Parineeti Chopra Speaks About Playing The Alcoholic Wreck In The Girl On The Train

So how  was 2020 for you?

I  was  fine , seriously. It was a great year personally…we  all wanted  that pause in our lives to rethink and reload . But of  course work suffered. We  were  hardly working

And now you  have The  Girl On The Train?Emily  Blunt   was  absolutely Oscar-worthy in it. You are  very  effective too.

You know, I wanted  a challenge  like this  at  this juncture  of my career. I  was looking to go anti-image. I  wanted to do  something that  would shock surprise and challenge  me. I wanted  to  escape  the  rom-com trap.I was  actively  looking  for  something like The Girl  On A Train.  Sir,  you’ve been around  long enough in this  industry to know  how they typecast  an actor  . After  doing films  like Shuddh Desi  Romance ,Golmaal  and Hansi Toh Phansi I  was  seen as the rom-com cast-fit.

 But  Hansi Toh Phansi  is  not really a rom-com. It has very serious undertones  on a  social  misfit’s struggle to conform

You know it. I know  it. But how  do we convince the industry? It is very hard to convince  them to cast you in something different when they  feel you fit into the rom-com genre well. No matter how much you tell them that you are  not  just good for Golmaal  they won’t believe  you can do a The Girl On The Train because they haven’t seen  you do  it,  so how will they know? 

They will know, true talent  can’t be  slotted?

This is  why I will have  a lifelong  respect for  (director) Ribhu Dasgupta.  He   saw  me in this dark role .He  showed  faith. You know, when I heard about the  role I went to them and said, “If you think I’m good for this role  let me read  the script and  then  you can decide if I’m right for it.’ And do you know what they said? They said, ‘What are you saying! We’ve been trying to  contact you  for  the  past few days because we  wanted you  for the  role.’See, how  destiny works. We were  both  looking for each other at  the same time.

Did that reassure you?

It  was  very liberating for me. To have Ribhu think of me for the role  challenged  me as an actor.  From Day 1  of shooting I knew I had made the right  decision. I felt so much at home doing this film.I was  able to  finally do  a genre that I was waiting to, and  a film that offered  me an opportunity to get away from  my image.

Meera  Kapoor  in The Girl On  The Train is unlike  any heroine we’ve seen  in Hindi cinema, unstable…

Unstable  is  right. She  is ….something else.

Playing an alcoholic  were you drunk during the making  of the film? Emily Blunt  apparently drank her way  through the role?

I  was completely sober throughut. Not a single Tequila shot. If Emily Blunt really drank her way through the  alcoholic’s  character that’s really impressive.  If I  took  even one tequila  shot I wouldn’t be  able to  concentrate  on  my work.I relied completely on my instincts.

So would you say this is  the  most challenging  role  of  your career?

Understatement  of  the century,Sir. It is  the  most challenging immersive,  most difficult  role  I’ve ever  done. I used to pride  myself on being  a  switch-on-switch-off actress. Colleagues  used tell me they  have do an intense role  and they need  to take  a holiday. I’d just do my work and go home. I’d laugh at them and ask them why they   took their work so seriously.  But that was my  naivete. I hadn’t experienced a  character  before  that would affect me  so deeply.

The  Girl On The Train has changed your attitude to acting?

I wouldn’t say that. Let me  correct  you.  This was something I always wanted to do. I’ve always been  an academic  type, the student-teacher dynamics impressed me. But I never  got that opportunity on the sets   until now. 

It must have been frustrating having to wait for  the  opportunity?

I  don’t want to come  across  as an actor  complaining about  the work that I’ve done. I love all my films.They’ve made me what  I am. I am in a privileged  position where the  audience expect  more from me. I am happy to give that in The Girl On The Train. I wanted  to do more  than  just do my work and  go  home. This  film took me back to my school and  college days of doing my homework and  not  expecting anything  but the best out of me. This is the kind of person I always   was. Henceforth I  know  I will apply this yardstick of  excellence  to all the  roles that I do.

 What  if something  like The Girl On The Train doesn’t come your away  in   the near future?

No , that’s in my hands. I will choose what I want  to, hopefully  . To give  you a example, my next release is a   bio-pic on Saina Nehwal. The character may  not be  as intense as Meera Kapoor. But she is  a genuine authentic real character  and it’s my  privilege to  play her.You  will  see a completely different me. That’s what  I want to do each time.

Finally the  question that I ask you  in every interview: are  you still single?

As single as  I was the last time we  spoke. You  will have  to find someone for me.

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