ELLE Man: Chayan Chopra Unfiltered


Starting out as a whiz kid with his path in life practically laid out from the beginning, Chayan Chopra dared to pursue the unconventional. A lover of the theatrics, chief of businesses and an obedient observer of the world of moviedom, Chopra dove head first into acting, entrepreneurship and film direction. An engrossing conversation with the star takes us through his many shades of sincere.

ELLE: What brought you to acting?

Chayan Chopra (CC): As a child I was sheltered and focused on academics. My parents wanted me to become the CEO of our family business, that’s why business school happened. However, when I joined college I became quite interested in theatre. I joined the theatre club and pursued acting. As time passed, I became president of the theatre society. Somehow, all of this happened naturally without me having to compromise on grades.

In 2019, I got placed at the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). My life revolved around investment banking, management consulting and Excel. That’s when the Netflix film Guilty happened and I did it as a way to explore acting and learn what filmmaking is like. Guilty was definitely my turning point, Class happened much later.

ELLE: What is it about acting that kept you going?

CC: I understood the characters a lot. I’ve read way too many scripts because when you do theatre, that’s what the training process is. I like doing character work and talking to the director about it. To understand what they want from me as an actor in the film. I was a lot like KP when we shot Guilty, a lot like Dhruv when we shot Class. I’m a completely different person now but these characters have helped me grow into myself too.

It’s also the people you meet through work. It was a treat to work with Ruchi (Narain) and Aashim (Gulati), they piqued my interest in filmmaking. I was the youngest on set and everyone treated me very well. I had a group of friends I used to hang out with and I became really close to them. It was warm and welcoming. My perspective towards working in the film industry majorly shifted once I experienced it first hand. We have a lot of honest people who pushed me into exploring the profession further as something that I would want to do.

ELLE: Tell us about your love of film direction.

CC: I don’t watch a lot of films. However, when I do I’ve always watched them from a directorial lens. I resonated with the works of Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, David Fincher and Blake Edwards. I was into violent murder mysteries and action films initially. Followed by years of being intrigued by the drama genre; Call Me By Your Name, Barfi and others. It’s almost like switching genres with life phases.

What I love about direction is the coming together of multiple contrasting elements to tell a bridged story. I like shooting a lot of interesting frames too and then editing it. I wish people continued watching movies the way they were meant to be watched. At the theatre, in lieu of their phones and laptops. That’s what movie magic is about. For a brief period of time, it teleports you somewhere.

ELLE: What is next for you?

CC: I run a business full time, Circle Brands. I would say it is the primary profession given my business background. My brother and I discovered an issue with the import markets and decided to take it upon ourselves to help with import duties, customs, taxes around luxury products. Now, Circle Brands is on Cred. Interestingly, we’ve expanded into multiple branches including Circle Air, Circle Capital and others. I’m going to continue pursuing it but I think the reason I’m able to look at my creative pathways in the absence of pressure, is the business. I thoroughly enjoy myself when I’m acting but I’m very keen on exploring direction. It’s something I can do for the rest of my life.

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- Bookings Editor


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