Parineeti Chopra has fever, but that doesn’t mean promotions for her new film have to stop. “I’ve never heard of any actor make it through promotions without getting ill,” the 30-year-old actress jokes as she sits down for an interview.
She still manages to chatter non-stop with her staff and banters with co-star Arjun Kapoor, who is giving interviews in the other corner of the room.
She spoke to Reuters about their new film, “Namaste England”, where she plays an ambitious woman who moves from a small Indian town to London, husband in tow.
Q: The banter between you and Arjun Kapoor has been evident throughout the promotions for this film. Have you two always been like this?
A: Yeah! And people think it’s only now, but we’ve been like this for seven years of our life. I met him 2011 and it’s been a friendship of seven years. It’s our second film together, and I don’t know if people get it. It’s the most real, honest, genuine friendship. It’s just that we are actors and it is out there on platforms. But our relationship is like that. We cannot talk normally to each other. It feels awkward and fake if we do.
We’re those friends who call each other on their birthdays and never say the words “Happy Birthday”. It just feels wrong. I love that I can be myself with him and I love that we are in a non-judgemental friendship.
Q: Does that make work easier?
A: A 100 percent. There is absolutely no ‘co-star-ness’ with him, if that’s a word. There are no rules or protocols to be followed. There is no “Arjun has gone on sets before me, now he’s going to be pissed that I am late,” etc. More importantly, it works better within the scenes we do, because I don’t have to warn him about what I am planning to do in a scene. I don’t have to tell him, “I am going to hug you” or “I am going to sit on you” in this scene. As a co-actor he will react, because he is equally comfortable. We’ve done kissing scenes together, action scenes together and there has been no problem at all.
Q: What attracted you to “Namaste England”?
A: I was a fan of Vipul (Shah) Sir. I went to his office and was thinking about “Namaste London”. And then he said, “The film is called “Namaste England”, and I said “Cool, I am doing it. I don’t even want to listen to the script.” The thing is, I liked Vipul Sir instantly. I couldn’t wait to be directed by him.
Q: Your character in the film is the ambitious one, the one who wants to move out her village in India to England…
A: She is, but the beauty of the story is that these characters are from a very small, conservative town in Punjab but Arjun’s character is not backward in any sense. He supports her. When I was reading the script, I thought that would be the conflict – that they would get married, he would oppose her move and there would be a crack in the relationship. But that is not what happens.
Having said that, it is set in a simple, traditional Indian world. I call it a Hindustani film for the Hindustanis. The masses out there, small-town India who make up the majority of the country… my staff loves this film. My spot boy loves it, and that gives me a lot of confidence, because we made this film for them. We made it for the people who don’t relate to high-concept, urban worlds.
Q: Is there a marked difference between urban and rural audiences? Do they relate to different films?
A: Sometimes, they can do both, but the challenges that come with our lifestyles, or the kind of entertainment we seek (is different). We travel abroad, we have Netflix, we FaceTime each other. We live the modern, metropolitan life. But when you go into small-town India, their lives are so simple, and therefore their expectations from entertainment are also the same. They are not streaming Netflix, they are not on Instagram. These are their dreams – they also want to move abroad, get a job, and Vipul Sir really gets that.
Q: Do you make films for the kind of person you are, or for your audience?
A: It’s only the audiences. The audiences are also people like me. But then, you have to balance it out. I don’t necessarily agree with the segregation – I think all of India is one. For an Aamir Khan film or a Raju Hirani film, the segregation doesn’t exist. This is just for some of us. If there is a segregation of subjects and audiences, then I’ll do both. I won’t choose. However, the aim is to make a film that is pan-India.
(Editing by David Lalmalsawma; This article is website-exclusive and cannot be reproduced without permission.)