Updated: December 25, 2015 8:45:36 pm
Which actress wouldn’t want to be in the shoes of Priyanka Chopra today? From India to USA, Priyanka has been spreading her effervescent charm whereever she sets foot. Post Quantico, her fame has catapulted to an altogether new level. On the flip side, Priyanka Chopra has been literally living out of a suitcase. We caught up with this versatile actress when she made a whirlwind stopover in Mumbai recently to promote Bajirao Mastani. Excerpts from the conversation.
Ques: Can we call you an international star today?
Priyanka: Yes you can. I have become one. But I will always be an Indian actor first and then an international one.
Ques: How do you manage shuttling between countries at a rapid pace?
Priyanka: If you are aiming for global domination then you will have to pay the price. You can’t say you want this and that and then sit and complain. It was my choice to do all the things that I am doing today. So, you have to be responsible about it.
Ques: Isn’t it taking a toll on you?
Priyanka: It surely is taking a toll on me. But I am proud of all the work that I have done be it Quantico, Bajirao Mastani or Gangajal. Physically I am tired. I live on coffee. But if I don’t do it now when will I do it? My mother tells me that you have to work really hard when you are young because later on you will get enough time to sleep.
Ques: But do you get time to enjoy all the money that you are making right now?
Priyanka: (Raises her eyebrows) Please, where do we girls make money? Please go and ask this question to the boys. We don’t make money.
Ques: Priyanka Chopra doesn’t make much money…
Priyanka: (Cuts in) I didn’t mean that. I do make money. And I work very hard to earn this money. I don’t sleep at night, I work 16 hours a day. I don’t have weekends, I don’t have Diwali, I don’t have New Years and I don’t have birthdays. But I get compensated for the work I do and I don’t think there is anything wrong with a woman or a professional for that matter being compensated for the work that they do. But if you ask in comparison, please go and ask the boys all over the world what they earn.
Ques: Talking about Bajirao Mastani, why did you agree to play Kashibai?
Priyanka: I blindly did what Sanjay (Leela Bhansali) asked me to do. Infact, I did this film for Sanjay. You may want to ask Bajirao is Ranveer and Mastani is Deepika so why did I do this film? I did it because Sanjay Leela Bhansali was making this movie. I was the first person to be cast for this film. While we were shooting in Manali, Sanjay sir came and discussed a lot about the film and he was very clear on me doing this film. As an actor, if I do a film, I will do it with all my heart. Kashibai’s character is one full of heartbreak. I have played tough characters earlier too like Mary Kom, Gangajal and Quantico. After long, I got a chance at playing a really feminine character whose life is not in her own hands. She loved Bajirao and her love was snatched away from her. Her pride was snatched away. And this is a story that occurred in the 17th century. I found it challenging to play a character based on a person about whom history has not much to say and whose story is not much discussed. People debate and discuss love stories. But what about Kashibai whose love was snatched away for no fault of hers. So I liked that aspect in this story. I depended on Sanjay Sir and have played his vision out and I am proud that this is a different film. I am a big fan of Sanjay Leela Bhansali.
Ques: In real life, will you fight for your love?
Priyanka: I will always fight for my love. Woh pyaar hi kya jiske liye ladai na ki. It will be boring.
Ques: Like Kashibai, will you ever accept another woman?
Priyanka: I will never accept any other woman. See situations and circumstances then existed which made all three of them helpless. No one was wrong. You don’t think and fall in love. It just happens. So, whether there is someone or not, you have to fight for your own right and your own love provided love exists. However if someone doesn’t love you then there is no point in forcing that person to reciprocate. That is wrong in a relationship. Kashibai was very dignified in that sense. She was like if you love someone else, please go.
Ques: The Peshwa descendants have registered a strong protest against certain aspects of the film. What do you have you say?
Priyanka: The film is based on the book called Rau. So you will have to ask either the author of the book or Sanjay this question. Infact, they (descendants) had visited the sets and had no problems then. I don’t know what happened suddenly.
Ques: Deepika Padukone recently mentioned that you were her first industry friend. How did you both meet?
Priyanka: We had common friends. We used to meet at parties and we became really friendly. Then she did Om Shanti Om. But I knew her even before she started doing films. We used to go out for movies and dinner.
Ques: Is it possible to have true friends in this industry?
Priyanka: My career has never depended on anyone. I have always competed with myself. See my films. I have never said that I want do better films than some other actor. I have always said that I want to better my own performances. So I have set my own standards for me to beat. That is why I can be friends with most of my colleagues I work with. If my career had been going bad, I might have felt insecure and competitive. I really feel talent cannot be stopped and you don’t have to attend parties or network to find work. When you do your work honestly, camera captures it well for everyone to see. I have done the same in my career.
Ques: Do you have a good agent now in Hollywood?
Priyanka: I had an agent in Hollywood for the last five years but I always wanted to work on my own terms and that is why I did Quantico. In the Indian film industry, I am a big star where my face comes on film posters. So, why should I go and do something small in the Wes? I have created my own identity after working very hard from the age of 18. I was never desperate to prove any point, and that is why I chose Quantico because this was something that I was doing on my own terms. Even if films come to me, it will have to be something that is on my terms which I feel I would want to be a part of.
Ques: Sitting far across in USA, what went through your mind when you saw the Khans being bashed for expressing their opinions in a democratic country?
Priyanka: It is not just about that. I feel everyone has an opinion on everything today. And we are supposed to be in one of the greatest democracies in the world. And don’t quote me that I am saying this in reference to one incident. There have been many incidents that have happened in the last few years not just right now where people have been bashed for giving their opinion. Have you seen the Parliament? Everybody has an opinion. So all I am saying is we are in a democracy guys. Let’s just chill! Wait a second and think about our forefathers who fought for the freedom of speech and freedom of thought and the freedom of being able to call Indians. What are we doing with ourselves?
Ques: PVR will be distributing Dilwale. Do you think that will affect the screen numbers of Bajirao Mastani?
Priyanka: I have no idea. I am zero in matters of production.
Ques: But you have been in the industry for a decade now. Surely you should know something about numbers?
Priyanka: See if two films come together, numbers are going to be divided. And it is unfortunate because both are wonderful films and numbers will be affected. But I don’t think the audience will be divided. And people will watch both the films if they have to. And people know the kind of films they want to watch. But yes, the numbers are going to be affected for both films. Jo ho sakte tha woh nahi hua.
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