Relentless, restless and still a romantic, PRIYANKA CHOPRA speaks to SHUBARNA MUKERJI SHU about all things that make her the international sensation she is!
She hasn’t allowed herself a breather after the success of DIL DHADAKNE DO. After all, her Hollywood work is all set to hit television and there is also BAJIRAO MASTANI and GANGAAJAL 2 being filmed almost simultaneously, and within a month she will be out in LA, working on the next schedule! Phew! How does she manage it all?
“Arrey babes, when such exciting, interesting things are happening I would be foolish to crave for a chutti,” she reasons, with a trace of giggle as she tries to undermine all she is doing by equating it to a craving she cannot do without. Juggling multiple careers, representing her country internationally for over a decade, making a mark for herself in India and abroad… are some of the many things she is handling at the moment. “I was just telling someone today, actors don’t have the luxury of saying that we are tired. Whatever you shoot, even if it is one shot, it is for posterity. It will stay on even after you die, till celluloid lasts woh chhap gaya hai. I sometimes feel our technicians are better off, if they are having an off day, have a headache or something they can still excuse themselves. As actors you don’t get that luxury. That is the reason why you have so few of us! For me, the only way to tide things over is to remind myself that I am in a privileged position and I shouldn’t take it for granted.”
But what about the constant, insistent pressure that only seems to be growing….
“I don’t see it as that. People always keep telling me that that so many actors go to Hollywood, but they go off the scene even before one can blink! My ambition was never to go to Hollywood. I just wanted to expand as an artist, I was very clear about this from the beginning – unless there was a part that did justice to everything my fans expected of me, I wouldn’t be doing it. For me, it doesn’t matter which language I am acting in; if you give me a Punjabi film, I will do it with as much excitement as I would do a Hollywood film or a Hindi film. For me, if you give a job, I want to be really good at it. That is why I work on my own terms. I wouldn’t want to compromise on the position people have put me in. I am and always was very happy with my lot of work in India. I love Hindi films! Music was something that I wanted to explore, and I am grateful that I got the opportunity to do it. I am so glad that everyone has now started doing it. It is great to push yourself. Thanks to my dad, mujhe toh virasat mein hi mila hai the gift of music and also perhaps the ability and thirst to push boundaries.
While it has clearly been a personal accomplishment – this rise after a fall, but falling due to your own mistakes or miscalculations hurts a lot less than when a bunch of your own colleagues are out there to pull you down. The fact is that while you are swimming against the tide, trying your best to carve your own path, there are some snickering at your best attempts….
“For sure, it is awful, it is painful and there are days when I just sit down and talk to my loved ones, asking why can’t people just let others be? I understand that, being a public figure, it is part of my job to be dinner table conversation – that is something that I have accepted when I chose to be in the limelight, call it professional hazard or whatever else you may. But what is still hard to lump is when you are being judged because you are a public person without knowing your side of it, being pulled down and denied… I, like many of my female colleagues, might act all tough, but as much as we don’t let people see it, you tend to go back home hurt. It is all about surviving for a woman, not just in this industry but in the world so it is normal to hope that someday, they will just give you a break!
“I have been in this business now, since I was a child. I have seen so many people come and go, especially actresses – actors go on working till they are 60 or 70 or even 80, but girls aren’t as fortunate. One flop and we are written off. We have to constantly prove ourselves no matter how far we have come in our careers, which is tragic. Good thing being, if you are good at your job, if you are hardworking and sincere, there is no one that can pull you down, there is no one who can stop your destiny. I know one thing for sure – I am the only one who can ruin myself!”