Interview with Priyanka Chopra

Priyanka Chopra turned Miss India at the age of 17 and Miss World at the age of 18. Always reluctant towards acting, she was never keen on films as her career. Nevertheless she did a crash course in acting for 15 days and learnt kathak for one and a half years. Today, it’s been a little over three years when her first Hindi film The Hero released and now she already has 22 films to her credit. Her career graph just seems to be going skywards and with films Don and Salaam E Ishq in the pipeline; life just seems to be getting better for her. ‘s Rohini Bhandari caught up with her on the sets of her forthcoming film Aap Ki Khatir and spoke to her about her journey so far and her forthcoming films.

From The Hero to Krrish, how has your journey been?
The journey has been rather interesting. When I sit and watch my old films now, I can see the difference in my face, clothes, talking style and acting. Change has been a constant part of my career. I learn so much everyday. The day I look at my film and say to myself ‘Wah Priyanka you have done a good job!’, I’ll retire that day.

Tell me something about your forthcoming film Aap Ki Khatir
It’s a romantic comedy about relationships. The film is based in London, so we shot there for almost 30 days. As the title suggest the film is about sacrifices and everyone makes sacrifices for each other in the film. Dharmesh generally makes very intense films and comparatively this is a very light hearted film. So I’m sure this must have been something new for him also. Today we are shooting the last song of the film which is Amisha’s wedding reception.

What is your character in the film?
I play this scatter brain who has a lot of quirks in her and pretends to be really strong in front of the whole world. I am in love with Dino in the film and he has broken up with me. So to make him jealous I ask Akshaye to pretend to be my boyfriend at Amisha’s wedding. Amisha is my sister in the film.

So do you eventually fall in love with Akshaye Khanna in the film?
Well. The story of the film is about that. So I can’t tell you that now. You’ll have to see the film for that.

How was your experience working with Akshaye for the first time?
(Laughs) He is a very scary and unpredictable guy. He is very moody and our shooting schedules used to depend a lot on him and his mood, but touch wood he has been good so far. But one of the most superb actors we have. I got along well with him.

After Aap Ki Khatir, Don is due for release in Diwali. Did you pay special attention to Zeenat Aman’s charcter to shoot for the remake?
Zeenatji was so good in the old Don. Even if I try to be like her, I know I will not be able to do it. If I do anything like her in this film, I will always fall short. So I made sure that I try not being like her at all. So I have presented my character in a very different way in the film. Aki Narula has done my styling and I look relatively different in the film.

Did you have to undergo any special training for Don?
Yes, I play a martial arts fighter in the film, so for almost 45 -50 days I had to train myself under a shaolin teacher called Kanishk. Thankfully it was in Mumbai only.

How was your experience working with Shah Rukh Khan in the film?
He is an actor who I have always been in awe of and I still am even after knowing him so much.His film DDLJ has been my favourite film from childhood till now. I had done my first TV ad with him and now I have done a film and a world tour with him. After knowing him the way I do, I still like him because of the fact that he takes so much interest in his work and I think every actor really need to do that.

What happened to London Dreams?
I was approached for the film but I don’t know what happened after that. They were talking to my secretary.

When will you start shooting for Love Story 2050?
I will start shooting for it in September. Half of the film is based in Mumbai in 2050. The film is creatively very stimulating and I am very excited about it. Just imagine playing a character in 2050…wow!

So how is Mumbai going to be in 2050?
Some basic things like Chor Bazar, rickshaws are going to go from Mumbai. So we have maintained the basic essence of our city. We will also be using a lot of special effects in the film. It is something that has never been done before in our films, not even in Krrish.

Have you hiked your rates after the success of Krrish?
I can’t say I haven’t. It’s not just happened after the success of Krrish. Everybody starts charging more as they become a little senior. I have also increased my rates but not insanely. I have never done my films for money. I believe that if I do a film I really believe in and if the film does well, and I get the success I want, then it is because of that, that I get to do my ads and shows and that’s where I make money.

Do you take interest in the business of your films?
Of course I do. I follow it up quite a bit. Even though I am still learning about territories, distributors and exhibitors, I do keep a track but still trying to get a hang of it.

You are a good singer. Will you ever sing for a film?
I am fond of singing. A lot of people have approached me to sing in my films, but I have still not done it. I have grown up with music in my house and I am scared that if I don’t sing well, it will get very stressful. But someday I think I would want to release my private album.

Did the health minister approach you to not endorse cola brands?
No I haven’t been approached.

If you are, will you stop endorsing them?
No. My house has grown on Pepsi and Coca Cola and we are all still normal. I think…almost normal. (Laughs)

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Rohini Bhandari

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