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Priyanka Chopra loves being a workaholic
Mumbai, Jan. 9  Popular Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra says work is her life and she would never complain about working too much, a newspaper reported on Tuesday. ``I hate taking even a day off from my work,'' she said. ``Out of the day's 24 hours I don't mind working for 15,'' the beauty queen-turned-actress told the Times of India newspaper.  Chopra said if she was not filming, she could be found reading scripts or selecting outfits for her next movie. 
She played the female lead in India's first superhero film ``Krrish'' and had an action-packed role in ``Don'' - both movies were hits last year. 
Chopra also said she enjoyed the fame that was part of the package of being a movie star, although she guards details about her private life. 
``To me loss of privacy is a small price to pay for fame and adulation,'' she said. ``But I do know where to draw the line. I would never let people know who I am seeing or where I eat or sleep.''
Priyanka Chopra says she needs more box office hits 
Mumbai, Nov. 29 (AP): Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra says she is focussed on building on a recent string of blockbuster successes. 
A former Miss World, Chopra played the female lead in this year's hits ``Krrish'' and ``Don.'' She says she still has a lot to prove after three years in the movie industry. 
It was a continuous exercise to convince filmmakers ``that putting money on me would mean returns,'' she said in an interview published in the December issue of Cine Blitz movie magazine. ``I have to master the art of delivering what's expected of me. What's expected of me is professionalism,'' she said. ``What's expected of me is good box office results.'' Chopra says instinct has always guided her and if a movie fails, she has no regrets. 
``If my gut feeling says I should do a particular film, I do it,'' she said. ``If something doesn't go well, it doesn't.'' 
Priyanka Chopra
IFFI: Priyanka sizzles in Goa 
Rajeev Masand.27.Nov.2006.
Goa: The 37th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) kicked off amid sun and sand of Goa where Bollywood stars started pouring in right from early morning. CNN-IBN Entertainment Editor Rajeev Masand caught up with Priyanka Chopra who will be performing at the festival's opening ceremony on Thursday.
Rajeev Masand: Welcome to Goa, how are you feeling today?
Priyanka Chopra: I'm feeling good. It's a little early in the morning but its all good. 
Rajeev Masand: Are you going to perform on Thursday night?
Priyanka Chopra: Yes, I am. I have rehearsed a lot for the show and after the tiring schedule I hope it turns out fine.
Rajeev Masand: Are you likely to catch any movies on Friday?
Priyanka Chopra: I would have loved to catch a movie or two at the film festival but I have to go back for shooting on Friday morning. I have to run back as soon as I can.
I love Goa but I'm too tired and because of the tight schedule I won't be able to stay back for long. It's going to be an in and out trip. 
Rajeev Masand: Are you a movie buff? 
Priyanka Chopra: Yes, I am a movie buff and I love watching films but it’s sad I won’t be able to catch any films at the festival.
Rajeev Masand: Are you going to be here next time to watch the festival?
Priyanka Chopra: I think so, I really plan to do so.
October 17, 2006
Priyanka Chopra didn't make a very convincing skydiver in the blockbuster Krrish because her gait and movements didn't match those of an athlete. However, in Don, after having received martial arts training for her role, her control over her body is evident even in her dance sequences. 

In the original Don, Zeenat Amaan as Roma was shown executing fight sequences that could only have been executed by a trained fighter. However, she wasn't cast as a fighter and frankly did not appear fit enough to skip a rope for any length of time. In the remake, to lend greater credibility to the fight sequences, Roma is cast as a trained martial arts expert. Hence the training, that Priyanka had to undergo. 

The new Don’s Roma is not just ready to fight for him, she is trained to do so! 

Priyanka is not particularly perturbed by the fact that her performance as Roma in the Don remake, to be released this Friday, will be measured against that of Zeenat in the original. She feels the two films, while based on the same story line, are substantially different, "There will be comparisons, of course. When we started off with the film we were very prepared for the fact that there will be comparisons. However, our Don, as much as it is a remake of the original Don, is very different." 

Speaking with Star News recently Priyanka said that she does not believe her performance will get lost in the Don centric focus of the film and the presence of three other female stars. 

As far as the Don centric focus goes, Priyanka says, "I am sure Zeenat Aman had no such apprehension and neither do I. I am very proud that I am part of Don. I have never taken on a role based on the screen time that it will give me, or the number of scenes in which I will appear. I like doing films which people want to see." 

Similarly she is unfazed by the presence of Kareena Kapoor and Isha Koppikar in the film because she says, "We play very different characters." 

