Having done over 14 South Indian films, Meera Chopra, the cousin of Priyanka Chopra, Parineeti Chopra and Mannara, has forayed into Bollywood with her debut film 1920 London scheduled for May 6 release. She talks to Sangeeta Yadav about working in a horror genre
- Tell us about the character that you play in 1920 London?
I play Shivangi, a Rajasthani princess who gets married to Veer Singh (played by Vishal Karwal) in London. They share a beautiful love story but something happens and her husband gets possessed. To save her husband, she returns to India and gets in touch with Jai (Sharman Joshi), an exorcist who saves her husband and the family.
- How was it to work with director Vikram Bhatt?
I always wanted to work with him and in the true sense, he has launched me in the industry even though my earlier film Gang of Ghosts, directed by Satish Kaushik, released earlier. Vikram sir is somebody whom I look up to for advice. He is a wonderful person.
- You are sharing screen space with Sharman Joshi for the second time…
I have worked with Sharman in Gang of Ghosts which was a comedy. I have learnt a lot from him. Sharman is a seasoned actor. Having worked in over 14 South Indian films, I am a confident actress. But when I worked with him, I realised that I still needed to learn a lot.
- What was the biggest challenge for you in this project?
The film itself was a big challenge as the character is completely opposite to me in real life. She is scared, crying and lost. I like to do love stories, lighter roles but in this film, I was sobbing endlessly. Horror movies are very difficult. There is a specific type of acting that you have to do. It becomes very heavy. That’s what happened to me. It was a 30-day back-to-back shooting schedule in London. The character became so heavy for me that after 20 days, I broke down and told director Tinu Suresh Desai that I can’t do this anymore. I need a break. I don’t think I’ll do a horror film again.
- Any scene which took a lot of time to shoot?
On the first day of shoot, which happened at a railway station in the morning, we had a very long dialogue to say within the time the train passed us. That train used to come after every three hours. When we were shooting this scene, Sharman said his lines fast but I got so intimidated by the way he delivered that I forgot mine and the train passed by. We had to wait for the train for three hours. I’m still not happy the way that scene has come out.
- How is this film different from others?
This will be the scariest among all previous franchises. It is a well written script with a beautiful love story, lots of twists and turns and lots of horror. In the previous two films — 1920 and 1920: Evil Returns, it was the girl who got possessed. This time, it’s Vishal who gets possessed and the girl who fights the spirit. It was a difficult movie to shoot but the director made it somewhat easy.
- Tell us about the South Indian film industry.
South is a very good learning ground. I didn’t know I would do films. It wasn’t an intentional move and South Indian films happened to me sitting in Delhi. I was working there for three years before I got a break in Bollywood. In the South, I used to be bothered about the language and at times amidst 200 people, there would be nobody whom I could talk to in Hindi. That was a little uncomfortable.
- Do you believe in supernatural powers?
I don’t believe in them and never experienced them either. But it sounds very fascinating. Till the time I see something supernatural for myself, I will not believe in them.
(The article was published in Sunday Pioneer – http://www.dailypioneer.com/sunday-edition/sunday-pioneer/backpack/horror-is-a-difficult-genre.html).