Few Moments... with Priyanka Chopra
babe Priyanka Chopra wants the masala, all right. But that doesn’t mean that the former Miss World isn’t breaking out of the mould. The ‘Lara Croft of Bollywood’ on her first film and the thrills of action. Her first film ‘Big Brother’ released sometime back, long after Priyanka Chopra outgrew the jitters of her first take. One of Bollywood’s most successful and dependable actresses today, Priyanka isn’t apologetic about the film that critics have ripped apart. Nor does she have any hang-ups about admitting that she would rather consolidate her status as a commercial actress than dabble in “serious cinema.” In a tete-a-tete she talks about the experience of re-doing ‘Big Brother’, her reputation as an actress who does her own stunts and her forthcoming projects, including the one where she plays Abhishek Bachchan’s bodyguard.
Excerpts from an Interview:
There was a rumour that you didn’t want to be associated with Big Brother after the release.
Big Brother was the film for which I gave the first shot of my career, so it’s a special film. I still remember that shot. I was 18 then and terribly nervous. I cried because I was afraid I might not have done it well. But we re-shot almost the entire movie over the last six months before its release last week. And now, even that scene has been re-done.
How was it reinterpreting the same character after a gap of three years?
I understood my character a lot better when we re-shot the film. It’s a very real character, unlike many of my other roles. This is a girl from a simple middle-class family, grounded, but strong, and one who tries to hold on to her family through tough situations.
Big Brother’s director Guddu Dhanoa has said that after three years, he found you have become a ‘one-take’ actress. Do you take that as a compliment? Or would you rather be a perfectionist, who insists on multiple takes?
I was doing the film a second time. I knew the story and character well and so I could bring intensity to my characterisation. I take the director’s observation as a compliment because you cannot be a one-take actor if you are not a perfectionist.
How was it working with Sunny Deol? Is there any actor you would want to be paired with?
Working with Sunny Deol brought back special memories, as he was my first co-star in The Hero. But two actors I would like to work with are Saif Ali Khan and Aamir Khan. They are the only two current actors with whom I haven’t worked yet.
Your somersaults at a recent award show had Karan Johar call you India’s Lara Croft. Is it a conscious decision to do your own stunts?
I am very fond of adventure sports, which encourages you to push yourself to the extreme. I do my own stunts because as an actor I think I am better able to understand my character than a stunt person. I do my stunts as far as permissible. For instance, for my character in Drona, I had to learn a Sikh martial art called gatka, which needs precision skills. It involves a lot of complex movements using the kirpan. As part of my training programme, I had to fight an entire group of people using a sword.
Having proved yourself at the box-office, are you planning to venture into serious cinema like your other contemporaries?
I haven’t yet reached the point when I can go the serious cinema way. Though I have finally have had box-office successes, I still have to do a lot to consolidate my position as a commercial actor.
What matters to you more — the banner or the script?
The banner definitely comes before the script. If you have a good script but not the resources to make it, then it’s a waste. A big banner has the potential to market and pull a film through, which is very essential today. And a great banner has to have great scripts to keep its reputation intact.
Does Aitbaar remain a one-off experiment as of now?
I am yet to come across a script with negative shades that are as engaging as Aitbaar. Once that happens, I really don’t mind playing any character, whether it’s grey, black, white, blue or pink.
Are you acting in the sequel to Krrish beginning next year?
That’s still under consideration, so I can’t say anything now.
After Salaam-e-Ishq and Big Brother, what’s next on your platter this year?
I am playing a female bodyguard in Drona. It’s an unconventional role that your average Hindi film heroine doesn’t get to do. I think women can be as good bodyguards as men though we don’t have many role models. I am also doing Love Story 2050, a sci-fi film set in the Mumbai and New York of 2050 and Rumi Jaffery’s God Tussi Great Ho with Salman Khan and Amitji.
Is there any particular genre you would like to do?
I haven’t done a completely romantic film yet. I would really like to do a period film as well.
You were supposed to do Meena Kumari’s role in Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam. Is it still on?
Sahib Bibi… has run into a roadblock on the producer’s end though I am still keen on the project.