She doesn't think she had to compete against them because she say, "When you work in a film together you work as a team." 

Similarly she exuded confidence when probed on her thoughts about Don being released on the same day as another big ticket film Jaaneman. In fact, she gave the same tiresome, and somewhat stupid, answer that other Don and Jaaneman stars have been mouthing the whole of last week, "The two films belong to different genre". 

As if film goers confine themselves to genre! Why can't they just say that the festival weekend is a long one and we think movie buffs will want to see two good films over the two holidays? 

Surprisingly, Priyanka does not exude too much of confidence about the success of the Don remake. She defensively said, "There will be mixed reactions. Some people will like the new film others will not. However, this is something that happens with every film." 

No baby! We think you are wrong! The film has Shah Rukh Khan and it has you. Above all it is directed by Frahan Akhtar. The naysayers will be hard to find.

October 13, 2006. Priyanka talks about "DON" and her experience in working with Shah Rukh Khan.
How excited are you about the release of 'Don'?

Of course, I'm extremely excited and looking forward to the release! It's among the biggest films of my career and my first with Shah Rukh! Everyone's looking forward to watching it and it's worked out beautifully. I've had a great time working with such a talented bunch of people like Shah Rukh, Ritesh (Sidhwani) and Farhan (Akhtar) and learnt a lot. I cherish every moment of 'Don'.

Recently there was a rumour that you wereunhappy about sharing poster space with Kareena Kapoor and Ishaa Koppikar, who've also been given a lot of prominence in 'Don'. Comment. (Laughs) I've become a favourite with rumour mongers! First they said that I had committed suicide when I was in Adelaide with my aunt! Then someone said that I had been throwing attitude on the sets of another film. Later I heard that I was apparently angry because I had to share the promotional campaign of 'Don' with Kareena and Ishaa. How do you expect me to react? I've been out of India for nearly three months on work. I've been living out of a suitcase! Just because I haven't been in Mumbai for long, people are busy creating controversies. Why would I be insecure of Kareena and Ishaa? I've worked with Kareena in 'Aitraaz' before and we got along well. In fact, she adds to the star set-up of 'Don'. Even Ishaa has done very well in the film. I want to put these baseless rumours to rest once and for all!

Was it difficult to play Zeenat Aman's character in 'Don'?

That was never my objective. I would never want to imitate Roma the way Zeenat ji did it. People would start comparing us and I would fall short of expectations! (Smiles) I was conscious all through that I had to essay the character of Roma in my own look, way and style. The Roma of the earlier 'Don' is different from the Roma of the contemporary one. I play a martial arts expert in the film and have actually done all the stunts myself! No body double has been used! I had to execute really high kicks! (Laughs) 'Don' will show me in a completely new 'avatar'.

Tell us about some of the stunts in 'Don'?

I have some great stunts in 'Don' and went through intensive training for nearly six months. I've never been so physically involved in a role. 

How different is the new 'Don' from the old one?

'Don' was a cult film of its time. Farhan (Akhtar) has given the new 'Don' his own interpretation and perspective. It is more young, cool, contemporary and slick, if you know what I mean. Even the characters have been very differently etched and enacted. I won't reveal much but there are some interesting changes in the storyline as well!

You said you've looked up to Shah Rukh as a kid. And now you've actually worked with him. Describe the experience.

I'm at a loss of words to describe how I felt on hearing that I'd be working with Shah Rukh. He is among the most gifted, passionate and hardworking actors, which is why he is where he is today. I've always wondered where he gets his energy supply from! (Laughs) He is always teeming with life and keeps everyone on their toes. He is so involved in the film and participates on every aspect of it. Farhan (Akhtar) and Shah Rukh would be in a constant discussion mode. It's so inspirational to work with an actor and human being like him! He's always teaching you something or the other. 

Tell us something about Shah Rukh we don't know!

He is a hardcore gamer! He loves video games!

October 11, 2006
Did you enjoy doing Salam-E-Ishq?
One hundred per cent. It is amazing how Nikhil Advani has handled the big cast in the film.

What is your role?
Mine is a fun role. I never knew that I had good comic timing until I discovered it in 'Salam-E-Ishq'

We hear you created lot of problems on the sets. You asked for a limousine and wanted to do away with Merc. Then, you didn't want to wear the costumes that were given to you?
That's not true. Please don't create controversies. 'Salam-E-Ishq' was damn good fun.

