In a candid chat with mid-day, Priyanka Chopra reveals she is 'not that naive' any longer, but tries not to let herself become cynical and bitter
Priyanka Chopra has not forgotten to have fun in spite of her mad schedule and constant shuttling between Canada and India. Excerpts from a quick chat with PeeCee:
Q. You recently hosted a party at your Montreal home for your Quantico colleagues...
A. I can’t even begin to tell you how crazy it is. We are always running against time. We have shot 13 episodes in five months. That’s about nine days per episode. Now, episode 10 is being aired and we are shooting episode 12 — it is that close. So, yes, for the sake of a break, I got everyone on the sets to come home one night for a party. We got a DJ too.
Q. It must have been crazy playing diverse characters — Kashibai (in Bajirao Mastani) and Alex Parrish (in Quantico) — almost simultaneously.
A. It was absolute madness. I was a lost case. I felt like a schizophrenic. Thankfully, i could slip in and out because even here (Canada), the writers are amazing. And there, of course, we have Sanjay Leela Bhansali, a genius filmmaker. You know, I picked up this role because Kashibai’s character is so heartbreakingly lovely. It is nice to be part of retelling the history that people have forgotten. I am so different from what Kashibai was. So, it was kind of fun creating her… with zero make-up and light eyed lenses, because she was a Maharashtrian Brahmin and everything had to be kept natural. Sanjay sir would not even allow the use of electric curlers on my hair. It had to be curled through hand. He didn’t want to compromise on anything. We looked at old movies to get ideas. Besides, I had to wear that 11-yard saree; it was so difficult to carry it around that I begged him to make the trail smaller. And then he did make it slightly smaller. Kashibai is this naïve, child-woman character and it was nice playing her.
Q. You were also like Kashibai, a naïve, child-woman when you entered this industry.
A. (Laughs) That’s true. You had seen me then. I was really naïve for at least seven to eight years after I got in here. I am a little wiser now. I don’t change myself for the world anymore now. Even though I am not that naïve, I try and not allow myself to get cynical and bitter. That’s me.
Q. Well, looks like Kashibai is already a hit. We hear you were offered a R9-crore endorsement deal by an ethnic wear brand.
A. I won’t discuss the price point, but yes, there is a good offer. You know I have taken pride in doing such diverse roles… characters that are not the real me. I enjoy taking up characters which others might think is impossible for me to portray. I am the shyest person off screen, but when I get such roles, I change and become empowered.
Q. People have raised objections to certain ways the characters in Bajirao Mastani have been portrayed.
A. We are telling stories about human beings. And what these three human beings (Bajirao, Mastani and Kashibai) went through 500-plus years ago, no one knows. It is the director’s vision of what might have happened. It is so difficult to tell such stories. I tell Sanjay sir that by now he must be used to such objections. I truly admire him for his work; he’s one of the greatest cinematic voices that we have in the country. I have travelled the world, but everywhere I go I really feel proud to say I belong to Bollywood. I walk around with a strut like a peacock. We are the most prolific film industry and people everywhere are fascinated by Bollywood. It is time we give ourselves that credit.
Q. You mean we need to have a lot more self confidence?
A. I do. I have major self confidence because I am an actor in Bollywood first.