Please tell us about your growing up days. How did you move from Punjab to the south? What was your dream career in your childhood days?
I was born in Bhatinda, Punjab. My primary years of schooling was in a Convent school in Punjab, Middle years in Mayo College Girls School, Ajmer and passed out IB in Pathways World School in New Delhi. I was always a fun loving, happy, chirpy girl. My dream career in childhood kept changing. Everytime I met someone who was successful, like a Pilot, Astronaut or a Doctor or an IAS/IPS Officer, I kept changing my dream career every now and then. I wanted to be like them all. Till my 12th grade I wasn’t really not sure, what I wanted to do? I was good in business studies so I went to a business school abroad for my further studies. In my second year of college, the acting bug bit me and I decided to shift to Mumbai and pursue a career in acting, as this was the only way I could live all the fantasy lives in this one life.
When and how did the journey from modelling to being an actor in the South Indian movie industry happen?
When I was in Canada in 2013, there was a beauty pageant happening called Miss South Asia Canada. I was a complete tomboy and had never worn skirts. I used to wear pants and always mingled with boys. Mostly Guys were my best friends. So my mom thought if she joins this pageant atleast the basic grooming will happen and she will become more of a girl. I was crowned Miss Personality South Asia Canada in that and post that I started getting a lot of modelling assignments and started doing professional photoshoots. My journey of becoming a model started then in Toronto. That’s when my brother Gurfateh Pirzada and I nurtured a dream of becoming actors and we shifted to Mumbai. I was the face of Dove and continued to do almost 50 Ad commercials in the course of nine months. That’s when I got noticed by casting coordinators from the South and I was flown down to my most favourite city, Hyderabad for my first Telugu film audition.
Was there any kind of apprehensions entering the field of cinema?
I’m the kind of person, if I decide on something; I give it my 100 %. My family was a little hesitant, but not my mom. They told me how lakhs of people come to Bombay and go back without making it in the industry. But I knew I was very focussed and when I have decided I want to do something, somehow the universe works towards it and makes it happen for me. I’m lucky and God has been very kind to us.
How challenging is it to carve out a niche for yourself?
It is very challenging to carve out a niche for yourself. I have not followed any particular plan and have always gone with the flow. Whatever happened at that point of time and whatever felt good, I listen to my instinct, And an instant decision maker and I do it. I am fortunate enough that my life took me to the right direction and touchwood. My audience has been very sweet to have loved me whole heartedly and have even prayed for me to do well to keep entertaining them to the best of my capacity.
What have been some of the biggest highpoints of your journey so far?
My entire life journey has been on a highpoint. I don’t consider falling and coming back as a part of it, important is to never give up and continue the journey. The destination sets in limits, to be consistent is most important to keep going in life, as you’re always going somewhere no matter what. As long as you’re enjoying your journey, your life will be worth it. I’m really thankful for this journey and everything that has happened to me. All the good and the bad as well that has shaped me into who I am today, be honest and humble. This will also help me shape my future for tomorrow as well.
What does family mean to you? How was the lockdown period for you?
Family means everything to me. Without family one really can’t do anything. My mom and my brother have been my biggest support; rather we three have been each other’s pillars to never let one another fall ever. Even in the lockdown period, the three of us were stuck at home and we had so much fun. I have been working ever since I’ve passed out from school, so this time was actually my me-time and my family time. First two-three months I really enjoyed spending time with family, watched movies, television, played board games, Ludo etc. Lockdown was also a learning. It taught me how all the materialistic things that we run after mean nothing. Whether it was the rich or the poor, everyone was on a standstill and locked up. Ultimately what mattered in life was being together with your family, count on our blessings, value what you have and having someone in your life who you could talk your heart out.
What are your other passions and hobbies?
I love travelling. The amount you learn in travelling you can’t learn anywhere else. So either I’m shooting or I’m travelling. These are the two things I really love and of course spending time with friends and family. I also love shopping just like any other girl does. I like to set goals for myself that if I do this then I can buy this for myself and that keeps making me work harder. I like to earn my dreams.