Your 'Aap Ki Khatir' bombed, and did Lara walk out from that because of you?
No. She had other reasons. Things are fine between Lara and me. I respect her. She is one of the few people who helped me win the Femina Miss India contest - how to put on make-up, what to wear, and so many other things.
Why did you opt out of Santoshi's 'Halla Bol'?
I seriously didn't have dates. I had just finished one schedule of 'Salam-E-Ishq'. Then Salman gave dates for 'God Tussi Great Ho'. Then I was committed to Harry Baweja's 'Love Story 2050'. It was all clashing.

Going to 'Krrish'. The critics panned you?
I am not going to defend myself. I think I should have taken more care. I think I was lazy. Maybe I was not in the right frame of mind.

There were rumours that you were once again seeing Aseem Merchant?
I haven't met Aseem in five years. I think that I have answered your question.

Did you do 'Love story 2050' since you wanted to help your 'good friend' Harnam Baweja, Harry's son?
Never. I was not doing a favour for anybody. I am doing that film because I liked the script. I play two different characters and there is lot of scope to display my acting talent in it. 

Priyanka Chopra
Congrats on Krrish. Did you expect it would be such a big hit? 
“I never say it, but I did expect Krrish would be a success. I didn’t think it would be such a phenomenon though. It has surpassed all my expectations.” 

Did Rakesh Roshan mention a sequel to Krrish while working on the film? 
“Everybody on the sets kept asking Rakesh Roshan about yet another sequel after Krrish. I told him he has to make a sequel because Krrish has become so successful now. Irrespective of whether I am there in the film or not, I would definitely like to see what happens to the character Krrish.” 
So are you guys working on the sequel already? 
“It’s too early for that. It was just a statement at that time. Let me bask in the glory of Krrish first. All that comes later.” 

What’s Aap Ki Khatir all about? 
“Aap Ki Khatir is a very romantic film. There’s nothing earth-shatteringly different about it. It’s just a sweet film. My character is a very confused girl who doesn’t know her own mind, but she tries to pretend that she’s quite in control of her life. It’s a real role, because most women are like that – they can’t take care of themselves. And yet they pretend to be worldly wise.” 

They say having two actresses in the same film creates quite a few problems for the director. And you’ve worked with Amisha in Aap Ki Khatir... 
“It’s not about having one heroine or two heroines in a film. It has to be a great story. Aap Ki Khatir is a great story. I never see whether there is one actress or two in the film. If that was the case, I wouldn’t have done half the films that I have done so far.” 

How’s it working with Dharmesh Dharshan?
“I always wanted to work with Dharmesh ji ever since I got to know him when I worked in Andaaz. This is a film which is very different from a typical Dharmesh Darshan film. It is a light, comic, romantic film. It is not an out and out comedy, but a romantic comedy

Don’t you think Akshaye Khanna and you make for an unconventional pairing? 
“Not at all. Akshaye is a great co-star to work with. He’s a superb actor. I loved working with him. I think he is one of the most talented actors we have in the industry today. Because he does so few films, he is not given his due. He has great timing.” 

Akshaye is known to be moody at times? 
“Not with me. Only with others. I have never found Akshaye moody

August 30, 2006
You have been having a hit streak with Bluffmaster! and Krrish. Even the films in which you did cameos, Taxi No. 9211 and 36 China Town have worked. Any changes with success? 

Though people’s perceptions have changed, I as a person am the same. But as an actor, every film changes something for me. It’s always an uphill journey

Aap Ki Khatir is your first film with Akshaye Khanna, but if you count your 36 China Town cameo, it is your second. How was he as a co-star? 

Before I began working with Akshaye I was actually stressed about this, thanks to all the things that I had heard about him from others, because I like to have a pleasant working environment. But he’s so damn sweet! Off-screen, he’s a thorough gentleman. On-screen, he is such a good actor! In fact, I have always been his fan! 

Which other actors are yopu a fan of? 

Madhuri Dixit! Even if I am considered two per cent of her I will think of myself as hugely talented.I also love Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol. They obviously believe so much in what I too think -- that is, they are not interested in just going on the sets and finishing their shots, but in living the roles and breathing life into the characters. They make the characters seem very real and yet infuse them with magic. I guess it’s about loving one’s work, which is what I admire and try and emulate about them. 

How important is a co-star’s contribution for a good performance? 

Of course, it is very important. If a co-star has stupid lines or speaks them stupidly and you are being shot in a close-up, you can never act well. If a co-star is not serious and involved, it can get very irritating. Especially if you are a serious actor and enjoy acting like I do. The good thing about this is that in my experience selfish actors never succeed. It is only those who get involved in the film’s totality that have successful careers.

