Parineeti Chopra debuted as an actor in the 2011 romantic comedy Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl. Before joining the film industry, she had wanted to become an investment banker and work for one of the top banks in Singapore, New York, London or Sydney. Although her academic choices were a world apart from her current profession, Chopra says she wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. In an interview, Chopra talks about her educational background, her current film career, and money management. Edited excerpts:
You graduated from the Manchester Business School. Why did you choose to study business, finance and economics?
Initially, I wanted to become an investment banker. And obviously that required a major in business, finance and economics. I was an ace student—I did really well in classes XI and XII. Hence it was a natural progression for me. I got admission into the Manchester Business School. Though people normally go there for a postgraduate course, I got into an undergraduate course. When I took admission there, I was the only Indian to be picked by the institute. I was one of those students who did really well academically.
Why did you choose to study abroad? A family tradition of sorts or a larger goal in mind?
I have been travelling right from the time I was a baby. As a family, every year we used to take long holidays and travel all over the world. By the time I was 17, I had seen half the world and I wanted to go and explore living in the UK all by myself. I also aspired to get a job in one of the best banks in Singapore, London, New York or Sydney. I chose the UK because it turned out to be a place for the kind of person I was. Hence, no family tradition but a personal choice.
Owing to the slowdown, you returned to India after finishing studies in 2009. When did you realize you wanted to become an actor?
I actually came to India with the intention of going back to the UK as soon as I could. I thought things would get better quickly and I would be able to apply for jobs again. I was sure because I had a good degree in hand and I had done very well academically. But the recession didn’t die down for a very long time. In fact, even in India, I didn’t get a job because financial institutions of any kind were not hiring anybody that year. That is why I applied to Yash Raj Films, just for experience in an industry which I thought might not be affected by recession as much. And I was right. I was taken in immediately in the marketing division (in 2010). I used to do public relations and communications for them since marketing was also one of my majors. A year and a half later, when I had worked in a lot of films and met a lot of actors and seen how films are made, I realized this (acting) is something I could try. It actually happened very late.
Have your educational choices proved to be handy in your current profession?
Honestly, not really, because films are a completely different world.... Also, I am not really up-to-date about whatever I have studied. I also don’t apply my academic skills in the film industry. But because I have an interest in finance and have done a small stint in the wealth management space, I tend to try and take care of my investments. When it comes to investment products, I prefer government securities. But I also gravitate towards fixed deposits and mutual funds because I am not a big risk-taker in life. In fact, my first investment instrument was a fixed deposit. I am quite up-to-date with my CAs (chartered accountants). Though my father and two of my CAs take care of most of the stuff, I am always involved.... However, when it comes to the math in the film business, I don’t really involve (myself) in the economy of my films. I did finance for a few years and I am enjoying what I am doing right now.
At one point you were a salaried individual with a regular income. Now your income is irregular and sporadic. This makes managing cash flows that much more important. So what’s your money management technique?
Actually it has nothing to do with regular or irregular income..... We are conscious about money and very responsible about how we spend. For instance, I work on a budget. I make sure I know exactly where I spend. I am not a spendthrift or an extravagant buyer. Hence, it has nothing to do with the income structure. I think my upbringing has made me more conscious about money even today. Though I try and buy things I always dreamt of, at the same time I work very hard for it, every single day, for having a better lifestyle and a better standard of living. There is a discipline instilled in me and I hope it remains all my life.
Name: Parineeti Chopra
Invests in: Government securities, fixed deposits and mutual funds
Money mantra: ‘We are conscious about money and very responsible about how we spend. For instance, I work on a budget. I make sure I know exactly where I spend. I am not a spendthrift or an extravagant buyer.’
Shah Rukh Khan
Degree: A doctorate (Doctor Honoris Causa) for his record of philanthropy, altruism and humanitarianism and his global reach as an actor, from the University of Edinburgh.
Actual cost: Not available
Degree: An honorary doctorate in art, from the Leeds Metropolitan University in Yorkshire.
Actual cost: Full-time PhD programme for international students: £13,500 (around Rs11 lakh)
Degree: An honorary doctorate of arts for his contribution to cinema, from De Montfort University.
Actual cost: Full-time international PhD fee: £6,000 (around Rs4.88 lakh)
Degree: A doctorate (Doctor Honoris Causa) for his contribution to music from The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
Actual cost: International students: £14,838 (around Rs12 lakh)
Source: University websites, Mint Research