What is your vision and dream in this field that you have made a mark for yourself in?
I want to make myself proud with every step that I take. Till the time I can look at myself in the mirror and say Mehreen I’m very proud of you and I love you, I think I will love myself. My dream would be to do something amazing that people do not forget me. I want to be remembered even after I’m long gone. As long as you can do that you can touch other people’s hearts and make a mark in their lives. I want to work towards making a difference.
What are the changes you want to bring about in the film industry?
I want more women to be a part of this industry. I’m not really a feminist, but I do want equality. I would also like to give more chances to newcomers in the industry.
How has life changed after entering the film industry?
I’m a very happy person and I’m always chilled, but sometimes the smallest of things worry me and the big things that I should be actually worried about I sail through easily.
What kind of a person are you in your personal space? How do you like to spend your me-time?
In my me-time I like to watch something on Netflix or Amazon and cuddle my pet Berlin. Or sometimes just ponder through where am I in life, dream with open eyes and what exactly am I doing. If I get any extra time I just travel.
How often did you take holidays in the pre COVID days? What are your preferred holiday destinations?
In my pre Covid days, I was always working. I’m a workaholic, so I was working all through. Post Covid I have realised that work and play hand in hand. So how important it is to work, it’s also equally important to take a pause and give yourself time and also travel for yourself. Basically do the things that you love. My preferred holiday destinations are all in America. I visit US frequently as I have a lot of friends and family there. I also love going to Canada and London. Europe is my favourite shopping destination.
You have tied up with a lot of brands? What do you see in a brand that you associate yourself with?
When I associate myself with a brand I have to really believe in what they’re doing. Otherwise there’s no point of marketing a brand that you don’t believe in. As actors people look upto us and we should not misguide anyone.
Any memorable fan messages you’d like to share?
All my fans are so special. They even travel all the way to come see me in my releases and I’m thankful to all my fans for loving me so much. I love them all a lot.
Any memorable incidents you’d like to share with us during the shoot of some of your films?
All my film shoots have been a lot of fun, but most particularly I really enjoyed working on F2 and F3. After F2 we became like one family and I was really looking forward to start F3 and meet the same people and spending more time with them. Watching Venky Sir (Venkatesh) perform was so inspiring. He’s so effortless. He becomes like a child when he’s performing and gets into the act. There’s so much to learn from him.
What has been one of your favourite roles so far that you have played?
My favourite role would be Mahalakshmi from Krishna Gaadi Veera Prema Gaadha and Honey in F2 and F3. I hope to do more of such meaningful projects in the future also.
What are the projects you’re working on currently?
I’m working on a couple of projects. I have two Tamil films that I have signed and are yet to be announced. I’m also working on Nee Sigoovaregu, which will be my Kannada film debut with Shivrajkumar Sir. Also F3 is just releasing. I’m super excited about it. I’m also working on Spark, a Telugu-Tamil bilingual. I’m also working on a Hotstar series, that again has not been announced yet, but we already midway the shoot. It’s with a big director in Hindi, so I’m looking forward to completing it.
What are your views on social media?
As long as social media is healthy and as long as you don’t start living your life only for social media, then it’s all fine. I like to keep my life private. Of course, your fans love you and want to see you all the time. But at the same time, it’s important not to portray the life that you’re not leading. That would not be fair. It’s important to balance it out and not overdo anything and stop judging others.
Please share some of the most romantic things anyone has done for you? And your views on love? Also what do you look for in your dream man?
There are a lot of romantic stories. Once I wasn’t feeling well and someone travelled three hours by flight to come and see me only for an hour. I was very touched by that. Love is very important. I feel the foundation of love is actually trust and friendship. This is what I’m looking in my dream man too. Love is very important and at the same time I would want my man to trust me. We should build a very healthy relationship, mutual respect and be like best friends. It should be so strong that one doesn’t have to think twice to share anything with each other.
