Unbound by Borders - Mannara Chopra

With a surname to reckon with, Mannara Chopra has been in the Hindi and South Indian film industry for a few years now. The actress has a vigorous positive vibe about herself and is here to make her mark. She believes in working with diligence and being ardently passionate, which helps her in going even further. Celebrating Christmas, we caught up with the bubbly and chirpy Chopra of Tollywood to find out how she celebrates the festival, her work and lockdown life.   

What’s keeping you busy these days?
Post COVID-19 it’s been a lot of travel - there’s been juggling between and Mumbai and Hyderabad - which is good. Thankfully there’s so much work and travel, that I’m almost thinking of buying a home in Hyderabad to avoid the hassle of shifting hotels, especially during these testing times. 

What’s in the pipeline?
I’ve just completed a web film in Bollywood which will release in 2021 and also one in Tollywood.  

What is your criteria for picking a role?
I’m very careful while picking roles as I want to do exclusive work. I’m the kind of person who likes to know everything in advance. Whether it’s the details of each scene or how they’re looking to project a particular character - the details are crucial to me and that’s how I make decisions. But the biggest thing is the story which drives me to make the final call. 

How’s work now?
I’m trying to keep up to the new scenario at work, from wearing a mask to disinfecting my clothes. I believe in life; you always have to adapt to a new situation and find positive ways to come out to conquer.

What’s it like to be out and about during these testing times?
Actually, I’m happy to be back at work! I’ve been studying and simultaneously working from the age of 18. So, now, I don’t know how to do without it. It’s the only thing I look up to each day. Also, I’m a people’s person, so I like to go out and interact with people!

How was the lockdown?
The lockdown made me realise a lot of things. We are blessed to have people from whom we can interact, learn new things, exchange ideas or just talk to. The delivery boys, home staff, drivers are not just on jobs they are all helping make our lives and world simpler and easily liveable. 

This phase also taught us the importance of preserving nature. The trees had become lush and green during the lockdown, and the beauty of the clear sky and pollution-free oxygen was unmatchable. Don’t you agree? Also, it taught us that in the end, only family matters as they’re always there for you.

What kept you busy?
I learnt about meditation and yoga. Now I do 108 Surya namaskars almost 4-5 times a week. I learnt to bake from my mom, in fact, I made my own birthday cake! Apart from that, I concentrated on my singing and made a few social media videos.  

On a different note, how important are festivals to you?
For me, festivals are a time to go back home to Delhi and spend time with my family. Festivals feel incomplete if I’ve not decorated my home.

What is the significance of Christmas in your life?
Christmas is very, very special to me. I remember decorating a real Christmas tree in our lawn in Delhi and get-together in school with friends. We’d go to the chapel on Christmas Eve and make rum and dry fruit cakes. I love the holiday season so much that my mother used to jokingly say that I’d grow up to marry a Christian boy!

What do you want from Santa Clause this year?
That I want to see the North Pole! (Smiles) And why not? Maybe in the company of someone special? Won’t that be a super dreamy Christmas then? 

What would you do if Santa visited you?
The rule at home has always been that no one should be sent back without eating a meal… so I’ll definitely make brownies, fudge and different types of candies for Santa, teamed with some good wine and music too! 

The best Christmas gift you’ve ever received?
It was in my school on Christmas Eve. I got a certificate of appreciation from my teacher, as I used to lead in singing Christmas carols. Believe me; it used to be the best gift, the best time ever year each time. 

One childhood memory of the festival?
Singing Christmas carols on Christmas Eve in school during our school Christmas fair. 

Do you put a tree?
Yes! We had a real Christmas tree in our garden and also used to buy one! I remember, my sister and I would decorate them by hanging Christmas ornaments, adding snow to it in the form of cotton, placing candies on the tree for little kids to pluck and eat and fairy lights, of course.

What’s the plan this year?
I’m very excited to be doing this cover as it’s already giving me the vibe This Christmas I’m in Hyderabad, but I plan to make cookies and bake a cake with friends and celebrate at home with my friends here. 

What do you like about the festival?
The fairy lights and singing carols makes it more special for me. I also like watching Christmas movies, reading books and sipping hot cocoa at home with decorations all around.

One message you’d like to give your fans this Christmas?
I’d like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a very happy 2021! I hope we welcome this Christmas and New Year on a happy and positive note. 

What have you planned for 2021?
I’m looking forward to the release of both my web films. Besides, I’m a person who likes to stay and live for the present.       - as told to Anahita

Outfit: Wanderlust By Sahiba; Accessories: Xxessories; Hair and makeup: Sandy; Styling and direction: Anahita; Video: Adrin Sequeira; Assistant: Amar Ammulu; Photography: Shreyans Dungarwal; Location: Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Hyderabad Banjara Hills