I’ve never been so afraid of visiting Kolkata as I have been while shooting for Barfee,” says Priyanka Chopra,
who plays an autistic character in the movie directed by Anurag Basu and shot largely in the City Of Joy. The National Award winner admits that it’s the toughest assignment of her career so far.
“Getting into the deep dark world of my character gives me the jitters although Anurag and Ranbir have always helped me get my cues and scenes right. Sometimes, I’m just so scared to go on the sets because I turn into someone who is difficult to relate to in a normal situation. I’ve to get into the person’s psyche and act in such a way that I don’t look as if I went overboard or simply overacted.”
Without taking names, the actor, who is also going to make her singing debut with a private album next year, recalls that after agreeing to work on the project, she visited several homes in and outside Mumbai to understand autism.
“In many cases, I’ve seen that the individual possesses extremely high levels of intelligence. Like someone is excellent at solving mathematical problems without using a calculator or a paper and pen. Some are gifted with memory that’s sharper than an elephant’s. Meeting them amazed me. It made me realise that we’re way inferior, although we seem normal,” states Priyanka, who has just completed work on Agneepath with Hrithik Roshan
and will start filming Krrish 2 with him in December.
In the past, the actor has been involved with several social causes and has been the brand ambassador for international initiatives for women, children and the environment. After understanding the world of an autistic person from close quarters, does she plan to help them in some way? “Of course I do. Firstly, I’d want people to stop treating them badly. I’ve been told of cases where an autistic person has been sent to a mental hospital because people thought the person had lost his balance. How unfair is that!” says Priyanka, adding, “Whatever I do, I don’t intend to make noise about it. I haven’t thought of what I’d do, but I have to help these people get their space in society.”