Here is what our desi bride, Indias glamour and pride, is NOT planning. She wont change her name to “Priyanka Jonas” or “Priyanka Chopra Jonas” or the corniest, “Priyanka J. Chopra”.
Both the bride and the her groom are brand names. And so shall they remain. Name unaltered. However, everything else that can possibly change, will change for India’s most dynamic export since Basmati rice.
For one, Priyanka will spend even more time in the US. There is more reason for her to do so. She will, of course, keep popping in and out of Mumbai. But career-wise (and boy, is she wise about her career) there is not much for her left to do in Bollywood. She has played a gamut of roles that Bollywood has to offer. She cannot be paired with any of the A-list heroes, for a variety of reasons. Suffice it to say that she is several sizes larger in stature now than Bollywood can accommodate.
Here is where Priyanka will achieve that diasporic crossover in the truest sense. She will form a business partnership with her husband that will extend the spectrum of her creative activities and give her new avenues to explore. I suspect acting won’t be a primary concern at the moment. Music may perhaps take a more prominent position in her career than movies, as both Jonas and Chopra are into music and singing.
Just how they will explore their individual vocal space as a couple remains to be seen. From what I hear, Priyanka wants to produce a lot of global music, which need not necessarily communicate her cultural antecedents.
In an informal chat with me, Priyanka once talked about what she wanted from the West. “It needn’t be what the West wants from me. I don’t want to do what is expected in the West from Indian and Asian actors-musicians.”
Sure enough, “Quantico”, or for that matter her brief role in the Hollywood production “A Kid Like Jake”, does not put too fine a point on the colour of her skin. Nor did she have to speak brown-memsaab English in a singsong voice to earn brownie points from the West, the way Hollywood expects Indian actors to speak. (Here we will not even go into her disastrous Hollywood debut in “Baywatch” where she hammed so badly, it made us cringe.)
Priyanka has truly liberated the Indian actor from the need to be “Indian”. While Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is undoubtedly a global icon, her glamour is embedded in exoticism in the West.
Priyanka is just plain darned sexy in a very cultural-unspecific way. I think she will now tap into that “nowhere” quality in her personality to get somewhere specific in her career. It seems Nick and Priyanka are planning to set up a business empire devoted to generating and marketing entertainment software.
Rest assured, the newly-wedded Mrs Jonas won’t waste a moment of her time in looking around for opportunities. For her, they are there for asking. She will play a global part in the American entertainment industry in the way Anupam Kher never can. She needn’t play “Ms India” to pander to the Western need for Oriental obliqueness. She will ride the waves of her egalitarian cosmopolitanism without ever losing sight of her desi roots.
That American accent which comes and goes depending on whom Priyanka is talking to, is now here to stay. Go green with envy, all you Bollywood begums. Priyanka Chopra now has the Green Card and the unfettered soul to go with it. One cannot wait to see what she does with the freedom that marriage brings to her remarkable life.
Go forth, Mrs Jonas. Everyone is watching you.