With a dozen odd films behind her that she has done down South, one would expect Meera Chopra to be carrying fond memories of her seven year long stint there. Surprisingly though, Meera – who is now making her Hindi debut with Gang of Ghosts today – doesn’t mince any words when it comes to her lack of job satisfaction in the Tamil and Telugu film industry.
How has been the journey from South to North?
In South I used to feel a lot misfit. I am very much a hardcore Punjabi girl from Delhi; I don’t know how I landed in south. Trust me, even when my films were becoming hits there, after the release of each one of it I used to tell myself that it is my last in South.
First and foremost I wanted to work with my own people. Moreover, South is very laidback and since I am laidback myself, I always felt that it would be counter-productive professionally. A lot of people used to tell me that I should be more aggressive and since Bollywood is very aggressive too, I felt this would be the right platform for me.
But South film industry pays well, isn’t it?
Yes, it is very good money there but then there was never any job satisfaction for me. I am a girl from a corporate background. I have studied in New York and worked with NDTV. I am a person for whom more than money, it is the happiness about what I am doing that is more important. In South I was never happy.
Were you happy working in Gang of Ghosts?
Yes, of course. Other than the fact that Satishji (Kaushik) was directing me, I have to acknowledge that Ratanji (Jain) has been the sweetest producer that I have worked with. Otherwise if I look at my South stint, the producers there interfere a lot. They take a call on anything and everything. On the other hand, I never saw Ratanji interfering on anything as Satishji was given full liberty. He is a very generous producer and that showed in his approach when it came to our stay or other requirements. He is very large hearted. We were an ensemble cast of 15-16 people and all of us were treated equally. Otherwise in South, they treat lead actors in one way and rest in other.
In that case, guess Bollywood is the ultimate destination for you now?
It is too early to say as here again I am feeling like an outsider. I don’t have many friends here; I stay alone in Mumbai. First and foremost I want to gel into the system. I am treating myself as a newcomer again. For me a big reason to be happy is that I can converse with people in Hindi. Down South people spoke in Tamil and Telugu and so many didn’t even understand English. I hope I get good work in Bollywood; I don’t have to go back to South.