“ This industry is really not for the weak hearted people ” – Meera Chopra
Meera Chopra is an Indian film actress who started her career with block buster Anbe Aaruyire in Tamil film industry and gave several hits including Isai, Bangaram, Khiladi and more. She made he Bollywood debut with Vikram Bhatt’s 1920 London. It was her portrayal of Anjali Dangle in Section 375, which got her lot of appreciation.
Q. You started your career in Tamil film industry with Anbe Aaruyire, which was a huge success and continued doing films down south and ventured in Hindi film industry with 1920 London in 2016. How had been your journey? Were you waiting for right film for yourself in Bollywood?
When I started in Tamil film industry, I was just 17 and had just finished school. My first movie became a huge hit, so it was easy finding work there. I worked for 3 years and went to USA to pursue my studies because it was back in my head that I am not yet educated enough. I come from a very educated family so one thing was always there to complete my studies. I was in USA for 4 years and completed my bachelor’s degree. When I Came back, I did couple of more films down south, as it came very easy to me. The kind of films they make are a very mass oriented, which I could not relate much to. I wanted to explore and came to Hindi. I did 1920 London in 2016 and was expecting to get good offers but honestly, I didn’t. I was getting same old horror films and lot of eroticas, though I never understood the reason why? People told me, it could be because of the way I look, you been offered certain kind of roles. I wanted to break that thing and was looking for something which you feel proud of. Even when I was offered Section 375, I was also offered Pagalpanti . I met Anees Ji and many more people. I told Kumar Ji that I don’t want to do Pagalpanti and want to do Section 375. He was like you have gone mad that you say no to a INR 100 CR movie and this Is just INR 10 CR. I said, it does not matter to me, I just want to do Section 375. Still nobody believed me that I will be able to pull of that role, as it was very different from the way I look. So, I gave lot of auditions for section 375 and finally, when the director was convinced, I was on board and I’m glad I did that film. There is a huge perception change after that and getting something that have never been a offered before. So, there is this perception change and I was waiting for that.
Q. Does your intellect growth helped you in choosing Section 375 over Pagalpanti ?
It is not about intellect, it is about taste of cinema. One was a thriller genre and the other was Comedy. I am not against comedies or any genre, as actors are supposed to do everything but, it is not me. If you do things which you do not feel like doing, it can frustrate you. I will do what I feel like doing and that is quite a motivation.
Q. During your journey, there would be lot of ups & downs, struggle. How did you cope the same?
Honestly, there were never downs. Though the struggle had been long in the hindi film industry, but I have never been demotivated or depressed or stressed, as I always had a very strong support system in my family. Cinema is thing which I love, but it is not the end of the world for me.
Even in South when I left the industry, my last movie ran for 100 days and I left it at the peak of my career, as it was not motivating me further. If I am not happy, I will really not care about it.
Cinema is something which I love, it is my passion, but it’s not my bread butter. It stress you in the situation, where you don’t get work and is very bad. At some point you get work which you don’t like, so that is also not a good position in life. It is very difficult to say no to work when you have no work at all and I did that for a very long time. But, it did not stress me because I had a very strong family support and was in a very content space.
Q.Is there any peer pressure to be Priyanka Chopra and Parineeti Chopra, as you come from the same family.?
No, not at all. I do not want to become a superstar and do not wish anything like – I want to become Priyanka Chopra.
Q. What you would have been doing, if not acting ?
I probably would have been doing journalism. I did my bachelors in journalism & advertising and even worked in in advertising, for a year in New York . After coming from New York, I was actually working in NDTV for some time. So, if not cinema, I would have been a journalist, as this really motivates me and I feel something about this industry.
Q. Did You struggle at any point of time ?
It’s a constant struggle. I have decided to be a part of the industry, which is uncertain, where I know it is not going to be easy, where lot of people might want to make me a fool. I am quite myself in the industry and I am not any Star’s daughter or anyone’s relative. So, yes I am alone and I know it is going to be tough. Believe me, it is a constant struggle to convince people that I can do this, I can do that. Sometimes, deserving role goes to some other person with influence. Though, I feel angry but it does not demotivates me.
Q. How is Meera in person?
I am a very content, emotional and deep person. I am not shallow person and look for meaningful relations. You will not see me in Bollywood parties, events or get togethers. Even do media interactions, when there is a need to.
Q. What motivates you ?
I feel that I have not got my due yet and this is the thing which keeps motivating me because I don’t think that I am going to sit quiet until, I get what I want. So when you don’t get what you want and you want to get it, that is an enough reason to be motivated.
Q. What interests you ? Are you an observant or a reader?
I am not a reader but a viewer. I watch lot of stuff and big viewer of world cinema. I have almost binged Netflix completely. I don’t attend parties and don’t go out much, I spend my time watching movies because, when you see world-class cinema, you know what you have to do and what not, what you are interested in and you do a self-analysis. Thrillers and family dramas interest me. Even , when you read a script, you know it, if your heart is into it or not.
Q. Would you like to share something to upcoming talent, who want to enter in this profession. Any suggestion or advice?
This is a very interesting question. I think this industry takes a lot from you. Recently, a TV actress committed suicide and another TV actor did suicide a month ago. Somebody, who is not confident about themselves, should not come to this industry.
You should be really passionate about what you want to do. You should be very confident about yourself, that nothing can make you go down, make you feel bad about what you are, should only come to this industry, because when you are a newcomer, you will face a not so welcoming situations. They will make you feel bad, make you think twice about how you look, how you walk, how you behave and more. If this all you can take, then only, you can make it really through your way in this industry. This industry is really not for the weak hearted people.
Life is too precious to give it to one industry. If it is not working out here, one should explore beyond.
Q. What is the next project for you?
I just finished shooting for an Amazon Show – Kamathipura. Also, am getting very interesting film offers and shall be soon locking something soon.