Priyanka Chopra talks about her latest release, The Sky Is Pink, marriage and dabbling between acting and producing projects.
What made you take up The Sky is Pink in which you play a mother who loses her daughter?
I had finished working on the third season of Quantico. Playing Alex Parrish had become easy. I was looking for something to challenge me. After I finished reading the script, I sat quietly for about an hour. I thought about life, loss, and laughter. I was moved by it and that’s what you want.
Did you have to take time out for preparation?
I did a lot of prep before the filming, including meeting the woman on whose life the story is based. I am not a mother. I can claim to empathise but not understand what it feels like to lose a child. So I depended a lot on Shonali Bose (the director), who has also lost a child.
Was co-producing this movie a spontaneous decision?
I wanted my company, Purple Pebble Pictures, to stand on its own feet without me. That’s why I had not acted in the movies that I have produced, till date. When this came along, I called up Sid (Siddharth Roy Kapoor) and Ronnie (Screwvala) and asked if I could co-produce with them. I wanted to put my might behind this movie and give it the support it deserves. This is a story I’m proud of.
You dabble in many things apart from being an actor and producer. How do you manage to multi-task?
It’s not easy. It takes a toll on me — not sleeping enough, travelling all the time and not having much personal time. But then, if you want the sky, you have to find a way to reach it.
Do you find time for yourself after marriage?
Both Nick (Jonas) and I are extremely busy this year. When we got married last year, we knew that this year is going to be crazy for both of us. When you find a partner who is supportive of your individual dream, then you will have the ability to fly as high as you want.
Both Nick and I are supportive of each other’s aspirations and ambitions. We have a rule. We try to meet each other every two weeks, it’s now extended to three weeks because of me. We keep each other informed about our days and Facetime every day.
How different are the experiences of working in the US and India?
The language of filmmaking is the same, be it the director pushing you to do the best work or the producer wanting it to be done on time. However, culturally they are very different. Since I lived in the US as a teenager, I understand the country.
Tell us about your next project, the Netflix adaptation of Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger.
We just did our table read. We will start filming it in Delhi in October-end. I’m a big admirer of director Ramin Bahrani, an Iranian-American filmmaker who has made amazing movies such as Fahrenheit 451 (2018). The White Tiger is one of my favourite books. I was very moved by it when I first read it. The character of Pinky will be interesting to play. Raj (Rajkummar Rao) is an actor I really admire and haven’t worked with. That would be fun. I am also the executive producer on The White Tiger.
Also read | The Sky Is Pink movie review
Was turning a producer a natural progression for you?
I wanted to have a long-term plan. Being a female actor, you don’t know how long your career will be. It’s true. Also, I reached a point in my career where I had the ability to support movies beyond just being an actor.
Farhan Akhtar has been your director, producer and co-actor. How was it to act with him in The Sky is Pink?
I felt very proud when in 2005 he approached me to act in Don. I was only two movies old then and he was a big name after Dil Chahta Hai. I have always admired his creativity. Now, it is a full circle when I can produce a movie he is acting in and he says that he is proud of me.
Shonali was one of several women filmmakers showcased at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Are things changing?
TIFF has made a commitment to show a 50:50 ratio of women to men filmmakers. Such a step is commendable. I want to see a time when we stop saying ‘women filmmakers’ and instead call them ‘filmmakers’.