Joined: 04 July 2011
But Priyanka Chopra, the forthright star who has her priorities clear as the day, put me at ease. The star has a lot on her plate: a successful acting career in Bollywood, a budding music career in Hollywood and now an exciting deal with ABC television studio! How does the wonder woman manage it all? Read on to find out...
Have you been watching a lot of ABC shows?
I've always watched ABC shows it's just coincidental that I get signed by ABC but I have been a huge Grey's Anatomy, Castle fan, I love Scandal and Revenge, now I'm watching How to Get away with a Murder which I love, Modern Family I love. All the best shows are ABC, can't help it!
Its a pretty big deal, an agent coming all the way to sign you...
That happened to me with my music also, now with ABC as well. I feel pretty special. You know the heads of the companies fly down to Bombay and all to sign me, quite fancy (laughs)! Well, on a serious note I think as an opportunity its very flattering and creatively exciting. Just as an actor to be able to be signed and then watch someone develop something for me personally, sit there with the most incredible writers, directors and producers of global television today and ideate; its really cool! If I like something, I'll end up doing a show, if I don't like it I don't do it, so it's pretty sweet!
Do you have a favourite women-centric show?
Women-centric? I hate this term women-centric'. A show is a show. I named the shows that I really like, it just so happens that they are all ABC! But I also like True Detective, I watch a lot more TV than I watch movies. Confession: I feel films are like a big commitment! 1 and a half hour!
So are certain America TV shows...
45 minutes na, khatam ho jata hai, then you can stop.
Are you at liberty to talk about what sort of show you'd be doing?
I have no idea. The plan is to go there, sit with people and ideate.
But the show will be centred on you...
It will be centred on me or if I don't like anything or it is not like mind-blowing then maybe being a part of an already existing show. But we don't know yet.
So what kind of a show would you like to star in?
I don't want to do a reality show, I want to do fiction. I don't want to do a stereotype of what an Indian girl should be.
But you might not be playing an Indian at all, right?
No, I said I want to play an ethnically ambiguous part. You know how Indians are cast in every American show, and you have to talk in a strange accent, and have the craziness; I don't want to do that stereotype! Look at young India today, you can talk to us about anything that's happening in the world. We literally have more entrepreneurs in Mumbai than an entire country combined. We have education, talent, potential and we are 1/5 of the world's population! Why the hell are we still a stereotype in the global pop culture? My plan and that's what I told ABC , "Don't develop a show where an Indian girl is struggling in New York, living with her Indian family and how difficult it is'... I DON'T want to do that!" My nationality could be Indian in the show I could be a police cop who has paratha and achaar for breakfast instead of hot dogs but I want the character that I play to be around the fact that I am a character and not that fact that I am an Indian. I am tired of seeing those stereotypes for Indian people on American TV.
You will be spending a lot of time in LA for the show, how do you planning on taking care of work commitments back home?
Like I did with my music. When I was doing my music I spent a lot of time back and forth, I spent almost 5-6 months shuttling to LA and back. I will do the same thing now. But now I will be doing my music and ABC...
When is your next album coming out?
I haven't gone back to LA for about 8 months. Because of Dil Dhadakne Do, I had this 4 month long schedule, then Bajirao started and then Mary Kom released. So I didn't get around to going back but I am going back in January for ABC. I am going to go back into the studio and let's see what happens. I don't have a concrete plan yet but I am going to start working on it now. I had to take a little break, it is hard to handle two careers in two continents! (laughs)
Three careers, with you turning into a producer with Madamji!
Women are the only species in the world who can do multiple things at the same time and not screw them up. Try asking a boy to do three things!
Now that is a good stereotype!
It is not a stereotype; that is the tragedy! People don't like accepting that. A woman can take care of the house, take care of a baby, have a job, go shopping, write a paper, she can do a hundred things at the same time. Guys can't even talk about two topics at the same time. So, this should become a stereotype! We are not given the credit that we are due!
You are working for Bajirao Mastani as well, you are playing Ranveer's wife in it. Then you are playing his sister in Dil Dhadakne Do. Does it feel weird?
I am an actor, I can do anything. That's the beauty of being an actor. I played his girlfriend, I'll play his wife, I'll play his sister...
I don't know it was really funny actually Ranveer and I were laughing about it. But I think as an actor I push myself a lot and the more challenging or uncomfortable a situation is, I get pulled towards that a lot more. Its really exciting to be seen by both of my amazing directors, Zoya Akhtar and Sanjay sir as these completely different people is really cool!
Do you think women in Bollywood don't get enough credit when due?Women are underpaid everywhere. Even in Hollywood, compared to the men, women are underpaid. Very few women are such who get paid as much. I think we live in a male-dominated world. If you are vying for the same position, women just get paid less. See, we come from a country where for centuries as soon as a girl is born she is devalued. We've been taught that, your "vansh" is not going to go ahead if you don't have a boy, you are not going to attain heaven unless a boy sets fire to your pyre, you are taught that "ladki paraya dhan hai", a boy's education is more important that a girl's... It's going to take time to change. Look at this year for instance, from the film industry, it's a year for the ladies! If you count male performances you'll get like 2-3. But female performances; there's Alia, Tabu, Rani, Kangana, Mary Kom... women who have led the brigade and feel powerful enough to pull off solo films. It's a huge change. When I did Fashion, back then, everybody laughed at me and told me "female films don't do well" and "who's going to watch"... it did well! I did Saat Khoon Maaf, I've done so many female-led movies but it was always a solitary battle, and then Vidya came, she started doing it. Now, girls are taking these chances, its amazing to see that. There is a change: there are men who are talking about defending women AND there are also men who deflect from the issue and say, "achha ladki ne choti skirt pehni hai isliye uska rape hua hai". You live in a country where it'll take time, it's murky, it's dirty, it's easier to deflect than to defend the women, so it'll take time. Remuneration is just a reflection of that. When a boy does a film, it hits the 100-crore mark in a weekend; our films struggle to reach 100 crores! With actresses it is always a struggling battle, I don't just want to be a shadow, to the boy. Since the start of my career, I have felt so. Yes, I could do a film with a big star where I have a part which is same. But I don't want to just be inconsequential where I am interchangeable with anybody else. Though I do that too, it is a necessary evil and I enjoy it I don't condemn it at all but there are a lot of factors that contribute to it. Slowly, with girls doing solo films and relevant parts, the future generation of actresses will have it easy and I hope I can contribute to that.
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