Have you always enjoyed acting, or was there some point at which you began to love it? 

I hated acting when I started out. And I am talking about films. I would do theatre when in school. But on the first shoot ever, I was told how I had to say my lines when I reached a certain mark on the floor and had to do it when looking in a particular direction. It was all very difficult. I went home and howled and told mom, “Yeh mujhse nahin hoga!”. She told me, “Okay, now that you have signed the film, finish it. Then you can go back to your college.” I was an engineering student then. Now, I cannot think of doing anything other than acting

What’s with the cameos? 

Oh, I did those for friends. 36 China Town was for Abbas-Mustan, the men whose work I have loved since Humraaz and also those responsible for giving me Aitraaz. Rohan Sippy is also a friend - I completely enjoyed working on Bluffmaster!

What’s your character like in Aap Ki Khatir? 

I am this ’I know everything’ kind of girl in Aap Ki Khatir who is forever in an illusory world, and this is very unsettling when things go wrong. But unlike his past films, this is one film of Dharmesh Darshan that is light and frothy rather than dramatic and intense

Once they reach a certain status, all female actors have this yen to do great, meaningful roles in middle-of-the-road, art or parallel films. Haven’t you been bitten by this bug? 

(Sternly) I consider all my roles meaningful. I don’t think that only working in such films make one a good actor. You can give your best to any role and grow as an actor. I prefer to do films of the kind that I like to watch

You have done solo leads and two-heroine films. What made you accept a six-hero-six-heroine subject like Salaam-E-Ishq? 

Oh, it’s got such a wonderful script In terms of footage there may be less for every actor but that film has come out fabulously. Just watch it and you will know what I mean! 

And Drona? 

Well, I am hoping that I am on, because it’s a great subject! I would like to talk about this film only once it gets moving.

What else have you taken up? 

Well, Don is complete and Love Story 2050 is taking off. There are one or two other projects lined up

What is happening about the film you have done with Govinda? 

Last heard, they were planning to release it with a new title. I really don’t know what’s happening. The best part is that it is not a typical Govinda film but an interesting romantic thriller

So much has been said about your singing abilities - you even sang a line in Right here right now... in Bluffmaster!. Do you ever get involved in your music, like attending sittings or recordings? And do you make suggestions? 

I do, whenever possible. I have a good ear for music though my singing is for others to judge! But what makes the song recording process interesting is watching how it evolves from its scratch version to the final product, and often sounds so completely different in its recorded version! The process of how a song is created and developed is completely fascinating.

You made news recently because of your being chosen to speak at theGlobal Leadership Forum in Malaysia. How was the experience? 

It was fantastic! I was there right among all those heavyweight corporate heads from all countries! My topic was “Innovation Of The Competitive Edge”. Of course, I was a bundle of nerves before the actual moment but it went off really well. I felt amused that people there told me to take up a career in Public Speaking! So now I have an alternative career too! (Laughs)

What is your stand on the pesticides issue? 

I am not very happy with the statistics being offered. I think that all MNCs are bound to be targeted anyway. Besides, the authorities should be more worried about many other things that affect the health of citizens far more than colas.

Priyanka Chopra
What are you doing in Dharmesh Darshan’s Aap Ki Khatir? 
Agreed that some of Dharmesh’s films have been deemed outdated and traditional. But Aap Ki Khatir will silence all his critics. This film is not over the top; it’s quite stylish and subtle. Especially Priyanka Chopra’s character is not like any other Dharmesh Darshan heroine. 

Is it a desi version of The Wedding Date? 
I haven’t seen it. But many Hindi films are inspired by Malayalam, English, French, Iranian or Korean cinema. 

Bollywood makes the maximum romantic films. How is your role different?
I am spontaneous. I can safely say that nine out of ten times, mannerisms in Hindi films happen on the spur of the moment. Of course, if you’re playing specific characters like Devdas, DJ in Rang De Basantior Saif’s character in Omkara, you have to portray them in a particular way. 

How come you agreed to render a nazm for Aap Ki Khatir? 
I trusted Himesh Reshammiya completely. He said I could do it, so I did it. It was done in five minutes. 

You’ve sung it with a lot of feeling. What, or rather, whom were you thinking about? 
Sameer has written it so beautifully. It’s like getting a great dialogue. Once you get one, it’s just so easy to say it. That’s what makes us actors so vulnerable. We need to be surrounded by great talent to give our best. 

