As she packs a punch with big Hollywood projects like Quantico and Baywatch, Priyanka Chopra is equally ecstatic to receive India’s fourth highest civilian award Padma Shri. The actress shares with Go-getter why it is a lucrative idea for global stars to work with Indian actors.
Clad in a yellow hand-woven textile sari, Priyanka Chopra loftily embraced ‘India’ as she strutted around in a Delhi hotel’s lobby, showing off the latest jewel in her crown, Padma Shri. She couldn’t stop smiling. “I’m figuring out how it should be called. Padma Shri Priyanka Chopra is just too long. So let’s keep it PSPC,” she giggled. The energetic girl has got a penchant for success and already set new benchmark for her colleagues in the film industry.
Her successful stride at the box office is now further augmented by Hollywood’s big projects. Her noted debut on American television with Quantico catapulted her stature as one of the best glamorous exports from India. ‘Baywatch girl’ is yet another feather in her cap. Doesn’t she feel intimidated? “I have had the fortune to train in one of the most prolific film industries in the world. I never feel intimidated in front of the camera. Here, I have worked with some of the most talented film-makers. They have honed my skills in a way that you put me in front of any film star or director today, I would be able to pull off my part on screen. I feel confident,” she averred. In her illustrious career in Hindi cinema spanning almost a decade and half, she has worked with the biggest names, be it actors like Salman Khan, Shah Rukh Khan and Akshay Kumar or directors like Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Prakash Jha, Ashutosh Gowariker and Vishal Bhardwaj.
She has risen like a phoenix but at her own terms and conditions. Millions of her fans couldn’t stop gushing about her when Dwanye Johnson, better known as ‘The Rock’, introduced Chopra into the Baywatch squad with a short video on Instagram. She clearly stole the thunder in a clip that lasted less than a minute. “I have almost turned Hollywood into Bollywood. I turn up late by 15 minutes on the sets of Quantico. Now they all know that I will be late. But that’s me. I can never change myself for anybody,” she roared.
Representing the nation
Now that she spends most of her time abroad, shooting for Quantico and Baywatch, she is also happy to clear myths about India. She said her co-actors are curious about her identity and largely India. “They think we are only about meditation, yoga and spirituality. Their knowledge is driven by stereotypes. India has much more to offer. I tell them how we are emerging in different avenues. Now they also watch my movies on Netflix. I find this cultural exchange really riveting. They are amazed by India’s diversity. Ours is a land where diction and language change at every few kilometres. We have a rich legacy of food and fashion,” she said.
Beauty with business
Acknowledging the fact there have been Indian superstars who broke through Hollywood before her, she believed it was never more exciting than today for ‘Hollywood meets Bollywood’ notion. After all, it’s all about business and talent. While Indian movies are breaking records abroad, and occasionally feature Hollywood stars, the Western film-makers too have understood commercial value of Indian soil. “Today entertainment business is a global game. Hollywood is turning to India for business opportunities. Their flicks are raking in big money. At a time when entertainment is just a click away on your phone, regional boundaries must not matter in the game. Quantico was released in a record 120 territories and dubbed in 44 languages. It was a lucrative deal. I think it makes sense to have Indian talent on board,” she said.
Chopra is missing Hindi cinema, specially dance numbers. Has she said goodbye to Bollywood? “Hindi films are like my first love and as they say, nobody can get over it. My contract requires a commitment of six months for Quantico. So the rest of the year is spared for movies. I am finishing last leg of Baywatch and after that, I am all game for a Hindi movie,” she promised.
Written by Karan Bhardwaj