I hope to do a role that is timeless – Parul Gulati
Three Punjabi films and quite a few commercials old actor Parul Gulati is a dreamer. While growing up, acting was perhaps never on her mind. But certain things are destined to happen. When she was still in school, she received a message from a production house to feature in a commercial. Ever since then she has been living a dream in the city of dreams. As her third Punjabi film Zorawar, where she will be seen opposite Honey Singh, hits theaters today, Parul has a hearty chat with Pandolin.
How did Zorawar happen and what role do you play?
I was shooting for Romeo Ranjha when my manager found out that PTC is making a film called Zorawar. I had a day’s break from the shoot of Romeo Ranjha, so I came to Bombay and met Vinnil (Markan, Director). He had seen my ad with Dharmendra ji and immediately narrated the story (of the film) and told me about the rest of the cast. I decided right away that I want to be part of such a project. A few weeks later we started shooting in Chandigarh and that’s how I got to play Jasleen of Zorawar. I consider myself lucky to be a part of such a project where we had a team of talented and patient artists.
How was the experience of sharing screen space with Honey Singh like?
He is a superstar and yet he has often admitted to the fact that “he is not an actor but if he is doing it, he is going to give his best as he doesn’t do anything half-heartedly.” He is a learner and this quality of his has taught me to always stay grounded and to never stop learning, no matter how successful you get. He is very witty and entertained each one of us on this little journey of Zorawar.
Having worked in various TV commercials, what is the criteria you consider before saying yes to an advertisement?
I have been part of quite a few TVCs in different languages. Initially the criteria was to do well-known and good brands. But over the period, I have started looking at the scripts because even in ads there are so many genres to explore. Each day you work with a new set of people and I have been lucky to have worked with quite a few big directors such as Shimit Amin, Shoojit Sircar, Anurag Kashyap and various talented DOPs and technicians from whom you get to learn a lot. Everyone has their own style. One of the advertisements that I did for Gaana.com have become quite popular lately. My best shooting experience was for a commercial for Malaysia Tourism which was a lovely script and we were in Malaysia for 10 days. Through this ad, I got to do touristy things in a different way.
How has your training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, London, helped you in your journey as an actor?
My decision of going there was made after I did my debut Punjabi film Burrraahh. The Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts was where I got the real taste of acting. I had a full-fledged feature script to work on and all I had in my mind was to polish my skills and understand this beautiful art of acting. I believe it’s always wonderful to study the form you love the most. It has broadened my horizons as I have had a very small journey as an actor. One day I hope I can affect people with my acting and do a role which is timeless.
Tell us more about your initial background and your entry into the film industry?
I have always been a child with a lot of dreams, though I never really thought of entering this industry. But I’ve always considered myself as God’s special child. I was still in school when I received a message on a social media platform from a production house for a commercial and I took my brother along for the meeting. Since then I have been living a dream in the city of dreams.
Being a part of the Punjabi industry, do you think that female actors here don’t get enough credit – from the kind of roles written for them to their fees?
Sadly it’s true. All over the world this is the most talked about topic but sadly everyone is just ‘talking’ about it. Every industry in today’s time faces this lesser pay attitude towards women. But not only the Punjabi industry, even major parts of Bollywood are facing this situation. But it’s slowly changing. I strongly feel that the film Punjab 1984 was such a brave film where the whole story revolved around Kirron (Kherr) ji and the role was written for an actress of that age group. That’s where the change started happening.
After that, we saw films like Angrej where Dhan Kaur’s role was really appreciated and then there is the recently released Channo Kamli Yaar Di which Neeru Bajwa has produced and acted in. So I think it’s about time that things start changing. But young and new actresses need to stop settling for lesser amounts as they are damaging their future along with that of the others. Eventually it affects how actresses are looked upon because there are people who settle for very less.
What is it about the Punjabi film industry that bothers you the most and you would really want to change?
This is an issue that the entire Indian film industry is facing. We do not pay enough to the writers. We are willing to invest into everything but writers. We just have a few good writers in the Punjabi industry but otherwise, most of the directors are writing their own scripts. I wish that we invest in good writers because only then will we have various stories, characters and genres to explore. Also, I just shot for a TV commercial with a female director. I really wish that the Punjabi industry also gets its own female directors.
Since you are based in Mumbai, is Bollywood also on your mind?
Yes surely. If a good story comes my way and that gives me a good standing in Bollywood, I would love to do it.
Are there any directors and actors on your wish list?
Diljit Dosanjh, without any second thought, as he is such a talented artist. Gippy Grewal too as he is so talented and has also ventured into direction. Then there is Amrinder Singh and the list goes on. Anurag Singh is one of my favorite directors. I would also love to be part of any film that is written by Amberdeep Singh as he is an asset to our industry. And if I get a chance to work with PTC again I would be really happy as Rajiee M Shinde is my favourite producer.