Parineeti Chopra and Aditya Roy Kapoor discuss new film Daawat-e-Ishq

A tete-a-tete with the foodies Parineeti Chopra and Aditya Roy Kapoor, who star in Daawat-E-Ishq, a film that is not so much a romantic comedy than a showcase of India's finest cuisine.

A scene from the film Daawat-E-Ishq starring Aditya Roy Kapur and Parineeti Chopra. Courtesy Yash Raj Films
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"We invite you to come and watch love happen over food," says Aditya Roy Kapoor about his latest release Daawat-e-Ishq (Feast of Love), a Habib Faisal and Aditya Chopra film that is now in cinemas.

“The film is about the love for food, love over food and the love of people who have the common element of food in their lives,” says Kapoor’s co-star Parineeti Chopra. “It is an invitation to enjoy food and fall in love.”

The romantic comedy tells the story of Gullu, a shoe saleswoman from Hyderabad, who is tired of men and the idea of romance and love because of her encounters with prospective grooms who demand a dowry. Then she meets and falls in love with Taru, an enthusiastic chef from Lucknow, who is passionate about cooking biryani, kebabs and the other famous dishes this city is known for.

The two actors reveal that food, in addition to being a huge part of the film, has played a major role in the promotional tours.

Kapoor, who claims to have put on “10 kilos while shooting this film”, says: “We shot in Hyderabad and Lucknow, both places known for their amazing food. Everyday, we would get an amazing lunch on set. All we’ve been doing is eating. When not eating on camera, we have been eating off camera.”

Chopra says: “The toughest part of making this film has been resisting the temptation of all the food around us.”

But what about the language aspect of the film? Chopra’s and Kapoor’s characters (Gullu from Hyderabad and Taru from Lucknow, respectively), have very region-specific accents and vocabulary. How challenging was it to adopt a new dialect?

“The accent was quite tough in the beginning,” admits Chopra. “But I am a Punjabi girl who loves languages. When I read the script, it really clicked with me. Anupamji [the actor Anupam Kher], who plays my father in the film, and I started talking to each other in Hyderabadi Deccani, which was very interesting. [The director and scriptwriter] Habib Faisal’s Urdu is very good and we also had a lot of actors from Hyderabad on set who taught us the proper accent.”

Kapoor, who started his career as a VJ on Channel [V] India, made his film debut in the Salman Khan film London Dreams, but only gained fame with his starring role in the 2013 romance Aashiqui 2, where he was paired opposite Shraddha Kapoor.

Of his accent, Kapoor says: “I talk in the Lucknowi style of Urdu in this film. Unfortunately, I didn’t learn as much as I would have liked to. Just the basics. Language is not overly pronounced in the film but a natural occurrence.”

Daawat-e-Ishq is the second time Chopra has worked with Faisal after 2012's hit romantic tragedy Ishaqzaade.

“I felt proud when he offered me the role,” says Chopra. “When you spend so much time working with someone and they want you to work with them again, it feels good.”

A triple honours graduate from the Manchester Business School, Chopra never intended to be in front of the camera. She joined Yash Raj Films as an intern in the marketing department but ended up with a three-film contract. She is known for her lackadaisical attitude to her film career, which has been on an upward trajectory since she made her debut with 2011's Ladies Vs Ricky Behl. She went on to star in the critically acclaimed tragedy Ishaqzaade the following year.

What has it been like since the release of Daawat-e-Ishq?

“The first few films you do, you have nothing to lose,” says Chopra. “So you don’t overthink. You just concentrate on your performance. After that, if you want to keep getting work as an actor, then you have to pay attention to other things, too. You make sure you look good, act well, your films make money and that you get offered meaningful roles. Those things are on my mind, but this industry is not ‘do or die’ for me. If it doesn’t work out, if people don’t want to see my films anymore, I will do something else.”

Daawat-e-Ishq is now playing in cinemas