With her latest film 'Mary Kom' releasing this week, Priyanka Chopra gets candid about dealing with negativity, allegations of interference and more. Excerpts from an interview...
Looking sexy in a slinky blue dress (designed by Victoria Beckham, she tells us), Priyanka Chopra is looking perkier than her usual self. The actress in a freewheeling chat with hitlist...
Priyanka Chopra. Pic/PTI
You had said there’s a change happening in the industry in that more people are watching women-centric films...
Priyanka Chopra: Hopefully, it is happening. We, as Indians, tend to focus on what we don’t have rather than seeing the positive aspect of a situation. I am an eternal optimist. Do you accept that we live in a male-dominated world?
Priyanka: Now within those constraints, things are slowly changing in films. Ten years ago, you didn’t see girls doing anything more than dancing in songs and today, they are doing solo woman leads. But at the same time, we are doing films that are commercially successful. For example, I did Barfi!, and it was as much my film as Ranbir’s. Who could play Meenamma better than Deepika (Padukone) in Chennai Express or Katrina Kaif in Rajneeti? That didn’t happen for a long time. Now we are getting equal footage alongside the hero. Also, films like Fashion, Dirty Picture, Kahaani, Queen, and Highway had the respective actress’s solo picture on the poster, but that didn’t stop people from watching those films.
But it was just a phase in Bollywood when women were used as props; if you look at the history of cinema, actresses have done powerful roles earlier too...
Priyanka: Yes, I agree that it died for a while. After Madhuri (Dixit) and Sridevi, nothing was tailored for actresses. But now you see a whole new trend and this is because audiences are more aware now due to the internet. Now you are hired because you are damn good at what you do, and no one cares if you are a man or a woman. Today, so much noise is made when woman is wronged in the society whereas earlier everything was pushed under a rug.
Also, audiences don’t like their intelligence being taken for granted anymore. I love watching masala films, but I don’t want stupidity in the name of entertainment.
Has your definition of ambition changed too?
Priyanka: I didn’t know what it meant because I was just 17 years old, when I started out. I just wanted to be good at whatever I did and I still want the same thing. My ambition is to be the game changer. I want to leave behind a legacy... people should say that she did something ballsy and cool.
You are judged quite a lot...
Priyanka: That’s because I am opinionated and I put myself out there. Yes, a zillion people love me and that’s what’s kept me going, but it hurts when people forget that a celebrity is not a commodity. I don’t want to hurt people who talk crap about my family and me, as that is not dignified. But people can’t throw rocks at me all the time. I am asking those people to come say it to me on my face and judge me after hearing my point of view.
Has all that hate made you less vulnerable now?
Priyanka: No, I am still vulnerable. It is painful. When I am confronted with hate like this, I get very affected; I cry to my friends and family. It is very hard to keep dignity in silence.
Talking about criticism, we hear you interfered in every aspect of Mary Kom, the film...
Priyanka: One counter question. When men do it, do you guys laud them?
No, we don't.
Priyanka: When a hero does it, he is applauded but when a heroine does it, it is called interference. Why so — don’t we have brains? Yes, I am totally involved in every aspect of this film. My director hasn’t told me anything about it being interference on my part. Sanjay Leela Bhansali has given me the dignity and respect to be involved in the film, in every way possible.