The global actor writes that she had decided early on in her career that though she was on the verge of becoming a public figure, a line would be drawn, that her personal life would never be for public consumption.
By Reya Mehrotra
It was a few years ago at a press conference for Filmfare that Priyanka Chopra was asked questions that would compel her to talk about one of her former co-actors with whom she was rumoured to be linked up. Witha smile she had retorted, “You want me to take names. You want controversy. I won’t let that happen. I will continue laughing as you keep asking.” Her then response reflects sharply in the narrative of her memoir Unfinished.
The global actor writes that she had decided early on in her career that though she was on the verge of becoming a public figure, a line would be drawn, that her personal life would never be for public consumption. And so, when Shobhaa De asked Chopra Jonas why she had not talked about any of her co-stars in the memoir during the ongoing Jaipur Literature Festival held online from February 19 to February 28, she said, “These 11 chapters are just some of who I am. My career has never depended on my co-stars. I don’t follow any rulebooks. My journey has been individual to my moods at that time.”
The former Miss World continues to wear the crown of confidence and doesn’t. shy away from the ‘N’ word of Bollywood or in exposing entertainment’s ugly face.“I hate entitlement. There is nothing wrong with taking care of family and friends but while doing that don’t build larger walls and shrink the tables for others.” “In fact, I am happy that the streaming platforms have been introduced and so many writers, directors, actors, shows across languages are getting a chance. It is a great time for the industry. Adarsh Gourav (who starred with her in White Tiger) is a treasure. He really walked in Balram’s shoes (the character he played) and worked at a tea stall to learn the nuances of the job. That’s what I want to champion,” she replies when De asks her about nepotism in the industry.
The recent Netflix release White Tiger was based on the 2008Man Booker Prize winner novel of the same name by Aravind Adiga. “A movie with Indian actors and based in India was trending on a global platform like Netflix. This is a huge thing. We didn’t have representation in the West but now that is changing.” Early on, she had decided to always be the “brightly coloured unicorn” that everyone thought she was because she was a misfit–an Indian in America and an America returned in India and she seemed to love the attention. But apart from the experiences in two different parts of the world that helped shape her, it was the base of her character and personality that was shaped by intelligent parenting. In fact, it was the wise decisions of her father that helped her get away safe from the dark side of glamour.
A few days ago, Priya Ramani was acquitted in the MJ Akbar defamation case, a significant victory for womankind in the post #metoo era and the timing couldn’t have been better for Chopra to talk about the industry that has long been plagued with patriarchy, favouritism and exploitation, “Iamoneof the few girls who got away unscathed.”
She says to De while discussing the sexualisation of women in Bollywood.“It was quite normalised then. Girls were moved out of movies easily. The industry was patriarchal. Now I feel girls of my generation has made a change. They are bold, almost the same age as their male co-stars as opposed to those days when a 55-year old worked with a 20-year old,” she laughs.“I am hoping the next generation doesn’t face these issues otherwise it would be a failure on our part.” And the actor concludes with her infectious laugh and a persona that represents two entirely different parts of the world and work that unifies both