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Actress Priyanka Chopra says huge stereotypes still exist in the west about the Indian film industry and it will take more actors from India in mainstream parts to gradually break such long-held notions. “There are huge stereotypes about India, about Hindi films. There is a lot more awareness now that Hindi movies are such a big industry but the stereotypes still exist,” Priyanka told PTI in an interview.
The Quantico star says people expect Indian actors to not know English, even not know acting and just expect them to get up and dance.”Those are stereotypes you have to fight all the time and I guess it will only come with educating people and having them see Indian actors in mainstream parts, (to make them aware) that we can do this. There is no putting us in a box. But it is going to be a struggle. There is so few of us.”
Priyanka says seeing her in the TV series Quantico prompted people to then watch her Hindi films. “I think they get an understanding that Hindi films are not just about breaking into random song and dance,” she says. Priyanka, who plays villain Victoria Leeds in Baywatch,which releases in India this Friday, says diversity in global entertainment is the need of the hour, not just in roles and but also actors.
“I believe that in the business where there is demand, there will always be supply. Even audiences and people who watch and consume entertainment need to be open to seeing all kinds of people in iconic parts and not just a certain kind of actors or people who look a certain way,” she says. Priyanka says she would love to see a woman play James Bond or see an Indian actor in a superhero movie without the tag of being an Indian and just being an actor. That is when it will become mainstream. And not just (from India) but Indian actors from around the world should be a part of global entertainment because that is what the world looks like. “We are one-fifth of the world’s population, there should be more representation.”
On whether a Bond movie could be next on her anvil, she says, “You never know. I am in conversation for a couple of films here and a couple in India. I don’t know if it will be a villain or not but I always look for doing variety in the parts that I choose and I hope that is what I can do.” Priyanka, who has had a packed schedule with Baywatch promotions, is headed to Berlin and London for the film’s premiere. She says she is excited about the release of Baywatch in India in Hindi and English.
“I am very excited about it, people have been a fan of the TV show. I am very excited that we have very few cuts, people will get to enjoy the movie,” she says. On her experience from her Hollywood debut, Priyanka says while Baywatch is her first American film, it is also her 51st movie. “For me, it is my next film. That’s the way I see it. I am an artist and I will go wherever my work takes me. Wherever in the world you go, you just have to know your job and deliver. As long as you can do that, that is a great thing.”
From a globe-trotting actor to UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Priyanka juggles several roles in real life and she says she is grateful for the opportunities. “It takes a different kind of discipline. I am handling two careers in two continents, you have to give up a lot, give up your sleep, give up having a routine or normalcy. It is a choice you make, there is no free lunch in the world. “I want to achieve the things I have set myself to and you have to give up (things) along the way. I am always tired and jet-lagged but I love my job and I am grateful for it,” she says.