Actress Priyanka Chopra, who plays the role of Olympic bronze medalist MC Mary Kom, says she has not tried to imitate the boxer on screen as her focus was on representing Mary’s spirit and personality.
“We did not want to imitate her. We are making a Hindi film and we wanted the reach of the film to be wide. I am speaking a lot more in Hindi than Mary speaks and not in Manipuri. And I knew my face would never look like her we did prosthetics and lot of test. I don’t look like Mary. I don’t have the features like her, but I have given blood and soul for this film to make sure I represent Mary’s spirit and her personality to the best of my ability,” Priyanka said in an interview here.
“Sanjay sir (Sanjay Leela Bhansali, producer of the film) said the film had to be about the spirit of Mary Kom and the story needs to be told. The fighting spirit of Mary is there in the film. Mary has seen the film and she has cried at some places…situations. She has given me her affirmation. For me, that is the biggest test won. Audience is god. They will decide the fate of the film,” she said.
‘Mary Kom’ is being touted as one of the much-awaited films of the year, though Priyanka says she never keeps any expectations from her films.
“I never keep expectations from my film. I believe in destiny… I feel destiny and hard work go hand in hand. You can do the best and leave the rest. Every film has its own destiny. Off course I want people to love the film and get inspired. The film has personally inspired me a lot,” Priyanka said.
“I am promoting the film because it needs promotion. But if I don’t talk about the film then how will people know about the film and her. I promote all my films irrespective of whether they will do well or not. I believe in commitment. For me, every film of mine is my ‘Mughal-E-Azam’. None of them will get less or more (attention) from me. I enjoy the process of film and the work that goes behind it,” she said.
Priyanka says the credit for the film’s story goes to its writer Saiwyn Quadras.
“The story that Saiwyn Quadras wrote on Mary Kom was amazing…it was his idea to make a film on Mary Kom and I give him credit for that. Writers are not given much importance and they don’t get good salary also which I think is tragic. When I heard the story of ‘Mary Kom’ I judged it for its story,” she added.
To get into the skin of the character of boxer Mary Kom, Priyanka said she had to work on different things.
“Being an actor I am supposed to train, but I am very lazy. It is horrible. I look fit and athletic and that is because my parents genetically look fit and they did not put weight till they were 45 years old. I am blessed that way. I had to go to gym for this film which was my punishment. I did hate going to the gym and I wanted to kill my trainer,” she said in a lighter vein.
“This is not fitness. Fitness is very different from being an athlete. For us, fitness means healthy living, eating healthy and walking but this was about determination, focus, diligence, it is a lifestyle, a religion to be a sportsperson. For me, this experience was spiritual. I will never be a sportsperson…it will never happen to me again. I will never be able to represent my country in a competition where my ability will be tested. As an actor I got this opportunity to portray that,” she added.
Priyanka reveals as she put in her 100 per cent efforts to play Mary Kom, thanks to the training she got for this film she can now play the sport.
“To learn boxing was a religion. Today, I can play the sport as I know the rules, body posture, foot work, I can hit, I can defend I know the game and that was the big take away for me from the film. I did not have to act like a boxer, but I had to become one and that was spiritual,” she added.
The actress sustained several injures while shooting for this film.
“All my opponents were real boxers. It was difficult to teach boxing to 100 people. Only I and my coach learnt boxing. As the real boxers don’t know how to act, I did end up hurting myself. But that was ok. I got injured a lot of times, but the show goes on,” she added.
‘Mary Kom’ marks the directorial debut of Omung Kumar and Priyanka had no issues working with the first-time director for such a huge project.
“I have worked with many first-time directors like Nikhil Advani, Tarun Manshukhani and others. Some films have been successful, some not. I am a complete director’s actor. I don’t judge films on the basis of director, but on the story,” Priyanka said.
“I know Omung for so many years as a production designer. He had a beautiful vision for this film and I was convinced. The cherry on the cake was that this film was going to be made under the guidance of Sanjay Leela Bhansali. He is one of the finest filmmakers of our country we have today and I am a big fan of him. I was happy to get opportunity to work with him,” she said.