Want to give Hollywood an influx of Indian talent: Priyanka Chopra
Priyanka Chopra Jonas, who has transitioned from a successful Bollywood career to make a mark in the American film and television industry over the past decade, said on Friday that she has a new dream: Flood Hollywood with Indian talent.
At the 18th Hindustan Times Leadership Summit, Chopra Jonas and her pop icon husband Nick Jonas spoke on a raft of subjects, including the importance of streaming platforms, shooting movies amid a pandemic, and their abiding love for India.
Chopra Jonas detailed her plans for her production company, Purple Pebble Pictures, which is working in both India and the United States across languages and platforms. The actor is managing a full-plate of roles, starring in movies ranging from White Tiger to The Matrix 4.
“My greatest joy with Purple Pebble is to create all-South Asian cast for movies and TV shows in Hollywood. We haven’t seen that very often,” she said. “It is really my quest to try and influx Hollywood with Indian talent as much as I can.”
In their session – the couple’s first joint interview with an Indian media outlet – the entertainment icons also stressed on the romance and magic of big-screen cinema, but insisted that streaming services were here to stay, especially because of the pandemic that has claimed 1.5 million lives worldwide.
And, Chopra Jonas announced plans for her next Hindi film, scheduled sometime next year.
To Jonas, whose production Dash and Lily is streaming on Netflix, over-the-top platforms are a great alternative experience to cinema at a time when going out isn’t always possible.
“There’s certainly room for both…when things go back to a version of normal, the experience of going to a movie theatre, having a popcorn and a drink and watching a great movie is something that is so unique and such a special thing,” he said.
“I am excited to go back to the theatre, she (Chopra Jonas) knows I am a sucker for popcorn in the theatre so I’ll be looking forward to that.”
Chopra Jonas agreed, adding that streaming services are already an essential part of the evolution of entertainment, especially because many people in India still have no access to television or fixed-line electricity and consume content on their phones, using internet data.
“It’s intelligent and smart to get ahead of it…we should be on the right side of it. I certainly am,” she added.
She argued that theatrical releases have an inherent romance and charm but it was not a mutually exclusive choice – go out when you want and stay in when you don’t want to.
“I feel that sometimes in India we think of streaming services as second best to theatre when it comes to storytelling. I disagree with that,” she said.
She also liked that platforms individually curate feeds, and praised the independence to create any kind of content while knowing that there’s going to a viewership through it, through a streaming service. “There’s a power in that.”
Jonas, who recently reprised his role as a mentor in the long-running American talent show The Voice, said it was great to get back to shooting but added that it was very different on set from the previous season a year ago.
“To be able to come back and be on set, it’s a nice thing. Everyone’s taking the necessary protocols and taking this seriously,” he said. “The fact that it can be done in a safe way…there’s an exuberance on set….it’s great to see that we are able to be back on the set.”
When asked about her future plans, Chopra Jonas spoke about the White Tiger, an upcoming movie on Netflix based on Aravind Adiga’s Booker-winning 2008 novel.
“I really want to do a Hindi film…I am hoping I will be able to do one end of the coming year. I am in conversation with a few people and we are trying to come together to make a really fun Hindi movie,” she said.
Jonas also touched on his love for India, where he got married in a fairytale wedding in 2018 – and being called “jiju” (brother-in-law) by everyone.
The couple has been back several times, including for Holi and Diwali, and Jonas shared his love for Indian food.
“And so many ladoos stuffed in your face. Jiju’s been given so many ladoos,” Chopra Jonas cut in.
But why universally “jiju”? Jonas had an explanation. “Priyanka is the sister to the country in a way and I am happy to be the sister’s husband… it’s a beautiful thing,” he said.
To this, Chopra Jonas burst into laughter and said, “I have become the sister since you married me… I wasn’t a sister before.”