WHETHER it is stripping down or making shocking remarks, Sherlyn Chopra has never been far away from controversy. But now, she is making news for artistic reasons and reconnecting with her first passion of acting with a lead role in the second series of popular streaming show Paurashpur 2.
The accomplished actress portrays Maharani Snehalata in the daring Ekta Kapoor produced period web series streamed on ALTBalaji and ZEE5.
Eastern Eye caught up with the popular star to discuss her princess role, setbacks, controversy, regrets, importance of independence, command over Hindi and advice for her younger self.
How would you describe your new show Paurashpur 2?
Paurashpur 2 is a huge blessing for me. I would like to first and foremost thank Ekta Kapoor for this blessing, and for taking a huge leap of faith in me by offering me the lead role in the series.
How did you bag the project?
I was called for a look test, and after things fell into place I saw myself playing the role of Maharani Snehalata on the sets of Paurashpur 2. So, all I had to do was pray and wait.
I had been waiting to bag some quality projects and thankfully god almighty heard my prayers. (Laughs) He must have asked ‘Ekta Kapoor, Bulao meri bacchi ko’ (call my daughter). I am very happy that I am now being spoken about not regarding some controversy, but a fabulous project.
How did you find yourself at the centre of so many controversies?
Usually, I keep my opinions unfiltered in front of the media. Because the truth is controversial and that’s the reason I get associated with the word ‘controversy’. I want to say that no matter what the circumstances are, you should not fall apart. That’s because people are going to shame you at every walk of your life. People shame you publicly and at times there is the pelting of stones. What is it that we need to do now? Will you stop living your life?
No, we need to be a bit stronger and get going. I am indebted to the people who shamed and abused me. They compelled me to become a stronger version of myself and roar like a true tigress, under the disguise of Maharani Snehalata.
Have you ever been replaced on a project after being signed?
A lot of times. There have been a lot of instances where I was signed up for different projects and, at the 11th hour, they would replace me with a nepo-kid or an actress who had famous parents.
How do you deal with such setbacks?
I used to blame myself and my destiny a lot. I always used to feel and wish I was born to famous celebrities. I am the daughter of a doctor – doesn’t that suffice? Slowly and steadily, I understood that it didn’t matter if I belonged to a film family, I knew that it was going to be an uphill battle for me. Had I not got to face those battles, I would not have become the person I am today, who is sitting next to you and answering your questions.
Are you happy with the way your career has shaped up?
I am happy to be at a stage in my life where when I speak, hundreds of people listen to me. I have zero interest in small talk. I don’t brag about my parents by saying that my father and mother are in this position, or I am their niece or someone’s girlfriend. I only speak for myself, and feel I am talented and confident. So, what if I had to experience a few obstacles in my life? This is the reality of life, and these struggles transform us into a better person.
Paurashpur 2 relies entirely on your shoulders. Was there any kind of pressure?
There is a lot of pressure. Initially, I used to cry at the shoots, because of the nervousness, society, and pressure. A special friend of mine told me that there is no need for me to get anxious about it and it’s time to show your true prowess and just own it. He said just show it to the world that you are a tigress who knows how to roar. So, that’s it, I have arrived.
How is the second season of Paurashpur going to be different from the first?
I enjoyed watching season one. I loved Shilpa Shinde and Annu Kapoor’s acting skills. This season is totally different. The entire plot is different, it has different characters, and this story has nothing to do with the story in season one. This season’s characters are top-notch; everyone is after the royal throne and power. Who is plotting against whom and who wants to go for the kill is what forms the crux of the story.
Your Hindi diction is remarkable. How did you master it?
I love watching a lot of news channels. I follow news reporters and the way they speak Hindi. I observe that they play with the words. I am trying to learn like them and want to keep trying. I hope one fine day, my vocabulary improves. Moreover, I like to speak in Hindi. It’s a shame that many Bollywood actors don’t know how to speak Hindi. They feel that it’s cool to communicate in English. I feel flaunting your vocabulary in English is not a big deal. Speaking Hindi by keeping in mind the rules of grammar too, is a good thing and a big deal, especially if you are an Indian.
It’s been two decades since you joined the industry. Do you have any regrets?
No. Initially, I used to take my portfolio and visit offices. I used to knock at producers’ doors for work because I never knew who I actually was. Now I know that I am a child of god. Now I sit in the comfort of my home and pray to be blessed and get blessed. I pray with a firm belief that this prayer has to manifest because I have surrendered myself to my lord and it definitely will manifest. He has no shortage.
God has created this world; will he not shower me with film projects? Would he not shower me with wealth? He is the almighty. That’s the kind of belief that we need to have.
You have always been very bold and fearless. Where do you draw these attributes from?
Initially, I wasn’t. I was always this fearful girl who used to overthink about the future. Now I have understood that whatever needs to be done, has to be done by me. I am the hero and villain of my life. When you understand these things, then the parameters of our lives change for the better.
What would be your advice to your younger self?
I would want to wake her up and ask her to stop making stupid decisions, and make sure that you explore yourself. Then there will be a time when people will come to you right in front of your house. The first and foremost thing you need to do is understand your power. There is a power that governs us.
Have you ever dealt with depression?
Absolutely, I think everyone deals with it, and lucky are those who don’t have to deal with it. When your relationships fall apart and projects kind of slip out of your hand, you almost feel that your life has come to an end. I want to build an organisation for the younger generation, which talks about some techniques to deal with depression, and with the help of those tools, they will be able to tackle any kind of situation in their lives.
According to you, how important is it for a girl to be independent?
Very important. If you aren’t financially, emotionally, and spiritually independent what would you offer to your partner? Most of the time fights happen due to finances. If we become independent, if we are able to take our own decisions, and if we don’t depend on anyone, then life becomes like a cakewalk. Before anyone gets into a relationship, one needs to love themselves first.