Bollywood actor Priyanka Chopra might have had a quiet 2013 — she was hardly seen in Krrish 3 and her film Zanjeer didn’t do well at the box-office — but she’s hopeful of this year. Currently, she’s busy promoting her first release of 2014 that hits theatres on Valentine’s Day. In this interview, Priyanka talks to us about being a “saleable actor”, doing all kinds of films and the importance of making money.
Priyanka Chopra gestures at a press conference as brand ambassador for home entertainment brand Digital Direct Broadcast. (AP)
You were recently called an “Arab terrorist” by some rowdy fans in the US, when your song was chosen as the theme for the NFL (National Football League). Have you often ever been subjected to such racial discrimination?
I faced all that during the NFL, yes. Well, it is an quintessentially American sport and I am a brown girl. So yes, it was hard. But I try and focus on the positive side of things now. I’ve been in the public limelight for such a long time. I have so many people who support me in and outside India. Having said that, I do think it is an extremely racist, insulting and humiliating thing to have a small myopic mind. I think people should look beyond race, creed, religion and borders.
Your first release of 2014 is coming up after a dull 2013. Are you nervous?
I don’t know if I am nervous, but I am certainly excited because this is a very good film. It’s a credible movie and, at the same time, it’s an entertainer, which is what a typical Hindi movie should be. This is what people expect in a Hindi film.
Zanjeer didn’t do well at the box office and you had a small role in Krrish 3. Your upcoming release, again, is a two-hero film. Why are you choosing these parts?
There are all kinds of films that an actor has to do and you should be able to do them. You have to do films that make money. I have to do films that my producers can make with me because I am a saleable actor. That was the honest truth of it, but I enjoy making big blockbuster movies. I think people need to be bit less judgmental… of me, at least. If you are going to be judgemental, then be so with everyone. Then, it’s fair.
How is the preparation for Mary Kom coming along?
I need to be extremely athletic for the role, so I train for two hours every day. This will intensify as the date of the shoot comes closer. Then it will become six hours of training every day. Physically, it’s a strenuous film. But I am very excited. The character I play is of a girl who says, ‘I can’t be limited. I can do so much more.’ It’s the story of every girl who wants to be an achiever. Let’s hope we can make it well.
How was it working with Arjun Kapoor and Ranveer Singh in Gunday?
Arjun and I have been friends for years and we have lots of common friends too. We used to have a group and we all used to hang out. I got to know Ranveer recently. Both of them are amazing.
Who among the two, do you see as the upcoming superstar of tomorrow?
I don’t think that’s fair to ask. One superstar doesn’t make a film industry. You always need many actors to be part of it. It’s great to see such amazing talent and I am fortunate that Adi (producer Aditya Chopra) cast me in this film with them.
Ranveer and Arjun seem to be hogging the limelight when it comes to promoting the movie. You’re rarely seen. Why is that the case?
This is Yash Raj’s strategy. We are just 14 days away from the release and the proper promotion will start now. There will be a lot that the boys will do and there will be a lot we three will do together.