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Priyanka Chopra: I want to highlight things that push the envelope

Priyanka Chopra on her new film Isn’t it Romantic, Hollywood vs Bollywood and being a producer.

Written by Ektaa Malik |
Updated: March 4, 2019 7:30:45 am
‘I want to highlight things that push the envelope’ Priyanka Chopra’s Isn’t It Romantic is out on Netflix.

She has had her hands full these past six months — what with a wedding in place, traipsing around the globe and giving everyone major #lifegoals. She also appears in the latest single, Sucker, of her husband’s band, Jonas Brothers, which hit the internet over the weekend. Priyanka Chopra’s latest Hollywood offering has her alongside Rebel Wilson, Liam Hemsworth and Adam DeVine. In a telephonic conversation from Mumbai, she talked about her latest film, Isn’t It Romantic, women in films and ignoring trolls.

Excerpts from an interview:

What made you say yes to Isn’t it Romantic?

This was a really funny script. I just couldn’t put it down. I am a big lover of romantic-comedies but I am also this intelligent, modern girl of today. So, as much as I know that there are cliches, I love the fact that Isn’t it Romantic ends up making fun, and taking a dig at all those stereotypes and tropes. At the same time it is a romantic-comedy, which, in my opinion, is a clever thing to do. I was in between filming season one and two of Quantico, and they were filming this exactly in that time frame. I loved the idea of Rebel (Wilson) being the producer of the project. After being a successful actor for 15-20 years, she is now producing her own leading part. I wanted to champion this for her.

You play a ‘yoga ambassador’ named Isabella in the film.

There is no such thing as a yoga ambassador, which again is a tongue-in-cheek satirical take on the whole. I am this bratty, super-rich kid, who is used to getting everything she wants. As a concept, I loved the idea that she, Isabella, is an Indian woman, and she sets the standard of beauty in the film, which is a new thing for Hollywood and American entertainment. The film is modern and progressive on so many levels. It talks about self love – which is the dominant theme and narrative in the film. It’s an important lesson not just for women, but for everyone at large.

Do you think this ‘progressive’ and ‘modernist’ take will translate back home as well? In India, we still have a Veronica-gets-Archie theme going and a majority of our heroines still conform to traditional norms of beauty.

I think every culture and each society is different. It’s unfair to make a comparison with where American movies and television are at right now, and where Indian cinema and TV are. India is progressive with the kinds of films that we are making. Look at how many female-lead films have done so well commercially on the box-office. So many female actors stand for themselves in the kinds of movies that we make in India now. I think India is already on a very progressive curve when it comes for representations for females. I think where we need to go, is having characters that are ahead of the curve, and they should become the new normal.

Now that you divide your time between the US and India, what do you miss most about Bollywood?

I want to say that I miss singing and dancing the most, but as you can see I am dancing and singing here as well. As I see it, entertainment is entertainment everywhere. The medium is the same everywhere in the world, it’s just a different system of working in place. Like how everyone is always on time in Hollywood, and I really miss being able to be late, like here. I really, really miss that.

There seem to be an interesting selection of films that have been picked up by your production house, Purple Pebble Pictures. There seems to be a thrust of regional cinema, with Firebrand and Paani (Marathi), Bhogha Khirikee (Assamese) and Pahuna (Nepali).

I am very instinctive, which is why sometimes I go right or I go wrong. I pick movies that I would like to watch. I know, that these movies will start a conversation. Ventilator (2016) did that, and even Firebrand aims for the same. I want to create those narratives, and give an opportunity to those writers directors and other talent in regional cinema, which probably doesn’t get the magnification of their ideas and what they are creating, as they don’t have someone pushing it. I want to highlight those things that push the envelope, I think not enough people do that in entertainment, which I think should change.

Your Instagram account has about 36.4 million followers, and it serves as a direct link to you and your life for your fans. But you also get trolled. Does it bother you?

I have never spoken about them — the trolls — as they are trolls. I think the media gives them way more importance. I don’t know when it happened that other people’s opinions became newsworthy. I don’t find them important.

Isn’t It Romantic is streaming on Netflix.

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