Bollywood's rising star Parineeti Chopra is now accustomed to following a certain morning ritual. The moment she wakes up, the 23-year-old actress, who made a stellar debut with Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl, rushes to hug and kiss her most prized possessions — the eight trophies that she has scooped over the last few months.
"Tell me, how many people get all the awards at every award function they attend and that too — for a person who never thought she will be an actor?" said Chopra in an exclusive interview with tabloid!.
“For many it takes five
or six films to get this
kind of recognition.
But in my case it all
happened with one
"Just imagine! And I would be lying if I said I was not happy — I am just speechless and I go ballistic each time I hear my name."
The first cousin to Bollywood A-lister Priyanka Chopra, this Harayana-born actress brands herself an "accidental actor". She was all set to become an investment banker and boasts a management degree from Manchester Business School. But number-crunching and coming up with marketing strategies didn't hold a candle next to being under the arclights and having a devoted fan following.
"All my life I was gearing up to be a banker. I know I had a sister in Bollywood and everybody told me that I should also become a heroine because she's a heroine. I didn't want to do that. But it was only when I returned to India, worked with the Yash Raj Marketing department that I began noticing actors at close range. That's when I thought it may be something I want to do and pursued it."
Though her reasons for joining acting are tenuous, her burgeoning trophy cabinet is a testament to her prowess as an actor. Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl may not have been the biggest hit of 2011, but her performance in the drama as a bloodthirsty, revenge-seeking jilted lover was one of the strong points in an otherwise lacklustre film. She played the rich, gullible Delhi brat Dimple Chaddha to perfection.
"When I walk on the streets these days I hear — ‘arre, apap tho Dimple hai na' [Hey, aren't you Dimple?]. That is a bigger compliment than being called by name — it's then I feel as I have done something right," she said.
As a nod to her performance, she has won all the debut awards this season including Filmfare Awards, Zee Cine Awards in Macau, Apsara Film & Television Producers Guild, Stardust and Screen Awards. But she claims that she's nothing like her onscreen character.
Stamp of approval
"I am not this spoilt rich brat — you know — just senseless. Yes I was born in Ambala [in Haryana] so it was easy to speak like Dimple. Nothing else was easy — But everybody feels that I played myself in the film. The fact about acting is that you are always somebody else, occupying somebody else's mind and wearing costumes that you don't normally wear. You have inhibitions that you need to get rid of."
She may have grappled with the role, but the stamp of approval from her influential and successful cousin Priyanka made it easier.
"She is my chaddi buddy [childhood mate]. Before the release of Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl, there was a special screening and didi [sister] was there. And after she saw the film, she hugged me for five minutes, not letting me go and that's when I thought I was going to be OK."
She is not resting on her laurels either as she embarks on her next project, Ishaqzaade with Arjun Kapoor — son of Boney Kapoor and stepson of Sridevi. Like her debut film, her second project is produced by Yash Raj Films. It is tipped to release in May.
"Ishaqzaade will show me in a role that is completely different from Dimple. Without conceit, I can say that this film — my solo lead — will have one of my finest performances, all thanks to Habib sir [Faisal, director]."
Set in rural India, her second outing is billed as a turbulent love story between a star-crossed couple who belong to two warring clans.
"I still can't believe that all these good things are happening to me. I feel like a stone rolling down the hill and I am just rolling. I have even cried when people from the industry have come up to me and said amazing things about me. For many it takes five or six films to get this kind of recognition. But in my case it all happened with one film."
New kids on the block
Who? The son of prolific director David Dhawan.
Where you will see him first: Student Of The Year, a glossy Karan Johar production. Surprisingly, Dhawan didn't turn to his father to orchestrate a dream launch — as is the Bollywood tradition. Instead, he's siding with Johar to launch him in showbiz. And Johar, after the serious My Name Is Khan, is returning to what he does best — romantic musicals. Suffice to say, all eyes will be on the newbie.
Who? Daughter of Mahesh Bhatt and half-sister of Pooja Bhatt.
Where you will see her first: Student Of The Year
Just like Varun Dhawan, Alia Bhatt flouted Bollywood traditions by choosing the slick hitmaker Karan Johar instead of working on a film produced by her father. But when Johar, who is known to cast Shah Rukh Khan in all his ventures, decides to make a young film with a fresher, you don't think twice about it.
Who? Son of Boney Kapoor.
Where you will see him first: Ishaqzaade opposite Parineeti Chopra in a film directed by Habib Faisal of Do Dooni Chaar fame. Kapoor started assisting his father in his productions at the age of 20.
Who? Canadian-bred adult star of Indian origin.
Where you will see her first: Jism 2, directed by Pooja Bhatt. In a shocking casting decision, Bhatt decided to place her bet on Leone, who plays a woman who dared to live life on her own terms. The racy posters are keeping the buzz alive.
Who? He's the son of Bollywood actor Shakti Kapoor
Where you will see him first: In Sanjay Gupta's Shootout At Wadala.
Kapoor will play a shooter in this action thriller starring John Abraham. Incidentally, Kapoor was supposed to make his debut in the remake of Satte Pe Satta, but chose Gupta's venture as his debut feature. "Watch out for his wicked, witty lines," announced director Gupta during the official launch of the project.
Who? He has no Bollywood connections but considers Mahesh Bhatt his mentor.
Where you will see him first: In Chandu. Zahid will play the lead role in the film revolving around a Jawaharlal Nehru University student leader who was shot dead in March 1997 during a political rally. He has also been roped in for an extended cameo in Pooja Bhatt's Jism 2. Dubai played a role in his real life road-to-Bollywood drama — apparently, Bhatt spotted him here during an industry conference in Media City.
Who? A former Kingfisher calendar girl and beauty queen who won the Miss India International title in 2007.
Where you will see her first: In Jannat 2, followed by Raaz 3.
Rumour has it that Gupta bagged her debut role in Jannat 2 from under Prachi Desai's nose. Insiders say that Desai was reluctant to do risque scenes, while Gupta had fewer reservations. She is also called the desi Angelina Jolie.