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Friday, Sep 20, 2019

Happy Birthday Priyanka Chopra: Excerpts from her unauthorised biography

Actor Priyanka Chopra is an international artist. On her birthday today, Jul 18, here are a few excerpts from Aseem Chhabra’s Priyanka Chopra: The Incredible Story of a Global Bollywood Star — an unauthorised biography. Including the one when she confirmed being in a relationship!

books Updated: Jul 19, 2018 11:58 IST
Aseem Chhabra
Aseem Chhabra
Hindustan Times
Actor Priyanka Chopra.
Actor Priyanka Chopra.

•In 2010, [Sabira Merchnat, grooming and etiquette trainer] Merchant was on a flight to Mumbai. Priyanka was on the same flight and she walked up to wish Merchant. ‘She came over and said, “Oh ma’am, I am so happy to see you”,’ Merchant recalls. ‘And I said, “Hi darling, everything okay?” She said, “Yes, yes, yes.” And then she asked, “Why are you sitting here (in the economy class)?” So I said, “This is a silly question to ask. Why would I be sitting here? Because my ticket says so.” ‘So Priyanka stood up in the middle of the aisle and said in Hindi, “Dekhiye sub log, yeh meri ma’am hain. Meri ma’am ne mujhe sub cheez sikhayin hai. Jaise main bolti hoon, jaise main chalti hoon, sub ma’am ne sikhaya hai. Ab ma’am yahan baithi hain aur main aage baithi hoon? Aise ho sakta hai (Everybody, this is my ma’am. My ma’am has taught me everything. The way I talk, the way I walk, ma’am has taught me everything. Now ma’am is sitting here and I am sitting in front. How is this possible)? Then she asked, “Main ma’am ko le jaa sakti hoon, mere saath? Aap sub log haan kijiye to main le jooangi captain sey pooch ke (Can I take ma’am with me? If you all say yes, then I will take her after I have asked the captain).” So, they all stood up and clapped, “Ma’am ko le jao, ma’am ko le jao (You can take ma’am with you, you can take ma’am with you).”’ The captain came and asked Merchant to be a guest of the airline. ‘And I was whisked inside the business-class section. She later said, “Ma’am I am very tired, I have been shooting for so long. Can I just rest on your shoulder?” So throughout the flight, she rested on my shoulder and slept.’

•On 30 November 2000, the Miss World contest was held at London’s Millennium Dome. When Priyanka’s chance came to answer her question, she was asked by the American television talk show host and former mayor of Cincinnati Jerry Springer to name a living person she admired the most. And her response was Mother Teresa, even though the Albanian nun had died three years earlier.

•But some prominent voices in India were not kind to Priyanka’s win, given her faux pas at the Competition. She had even said India had a population of two billion people. Noted journalist and a member of Delhi’s high society, Khushwant Singh ridiculed Priyanka Chopra, calling her a ‘bimbo’ and ‘stupid’— ‘We Indians send out some bimbo and she returns with the prize, and we act like we’ve conquered the world. This one is singularly stupid. She didn’t even know whether Mother Teresa is alive or dead.’48 An editorial in Hindustan Times also poked fun at the expense of the 18-year-old Priyanka, ‘Perhaps Ms Chopra had taken the convent school line about the Holy Ghost a little too seriously.’

Aseem Chhabra’s Priyanka Chopra: The Incredible Story of a Global Bollywood Star  is an unauthorised biography of the actor.
Aseem Chhabra’s Priyanka Chopra: The Incredible Story of a Global Bollywood Star is an unauthorised biography of the actor.

•Priyanka’s personal life has remained a subject of speculation among fans and gossip magazines. In a recent interview with Filmfare, Priyanka revealed an important aspect of her life. When asked about her relationship status, she gave a surprising answer that until last year she had been in a long-term relationship. ‘I’ve been single after a really really long time,’ she told Filmfare on 6 February 2018. ‘I was in a very committed relationship. But since almost a year, I’ve been single. I’ve met a bunch of people. I’ve gone out with people. I let someone woo me but no… My mind hasn’t exploded, not yet!’

Excerpted with permission from Rupa

First Published: Jul 18, 2018 17:03 IST