A Tale Of Two Cities

Actor Eisha Chopra talks to us about work, love and life between Mumbai and Delhi

Radhika Bose

Eisha Chopra made the bold move from Delhi to Bombay four years ago to make a go at acting. Since then she's honed her craft in theatre, scriptwriting, films, web shows and cracked solo life in the big city. She has two big releases this month and it’s little coincidence that she plays a fierce feminist with real wit and character in both — The cult-favourite What The Folks returns with its Season 2 and Ekta Kapoor's headlining digital foray, The Great Indian Dysfunctional Family also featuring Kay Kay Menon.

We talked to her about living alone, making the move from Delhi to Bombay, and life in both cities.

Payal Khandwala with Urvashi Kaur
Eisha wears a Payal Khandwala jumpsuit with Dhora earrings
Q When did you decide to shift to Mumbai, and how did you come to the decision?

I decided to shift to Mumbai 4 years ago. The shift was sudden, almost impromptu and everybody thought I was moving on an impulse. It was a little bit true, but that impulse had been backed by 4 years of indecision and dissatisfaction. One day, I read a quote on the Internet by James Clear. “How long will you put off what you’re capable of doing just to maintain what you’re currently doing?” And then it struck me like a thunderbolt. I know it’s pretty cheesy that a quote was the beginning to such a huge change in my life, but if I have to be honest, that was it.

Q What has living alone taught you?

The difference between loneliness and solitude. They look and seem the same don’t they? Loneliness to me just feels like a sadness that is inflicted up on you, but solitude, it can be so empowering. That’s a choice.

Q What does it mean to be an independent woman in these times?

I think in today’s time the biggest realisation I have had is that we are already free — that we don’t need to seek our freedom from anyone else, we just need to choose it.

Q How did the two cities affect your outlook in life?

People love to do this Delhi-Mumbai comparison. I would say, that at least in my experience of the two cities — Delhi is filled with people whose minds are easily shocked yet they have the warmest hearts; Mumbai is filled with open minds and conversation but so much heartbreak and rejection. I think true success as a human being is when you can marry an open heart with an open mind. That’s what I’ve tried to take away from both places.

mehrauli_2
Eisha wears a Payal Singhal draped sari and blouse
Q What does it mean to be an independent woman in these times?

I think in today’s time the biggest realisation I have had is that we are already free — that we don’t need to seek our freedom from anyone else, we just need to choose it.

Q How did the two cities affect your outlook in life?

People love to do this Delhi-Mumbai comparison. I would say, that at least in my experience of the two cities — Delhi is filled with people whose minds are easily shocked yet they have the warmest hearts; Mumbai is filled with open minds and conversation but so much heartbreak and rejection. I think true success as a human being is when you can marry an open heart with an open mind. That’s what I’ve tried to take away from both places.

Q What do you love about Delhi?

My family, my childhood friendships, Lodhi Gardens, Kamani Auditorium — Just the fact that every corner slaps me hard with a big, beautiful dose of nostalgia.

Q Ideal day in Delhi?

Wake Up. Lie in bed till lunch. Be with my family till they leave for work. Spend the day catching up one on one with a friend. I refuse to work when I’m in Delhi.

Q Favourite spots in the city?

The OddBird Theatre. Lota Café. Too bad they’re on opposite ends.

Q What do you love about Mumbai?

Walking. Talking. Meeting a new human being every day of my life.

Q Ideal day in Mumbai?

Wake Up. Yoga class, and an afternoon shift at shoot.

Q Favourite spots in Mumbai?

My favourite days in Mumbai are those involving waiting in line at… Prithvi Theatre and eating out in Bandra. I love restaurants like Bastian and O Pedro — good food mixed with good fun. I also love taking out a whole day to walk around in Colaba (Kala Ghoda Café is one of my favourite spots!)

Q What projects do you have in the pipeline?

My two shows are out this month — The Great Indian Dysfunctional Family on Alt Balaji that’s opened with great reviews, where I play my favourite character to date, Sonali Ranaut. She’s the woman I aspire to be. Also What The Folks, Season 2 is out with two episodes, and both trended #1 on YouTube. I also make a small appearance in the Netflix show, Little Things S02.

Q Ideal day in Mumbai?

Wake Up. Yoga class, and an afternoon shift at shoot.

Q Favourite spots in Mumbai?

My favourite days in Mumbai are those involving waiting in line at… Prithvi Theatre and eating out in Bandra. I love restaurants like Bastian and O Pedro — good food mixed with good fun. I also love taking out a whole day to walk around in Colaba (Kala Ghoda Café is one of my favourite spots!)

Q What projects do you have in the pipeline?

My two shows are out this month — The Great Indian Dysfunctional Family on Alt Balaji that’s opened with great reviews, where I play my favourite character to date, Sonali Ranaut. She’s the woman I aspire to be. Also What The Folks, Season 2 is out with two episodes, and both trended #1 on YouTube. I also make a small appearance in the Netflix show, Little Things S02.