Priyanka Chopra: I used to have a major soft corner for poetry | Hindustan Times
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Priyanka Chopra: I used to have a major soft corner for poetry

Actor Priyanka Chopra won’t say if she’s on board for the biopic on Sahir Ludhianvi, one of India’s most famous Urdu poets and Hindi film lyricists, but she tells us that her love for verse goes back a long way.

bollywood Updated: Jan 09, 2018 12:24 IST
Henna Rakheja
Actor Priyanka Chopra in the Hollywood film, Baywatch. It was rumoured that she’d do a biopic on the poet, Sahir Ludhianvi.
Actor Priyanka Chopra in the Hollywood film, Baywatch. It was rumoured that she’d do a biopic on the poet, Sahir Ludhianvi.(Frank Masi/ Paramount Pictures/ AP PHOTO)

Actor Priyanka Chopra is back in New York to shoot for her American TV show, Quantico. The question is: when will Priyanka be seen in her next Bollywood film, because with a full-fledged Hollywood career, the 35-year-old actor is being very picky right now. The big rumour has been that she’d collaborate with Sanjay Leela Bhansali, one of her favourite filmmakers, on a biopic of the Urdu poet and legendary film lyricist, Sahir Ludhianvi. When we ask about it, Priyanka neatly ducks the question, saying, “I haven’t decided on or finalised any film.”

Whether she does the Sahir Ludhianvi biopic or not, Priyanka has a strong connection with poetry, a fact not widely known. Her musical talent is well established; some of her singles have been chartbusters. But her penchant for poetry is a more intimate passion. “I used to have a major soft corner for poetry,” she recalls, nostalgic about life before superstardom and jet-setting. “Whether it was Urdu, French, English — I loved English literature — or Hindi [poetry]. I used to do a lot of translation. Mujhe English se Hindi mein aur Urdu se Hindi mein anuvaad karna bada achcha lagta tha (I loved translating from English to Hindi and Urdu to Hindi). You know, I used to have a file where I would keep [works of] poets from around the world, like Faiz saab (Faiz Ahmad Faiz), English poets... I used to translate them.” No time for that pleasure now.

‘Mujhe English se Hindi mein aur Urdu se Hindi mein anuvaad karna bada achcha lagta tha. You know, I used to have a file where I would keep [works of] poets from around the world... I used to translate them’ — Priyanka Chopra, actor

Given her inclination, would Priyanka like to play a strong character like Amrita Pritam, the most eminent female Punjabi poet and novelist in the 20th century? “That’s not how I finalise a film, by romanticising a character,” says Priyanka. “Jo bhi mujhe filmo ki offer aati hai (whichever film offers I get), I choose from those. Female characters are very important to me. And now being a [film] producer, I’m trying to create my own as well — whether it’s for me or for other talent. New talent is very important to me.”

With a 17-year career spanning Bollywood and Hollywood and the responsibilities of creating characters and finding talent as a producer, Priyanka now wants something truly unique for herself. “I just gave a brief to my team, saying ki bhaiya mere liye bhi to kuch dhund lo! (told my team, please find something for me, too). So, let’s see, hopefully,” says Priyanka, in her usual spirited mood, flashing a smile.

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