Was language a problem since you’re a Punjabi? How much of the south Indian languages do you know? The South film industry has given you so much love and affection? What do you have to say about the South Indian film industry?
I had never even travelled to the south since I’m from north India. But when I came to the Telugu industry and wanted to do my first film, I was very sure that I wanted to learn the language so I could be like one of them. It’s very important. Language is a medium to reach people’s hearts. If you can converse with them in their language it’s easier to connect. Although, emotions have no language. From day one I like to give it all. So, when I decided I will act in Telugu films, I wanted to be as much how a Telugu person would be. It’s a constant learning process and I’m still learning the language. I can speak Telugu fluently and Tamil I can understand but have to learn how to speak. Now that I’m acting in Kannada also, I’m picking up a few words and sentences. In the industry, Telugu cinema is like my amma, my mother. A mother is everything to a child. And this industry is everything to me. I think this says it all.
Tell us about the awards you have won so far?
My biggest award is my audience and all the love they give me. That is the real award for me and that I win every day. Touchwood!
How would you like to describe your fashion statement?
I love dressing up. That has been since childhood. Even as a little girl, I would like to wear matching shoes and carry matching bags and other accessories. I would plan my clothes. I like to experiment with fashion, but I won’t just wear anything. I like to wear something that will suit my body. I would never wear something that won’t suit my body type and I won’t be comfortable in.
Your fitness and beauty regime?
I love Crossfits. I don’t work out to lose weight, but to live a healthy lifestyle and I love working out every day. I like to use home treatments for my beauty regime. I use some simple homemade packs and masks that my mom makes for me.
Tell us more about F 3 and Spark.
I just started shooting for Spark. It’s just been 10 days into the shoot. It’s a lovely project and I would like to talk more about it soon. I’m eagerly waiting for the release of F3 and I can’t wait to see how people will take it. There are a lot of expectations from this film.
What are your future plans?
I like to go with the flow. I am a strong believer of destiny. Life never happens as per human plans but by his plans. I don’t keep any long term goals. Short term goals work better for me. Long term ones are unnecessary and I don’t like to give myself unnecessary stress. I keep short term ones and fulfill them and then go ahead. I like to keep getting better every day.
1. Your dream role?
What Keerthy Suresh did in Mahanati.
2. Dream director?
Sanjay Leela Bhansali
3. Favourite actor and actress?
Irfan Khan. Kajol.
4. Your pet peeve?
Not being punctual.
5. Some essentials that are always in your bag?
Sanitiser, lip balm, perfume.
6. Yoga or gym?
7. Indian food or global cuisine?
Indian homemade food.
8. Closest friends from the industry or outside?
My school friend Tamanna.
9. Beaches or hills?
Mountain overlooking a beach.
10. Veg or non-veg?
Prefer vegetarian but I eat fish and mutton too sometimes.
11. Fame or money?
Fame gets money but can’t buy it.
12. Indian wear or Western wear?
13. Straight hair or curls?
Natural hair is straight, so when I’m not shooting it’s usually straight.
14. The last good film/web series you watched?
15. Your most treasured childhood memory?
How my mom has brought us up – both my brother and me. She’s a very strong woman.
16. First thing you notice about a person?
Just the way the person looks at you. The vibes you get from that person.
17. One thing that makes you feel beautiful?
I’m a happy person and comfortable in my skin. If you’re a happy person and comfortable in your skin then you will also be beautiful.
18. Politics, religion, business, sports or entertainment?
19. Go out with masks or rather stay home?
Go out with masks and be careful. Don’t stop living your life and be mindful of not harming anyone’s health.
20. What does social media mean to you?
It’s just a means to be in touch with your fans.
21. How would you define love?
Love is friendship. Your partner should be your best friend.
22. The top three things you’re looking for in a life partner?
Understanding, trust and love.
23. What’s your idea of a perfect date?
I like spontaneous plans and the magic that you both create at that moment. Anything simple – could be a film or a dinner date.
24. Your first love?