What makes a great film? 
It’s like the Russian roulette. To hit the bull’s eye, everything has to be on the same page.

A recent film you wanted to be part of?
I would have loved to do Aamir Khan’s role in Rang De Basanti. I loved the film. I think Munnabhaiand Iqbalwere also great. 

Is it true that you and co-star Priyanka Chopra didn’t get along?
(Laughs) Priyanka told me herself on the last day of shooting,‘you know I hate you, right? But I also love you’. So, there. 

Rumours insist that you are upset with Subhash Ghai also? 
Subhash ji is like a father figure to me. We don’t share a casual relationship where one day I’m happy and the next day, upset. It’s embarrassing to even answer. 

Are you a romantic guy?
I think so. Yeah, I think I am. You’d sing a nazmfor the girl you love? (Laughs) Only if it’s well written. 

Why do you act in such few films?
Not too few. Three releases this year and next year, there will be four. As clichéd as it may sound, I compete with myself. There is so much space for everyone and there are only a handful of actors. 

And why are actors so fake?
It’s difficult to say with authority but fakeness is everywhere. You either live with it or you move on and go somewhere else. You’ve got to understand that we aren’t living in a perfect world. There is no utopia. 

Do you still watch a lot of television? 
I surf all movie channels, History channel, Discovery, Nat Geo and Travel and Discovery channel. These days, I am hooked to TV series. I’ve already seen 24, Lost and Prison Break. Currently, I am seeing Sleeper Cell. These series are so engrossing that my poor assistant directors have a hard time getting me out of my van during shoots.

Priyanka Chopra
Priyanka Chopra is quite happy with the situation she's in right now. Would she go for an offbeat cinema now? Surprised Priyanka replied, "I don't think I have prove myself as a success yet. I think, for me, box office results are most important when it comes to cinema, because it's the audience we make films for. We make films to entertain. We are commodities that says, 'Hey people, this is worth spending three hours in the theatre for.' But yes, if an offbeat film is combined with a great role, that will work for me as well."
I was in Kuala Lampur for only four hours
Priyanka Chopra has returned triumphant from her first speech on Tuesday evening on an international forum. 
I was in Kuala Lampur for only four hours. I landed, gave my speech and flew out to Mumbai. It was rather scary because I was addressing a very distinguished international audience. But the speech went very well. The question and answer also went well.
The speaker after me was Sir Tim Berners Lee, founder of the world wide web, and before me was Dr Jeffrey Sonenfeld, founder of Yale.
So I felt I was sandwiched between two stalwarts who'd crush me. Fortunately I stood my ground. Other speakers included Donald Trump and Gerald M Levin (former chairman Time-Warner Inc). In comparison I was just a novice."
Priyanka was proud to be addressing a world forum. "The challenge was big because I was representing my country. I felt I did a good job. Of course I'd like to represent my country more often. I feel I've so many puddings to dip my finger into. It's all exciting and new. I always had a social side to me.
I don't like to talk about my social activities except when I need to bring media focus to an issue, like an AIDS campaign. I feel we celebrities need to create an awareness about critical issues. It's our way of giving back to a society that's given us so much love and adulation."
It wasn't just the nervousness that she feels about her first- ever speech on a global forum on 1 August that makes Priyanka Chopra jittery. 
She's also terribly apprehensive about her father's surgery for which he leaves with her mom for Boston on 6 August. "I hope this will be his last and totally successful surgery. We've gone through enough stress and need a break now. Hopefully Dad will be totally out of it."
Unfortunately she cannot accompany her parents to the US since she'd shooting in Mumbai for Nikhil Advani's Salaam-e-Ishq. But she hopes she'd be able to be in Boston at least on the day of the surgery.
 She still recalls with a shudder how her kid-brother find out about the nature of their father's illness from a newspaper report.
"We had told him that dad was ill. But we hadn't informed him of the nature of his illness. He's just thirteen, yaar! To have to know about your father is serious illness through the newspaper at that age isn't easy. I think it made my little brother grow up overnight."
Priyanka had left for Kuala Lampur to address the Global Leadership Forum with a heavy heart. Not just her dad's surgery, but a good friend has fallen ill and has been hospitalized. 
"Simple Kapadia is not just my first costume designer she has also become a good friend during the making of Guddu Dhanoa's film. Now when we're shooting the film again Simple and I were really bonding. 
She told me about her illness. But she said she was doing fine. The next thing I know she's in hospital. I know what a family goes through when someone falls ill. We've been through it. I wouldn't wish this one anyone." 
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Priyanka Chopra

