Nayandeep Rakshit (DNA; April 7, 2017)

Parineeti Chopra has finally taken the step her family was long expecting. The actress, who is trained in music, just released her first single Maana Ke Hum Yaar Nahin, which will be a part of the OST of her next film Meri Pyaari Bindu. We met her at YRF and spoke at length about why she chose this song to turn singer and how she plans to take her singing career forward. Excerpts:

What took you so long to sing in a film?
It’s a professional thing. So you have to go about it professionally. We have to decide on a song and then, record it. No such opportunity really came my way. But when Bindu came and we thought of this song, especially when we were doing it for this announcement video a year ago. We decided back then itself that I would sing the song. We waited for a year to record it and that was it. I’m glad that it’s the perfect song at the perfect time for the perfect character in the perfect film and it has happened.

When are you planning to cut an album of your own?
I don’t think of it that way. An album is just a collection of songs. I just want to sing more and more songs, whether I consolidate them into an album and release it under a label or something. It is something that I have to check up on later. At this point, I honestly don’t know about it. But I’ll definitely sing more of my songs or just cut singles or make an album. I have not thought of it. I wanted my first song to be a hit and it’s a hit. Now, I have the confidence and motivation to do more songs.

You have reprised old Bollywood tracks in the film. Will they be part of the soundtrack or do we have another original number in the playlist from you?
In the OST, right now, I am only singing Maana... but that’s for now. That is a part of the film as well. As for the old songs, I have sung a lot of songs which are a part of scenes, moments in the film because I am also a singer. So when you watch the film, anytime I’m singing, that’s my voice. You’ve seen Abhi Na Jao in the trailer, which is getting a great response. Then there’s Aiyye Meherbaan and there are more such songs in the film that I have sung.

Your character has a song for every moment in life. Do you have, say five songs which remind you of five important events in your life?
There are a few — an interesting mix of English and Hindi. There’s Hero by Mariah Carey — the first song I ever learnt. Zara Zara from Rehnaa Hai Terre Dil Mein was the first one I ever performed to. Abhi Na Jao Chhodkar is very important to me in my life. And it’s for personal reasons which I can’t share. Then, there’s Dekho Na from Fanaa, again because it has something to do with my personal life. Then, obviously my songs — especially Jigar Da Tukda (because it was my first song) and Pareshaan because that was the first song in my professional life that became huge. So yeah, I can choose 50!

Alia and Shraddha are also singing their songs today. How differently do you want to do it?
I swear I didn’t even think of all these things. I am so obsessed with music in life. When I was at that recording studio behind that mic, I was just thinking about me singing. And I just wanted to sing as technically sound as it could be. I didn’t want any autotune. What you hear in the song is my take. Nothing has been ‘fixed’. And I’m proud of the fact that it wasn’t required because I have learnt music. Using autotune would have been a slap on my music education.

Did you relate to the lines? Have you ever had your heart broken?
Yes, I have. I have gone through a heartbreak and that really helped me understand the lyrics. I was emotional during the shoot of the video as well as during the singing of the song because it resonates when you’ve gone through pain or any kind of lows in life. Even professionally, I have been through a low, it reminds you of all those times and brings in a lump in your throat. It was hard for me, but it has made me a stronger person today.

Do you still own audio cassettes? What’s your fondest memory of them?
I do have a lot of them. We used to have mixtapes — Side A and Side B. It used to get atkaoed and we used to put it back with a pencil. If it broke, you didn’t have the luxury to go online and download it back then. You can’t play it on repeat — you needed to stop it, play it, rewind it, and then wait because you rewind too much or too less. Those fun things — I don’t think our kids will ever know them.

Which one was your prized possession among all the audio and video cassettes?
It has to be anything by Backstreet Boys! Their albums were the prized possessions of my life because it used to be an English casette so naturally, they were more expensive than Hindi cassettes. And we’ve really put in so much money for a video casette. I used to hear it on loop — from Side A to B full and then again. Till date, I know it in order.

Then there were Walkmans...
I never had a Walkman. We couldn’t afford it. But we used to have one double-deck recorder with two speakers. I still have a lot of those cassettes lying in my Ambala house. They are all there.

Are you an old-school girl that way?
No! I am definitely moving forward. Now I’m online, everything else, too, is online, everything is on my phone. But that feeling of nostalgia will never go. When you think of the old times, it will instantly bring a smile to your face.

If you had a mixtape now, which songs would you pick?
I already mentioned them. The songs which are important to me. The five I told you about...