am playing a female bodyguard in Drona - Priyanka Chopra
Bollywood babe Priyanka
Chopra wants the masala, all right. But that doesnít mean that the former
Miss World isnít breaking out of the mould. The ĎLara Croft of Bollywoodí
on her first film and the thrills of action
Her first film Big Brother
released last week, long after Priyanka Chopra outgrew the jitters of her
first take. One of Bollywoodís most successful and dependable actresses
today, Priyanka isnít 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 ďserious
cinema.Ē 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 Bachchanís bodyguard.
There was a rumour that
you didnít 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 itís 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. Itís 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
Big Brotherís director Guddu
Dhanoa has said that after three years, he found you have become a Ďone-takeí
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 an intensity
to my characterisation. I take the directorís 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 havenít worked
You have been a judge at
various beauty pageants and are a former winner yourself. Do you agree
that these contests are nothing more but tickets to Bollywood?
Winning a beauty pageant
gives you access to Bollywood. But beyond that, you are still a newcomer
till you gain the audienceís acceptance and prove your worth. Itís not
a ticket to Bollywood. So, as a judge of the recent Miss India beauty pageant
I made sure that we picked the girls who had the brains and who deserved
to win. I think itís very important to have intelligence. Being an actor
today is not just about mouthing lines. It is also about image management
and tackling the media.
Your somersaults at a recent
award show had Karan Johar call you Indiaís 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 stuntperson. 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
I havenít 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.
After Salaam-e-Ishq and Big
Brother, whatís next on your platter this year?
||What matters to you more
ó 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 itís 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 donít mind playing any character, whether itís grey,
black, white, blue or pink.
Are you acting in the sequel
to Krrish beginning next year?
Thatís still under consideration,
so I canít say anything now.
I am playing a female bodyguard
in Drona. Itís an unconventional role that your average Hindi film heroine
doesnít get to do. I think women can be as good bodyguards as men though
we donít 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 Jafferyís God Tussi
Great Ho with Salman Khan and Amitji.
Is there any particular genre
you would like to do?
I havenít done a completely
romantic film yet. I would really like to do a period film as well.
You were supposed to do Meena
Kumariís role in Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam. Is it still on?
Sahib BibiÖ has run into
a roadblock on the producerís end though I am still keen on the project.
Q:Which are the Indian actresses
you consider your role models?
My all-time top three favourite
actresses are Madhuri Dixit, Sridevi and Kajol. I also admire Jaya (Bachchan)
aunty and Nargisji a lot.