stocking them in my room. There was one particular letter I once received from someone that I will never forget. It was in a box with a pair of earrings and a Taj Mahal memento. The letter was a typical romantic one that started with, ‘Meri priya Parineeti.’