At 4 a.m. in New York on Saturday, the last thing Priyanka Chopra was expecting to hear was that she had won her first National Film Award. She jumped out of bed in sheer joy when she got the news. "It feels soooooo fantastic! It's 5 in the morning in New York and my phone has been ringing non-stop since about an hour. I am so excited," Priyanka told IANS over the phone from New York, where she has been shooting for Siddharth Anand's Anjaana Anjaani.
The 27-year-old has won her first ever National Film Award for her performance in Madhur Bhandarkar's Fashion. She says she is glad that she agreed to do the film. "When Madhur approached me for this film, I was terrified about how complex the character was. But I am glad that I did it," she said.
Though Priyanka has already won several awards including a Filmfare best actress award for her portrayal of a struggling model in the film, she says the National Award is most special. "This is a National Award! I was just not expecting this and especially because there are several regional films and actors competing for it. One can't keep track of the nominations at all. But this feels just great. After having won 15 awards for Fashion so far, I feel I have come full circle with this one," she said.
Instead of celebrating her success, the actress says she was looking forward to the morning shoot scheduled for Anjaana Anjaani, in which she is featuring opposite Ranbir Kapoor. "I have a shoot tomorrow morning. So I just want to sleep right now so that I wake up fresh. I will be in a mood for celebration, but the shooting will definitely happen. It is my bread and butter - and also what will hopefully – yes hopefully, fetch me my next National award," she joked.
Priyanka, who made her Bollywood debut in 2003, says she received the most special congratulatory call from her parents. Her father Ashok Chopra had shed tears after watching Fashion in 2008 because he was touched with his daughter's performance, and he cried now again after hearing about her victory.
"My father called me up and said he is ecstatic and extremely proud of me. He had tears again. He is happy because I have achieved so much in such a short span of my career, and that makes him really proud," she added.
Priyanka, who won the Miss World title in 2000, made her Bollywood debut with The Hero: Love Story of a Spy and then featured in Andaaz, for which she even won a Filmfare best female debut award. In 2004, she delivered a critically acclaimed performance in "Aitraaz" and later did commercial films like Mujhse Shaadi Karogi, Bluffmaster, Krrish, Don - The Chase Begins Again, Salaam-E-Ishq, et al. But it was Fashion that brought her into the league of top-rated actresses in Bollywood.
She has, since then, given commercial hits like Dostana and Kaminey and also featured in films like What's Your Rashee, and more recently in Pyaar Impossible, which didn't fare too well at the box office. She is hoping to strike gold again with Anjaana Anjaani and Vishal Bharadwaj's Seven Husbands.