Pooja Chopra is one of the renowned Bollywood actress and former Miss India. She is the first Indian to win the ‘Beauty with a Purpose’ title at the Miss World competition for India. She has worked in many Bollywood and South Indian movies but her movie 'Commando: A One Man Army' is closer to her heart because she believes that this film has given her name, fame and almost everything that she wish to get in her career. She has worked in movies like- Yea Toh Two Much Ho Gayaa, Aiyaary and Ponnar Shankar (Tamil) etc. She has also worked in director Madhur Bhandarkar’s movies like 'Fashion' and 'Heroine' in a special appearance. Apart from that she has worked with Manoj Bajpai in director Neerja Pandey's short film 'Ouch'. In an exclusive interview with Yogesh Mishra, she spoke about her latest released Babloo Bachelor, working experience with co-actor Sharman Joshi, journey as a Miss India and more...
Your recent released romantic comedy ‘Babloo Bachelor’ is getting good response. How did you get connected to the director Agnidev?
Actually, my name was recommended by Sharman Joshi. I have worked with Sharman in ‘Tom Dick and Harry-2’ but unfortunately that film could not be completed due to demonetisation. He (Agnidev) saw my short film ‘Ouch’ and liked it. One day Sharma Joshi asked me if I would be interested in doing a Rom-Com. Since already lot much explored on this genre and also somewhere I was not much comfortable with this so, initially I refused to do it but he further asked me to listen to the story before I take my final call on this. So, finally I met the writer Saurabh Pandey and listened the story and I really liked it. Immediately after I finished my meeting with Saurabh, I called up Sharman and given my consent to do this film. This is how I got connected to this project.
What is your actual fear factor from Rom-Com genre? Is it from ‘Rom (Romance) or Com (Comedy)?
Rom (Romance) of course (laughs…). Actually, I don’t have any fear from any genre but actually this genre is not that exiting. Most of the films are from this genre only. I was looking for something new to do.
How was your working experience with Sharman Joshi in ‘Babloo Bachelor’?
I feel him like a friend. One day I told him that ‘I was in college when your ‘Style’ got released. I was so young that time’. He said ‘why are you trying to make me feel like an old man’? His face is so cute and innocent that I think he will always look younger throughout his life. He is very sweet and very friendly. As an actor, he helped me a lot on set. Even I used to share his home-made food on set.
There are many dual meaning dialogues in this film but hardly it is applied on your character. What’s the secret behind it?
Personally, I have certain reservations on such things. It’s not that my mother or anyone else have kept it for me but I think, personally I don’t believe in doing such roles. I am not comfortable with romantic scenes, dual meaning dialogues or kissing scenes. I think, if I can’t watch the film with my mom and niece so I should not work with such movies. At least I want my character neat and clean. I personally requested director not to use any dual meaning dialogues in my role.
There is a sequence in the film where you say ‘I have five boy friends’ but still you did not get any dual meaning dialogues in the film. Any comment?
Credit goes to the writer of the film. He kept all the dual meaning dialogues for others and not for my role (laughs…).
Your screen space is almost equivalent to actress Tejashri Pradhan. Director has tried his level best to make a decent balance between both. Any comment on this?
None of us, either me or Tejashri asked to do so. The script was like that only.
Critics have given good reviews about your film ‘Babloo Bachelor’ but what is your review on this?
My one-word review would be ‘fantastico’.
How many stars out of five?
I would like to give 10 stars out of five (laughs…). Actually another 5 stars is for waiting two years. Our film got postponed twice in last two years.
Out of your movies, which is closer to your heart?
Obviously my first film ‘Commando: A One Man Army’ is close to my heart. People recognise me from that movie. Recently I have been to Sikkim for a vacation, during my photoshoot there, another driver came and asked my driver that he has seen me somewhere. My driver said ‘no no, you must not have seen her’. He came to me directly and asked ‘have you worked in ‘Commando’ film?’ I said ‘Yes’. Then he immediately replied ‘that’s why I recall your face’. He asked this so innocently that I could not stop laughing from inside. There are many such incidents where people recall my face because of my character in ‘Commando’. This film has given me so much. My second favourite film is ‘Ouch’. It’s a short film directed by Neeraj Pandey. Manoj Bajpai is my co star in this film.
You are a role model for many upcoming models. Any tip for them? If possible, can you share your journey of winning Miss India contest?
The secret behind my success is my passion. You need to have passion for it. In my 10th standard I won Miss Mount Carmel. This was among 250 children. This was a small affair now it was a time to win a race at national level. After that the kind of preparation I did for three years, actually I don't have words to explain it. At that time, I was in Pune city. I forgot the day and night in my preparation for Miss India. Whatever can be done to win the competition of Miss India, I did those things multiple times. I kept on practicing restlessly. I kept myself ready even in dreams so that if someone ask the questions even in dreams, my answer must be ready to win the Miss India competition. My passion was running in my blood. I can't say it a dream but it was my passion.
During Miss India you were in Pune city bus was there any connections here in Mumbai that time?
Luckily my elder sister was here in Mumbai at that time so, I used to come here and I participated in many fashion shows here in Mumbai. There were hardly any professional shows in Pune city those days.
Who was your role model from the modeling world that time?
There was no one as a role model but it was just my passion that helped me to become Miss India. I admire Priyanka Chopra and Alia Bhatt for their acting skills. But during the Miss India competition there was no one as such a role model. My grandmother used to tell me to focus on the eye of fish like Arjun of Mahabharata.
Who was your guru / mentor that time?
My instructor who used to make me practice, a journalist who kept me updated on the news and general knowledge and a fashion designer who helped me a lot in this. They are actually my mentor or can say gurus.
Pathaan, directed by Siddharth Anand, is one of the most anticipated movies of the year. Shah Ruk
Zindagi Shatranj Hai is one of the suspense-drama movies of director Dushyant Pratap Singh. Panja
Director Rohit Shetty's Cirkus is a comedy-drama with a difference. Although this is a remake of