Even though dowry is illegal in India since 1961, it is still prevalent, and actor Parineeti Chopra is shocked at how Indian families consider it a “gift”. “Everyone knows that dowry is illegal and immoral but they practice it. What makes me angry is that people have renamed it ‘gift’ so that it sounds good. Dowry simply means that you are putting a price on the girl and buying her,” Parineeti said in an interview with a news agency.

The actor is currently promoting her upcoming film Jabariya Jodi with Sidharth Malhotra. The film takes a dig on the culture of demanding dowry during the wedding, especially in the parts of North India. Parineeti said that the dowry simply means one is putting a price tag on a girl and it should be seen as just that. “We call ourselves modern but then what are we doing? To look superior, we are asking the girls’ families for money and luxurious things. It is the unfortunate scenario of our country,” Parineeti said.

A direct outcome of the dowry menace is another crime — the practice of abducting eligible bachelors and forcing them to marry girls, mostly at gunpoint. This crime, known as “pakadwa vivah” (forced marriage), is rampant in Bihar for years. Often, such forced marriage happens because the family of the groom in question demands a hefty dowry. Jabariya Jodi is a lighthearted drama centred on the concept of “pakadwa vivah”.

“Although ‘pakadwa vivah‘ is an anti-dowry practice, it is wrong. You cannot just kidnap someone and force them to get married. However, if there is no demand for dowry, there will be no ‘pakdwa vivah’. I request people to stop putting a price on girl’s life,” Parineeti said.

Apart from Jabariya Jodi, Parineeti has two major films in her kitty. She will be seen in ace shuttler Saina Nehwal’s biopic and the Hindi remake of The Girl On The Train. Talking about the Saina biopic, Parineeti said that it is one of her most challenging roles ever.

“It’s really difficult to play somebody who is respected globally. I know there will be comparisons, and I am prepared for that. I want to do justice while portraying Saina because she has achieved a lot in her life. I want to make everyone feel proud,” she said, adding: “For this role, I had to come out of my comfort zone. No one would have thought that I will play a sportsperson in my life, but here I am. There are multiple challenges. I hope I conquer them all,” Parineeti added.