Priyanka Chopra is happy with all the critical praise coming her way for her performance as MC Mary Kom in the boxer’s biopic but the actress says it is “disheartening” that people from Manipur cannot see the movie. Kom too had expressed her sadness over her hometown missing its date with the big screen version of her life-story.
Hindi films are banned in Manipur since September, 2000, by separatist militant group Revolutionary Peoples Front which claims that Bollywood goes against Manipuri values. “I feel very sad about it. Mary herself spoke to the government officials but nothing could be done. These decisions are made by people bigger than us. I’m disheartened that the people there cannot watch my film. This has been happening for the past 10 years,” Priyanka told PTI in an interview.
Priyanka, 32, however, hopes that the film, which released last week, will help bridge the gap between North East and the rest of India as it talks about a daughter from their soil. “People there are not happy with the way they are treated elsewhere. I hope this film sheds light on that and we can help in any manner.”
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The actress, who left no-stone-unturned to promote the biopic, is happy that her hard work has paid off with the film’s opening weekend collection standing at Rs 30 crore but says celebrations are still away.
“We are not celebrating the success yet. It’s just an opening weekend collection. We feel that the film should do the same business in the coming days as well and then we will have a grand celebration. It’s an incredible opening for a female-centric film after a long time,” Priyanka said.
“I have been told that ‘Mary Kom’ has broken all the existing records of a female-centric film. I feel female-driven stories will break the gender bias in the industry eventually. Such films will give due credit to the actresses in the male-dominated world,” she added.
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The former Miss World says the feisty portrayal of the five-time World Amateur Boxing champion in the Omung Kumar-directed film is the mirror image of today’s society. “There have been many atrocities committed against woman in the society but we are no more sitting back at home. We rather have put our heads up and are facing the situations. The film mirrored such changes in the society,” she said.
The ‘Barfi!’ star admits that she was nervous initially to take up the project as the fate of female-centric films at the box-office is not very bright in India. But when Mary chose Priyanka for the film, she could not say no to her. “I never anticipated that the film will be appreciated so much. It was a huge responsibility as I had to do complete justice to the youth icon image of Mary and also make the film appealing to the viewers,” Priyanka added.
Produced by Viacom 18 Motion Pictures and Sanjay Leela Bhansali, ‘Mary Kom’ has been applauded for Priyanka’s performance. But it was panned for plugging some brands in the story. “These brands act as a major source to help us make the film in a bigger way. It was a small-budget film. Had it been a boy movie it could have been easier to get such a huge release but for a female-centric film it was necessary to do the brand promotions. People don’t think twice before coming to a conclusion,” Priyanka said.