She has had a successful journey of over a decade in Bollywood. Besides receiving praise in India, Priyanka Chopra has also made a mark internationally — as an actor and singer. In a candid chat, the actor — who has received rave reviews for her performance in director Zoya Akhtar’s latest release — discusses the prejudice of catfights between actresses, working with Deepika Padukone, and more.
In your latest film, you play Ranveer’s (Singh; actor) sister, after playing his lover in Gunday (2014). How difficult is it to adapt to different characters while working with the same actor?
I am an actor, and it’s my job to do different roles. If you are a good actor, it should happen easily. If I can be authentic in so many diverse characters that I’ve played in the past, I had to be completely natural while playing his sister too. Now, I will have to be convincing enough to play his wife in a mature and dramatic love story (in Bajirao Mastani).
You are working with Deepika (Padukone; actor) in Bajirao Mastani. While there have been talks about a professional rivalry between the two of you, how was the experience?
We’ve had a great time. Deepika and I have a few scenes together and a song. [On the sets], we used to sit in a corner and chit-chat, much to Sanjay sir’s (Sanjay Leela Bhansali; film-maker) disappointment (smiles). In fact, he would say, “Arey, you two are coming from the van doing thumri.” We have known each other for a long time, even before she became an actor, since we had a lot of common friends. We only have love, respect and admiration for each other.
Is it true that Aamir Khan has praised you for your latest film?
It happened at our party (hosted by Kangana Ranaut and her, after both the actors won National Awards). He met me, and said that he has loved the film. Aamir was really affectionate, and extremely generous in his praise. I was very excited when he said that.
Of late, you have worked in films that feature two heroines, and there have been stories of catfights…
I have never experienced it (catfights), and I don’t think it ever existed. This is something that I feel strongly about. Why is it that when two women do a film together, there’s talk of catfight, but when two men work together, there’s ‘bromance’. Why are we not taken seriously as professionals? I don’t know what catfight means; do we pull each other’s hair (smiles)?
You have been linked to a lot of ‘catfights’…
It’s a stereotype that I have tried to fight off immensely. I get along well with all my co-stars. And if I don’t get along with anyone — it could be a girl or a boy — I will face it. I have immense respect for talent. I will always push for talent, because I didn’t have anyone pushing me through. I have learnt a lot from my own journey to become the person I am.
But hasn’t it always existed in the industry?
What is a catfight? Such talks irritate me. Like others, we always go for work when we shoot. We don’t keep looking at each other. We just come and do our work, and we are damn good at it. We work as hard as boys, if not more, since we come early and do our make-up etc. Especially, in our generation, I don’t think (it exists). Surely, there is competition, and everyone is competitive. That should be there to set the bar higher. But you don’t try and pull someone down to go higher. I think, if anything, that era doesn’t exist.
Your part in Zoya’s film was apparently first offered to Kareena Kapoor Khan. Did you know about it?
I have done so many films that were offered to other people first, and vice versa. Whosoever’s name is in the credits, the film belongs to that actor, notwithstanding where and to whom it has gone earlier. I really believe in, ‘Daane daane pe likha hai khaane waale ka naam’ (One gets what one is destined for). A project happens when the right people come together, and it was our destiny to do the film.
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