24 July, 2006
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. Businessofcinema.com '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)

A quiet birthday for Priyanka Chopra
Former Miss World Priyanka Chopra turned 24 in her ‘quietest’ birthday yet.With her father being seriously ill and in and out of hospital, it was a subdued affair with just a handful of friends for dinner on her birthday Monday "I guess this must be my quietest birthday ever. With my dad being ill it just didn't feel the same," said the crestfallen birthday girl."Besides, I have been shooting 'Bluff Master' with Abhishek Bachchan in the nights. By the time I come home the milkman is making his rounds! Where is the energy to do anything else except sleep?"
Priyanka Chopra
Now, a remake of Amar Akbar Anthony
A few Bollywood filmmakers are gearing up to remake the Amitabh Bachchan classics of the 70s.
It looks like the season of remakes in Bollywood. Young director Farhan Akhtar is remaking the Bachchan thriller Don with Shah Rukh Khan and Priyanka Chopra in the leading roles. On the other hand, Ram Gopal Varma is gearing up to pay homage to his favorite Hindi movie Sholay and has roped in newcomer Mohit Ahlawat to play the role of Jai, immortalized by Bachchan in the Ramesh Sippy classic.And now, it is David Dhawan , the master of celluloid comedy, who is planning to remake the Bachchan starrer Amar Akbar Anthony . The movie’s remake, says Dhawan, will be his personal tribute to his guru, filmmaker Manmohan Desai. Dhawan says it has been his long cherished dream to remake Amar Akbar Anthony.
“I kept postponing my dream project. But now I’m going to do it within a year,” Dhawan is quoted as saying.
The original movie, starring Amitabh, Vinod Khanna, Rishi Kapoor, Parveen Babi, Shabana Azmi and Nitu Singh, was a roller coaster entertainer. Dhawan says his version of the movie will have present-day established stars, but they have not been finalized as yet. One problem that is dogging Dhawan is where to relocate the plot of the original movie. Farhan Akhtar’s ‘Don’ will be modern and techno-savvy. Ramu’s Sholay will be relocated from Rampur village to Mumbai underworld. Manmohan Desai’s ‘Amar Akbar Anthony’ was located in Mumbai. Dhawan still has to decide whether the story of his remake version will be set in Mumbai or elsewhere, and what other changes can be incorporated to make the remake version fresh.
She’s 22, sexy, successful and has that touch of controversy that adds up to ‘star’ value. No wonder Priyanka Chopra is snaking her way up the numbers ladder in Bollywood today. With hits aplenty tucked under her slim-fit belt, the youngster is not only looking ‘hot’, but signing up with top banners in filmbiz. And her biggest banner is up next – the Abbas-Mustan directed ‘Aitraaz’ from the Mukta Arts’ stable, where Priyanka dares to play the ‘anti-heroine’ ... pretty early in her career? 
“Kajol has done it and Shah Rukh, too,” she points out. “I play Sonia who is a very ambitious girl, who is in love with Akshay (Kumar)’s character. She breaks up with him, because she doesn’t want to get tied down by marriage. Later, when she’s achieved her ambitions, she wants him back, even though he’s married. She gets obsessed with him.” A difficult role to essay, no doubt, with Priyanka doing her homework to portray a younger, then older version of Sonia. “I’ve also changed my voice to make it sound authentic and enhance the role,” Chopra explains. “I’ve changed my clothes, my look, even the characteristics.” Still, the stress didn’t seem to show on the sets, with the gal being as chilled out as ever; hobnobbing with her female co-star, where others might have got a game of one-upmanship going. She explains, “I am friends with all my co-stars – whether it’s Kareena, Lara, Preity or Rani. I don’t have hang-ups. Even with Bipasha in ‘Barsaat’, or in other cases, I’ve said so many things that actually enhance them, because I know it will work for my film.” So much so that she even seemed cool to the competition, in the battle for the ‘sexiest’ title - Mallika Sherawat included. “I think Mallika is awesome,” she laughs. “I love her interviews. She’s such a bold, ‘I am what I am’ kind of girl. I think it takes a lot of guts to do that!” 

Priyanka seemed to get along well with her ‘heroes’ too. Was that the reason for her great chemistry with Akshay? The ‘Aitraaz’ ‘numbers’ were sizzling with it. “What you see in the promos are the hottest scenes in the film,” she says with a giggle. “So don’t go expecting any more. It’s the story and the treatment that will glue you to your seat.” 

We shifted to the current talk of ‘sexual harassment’ and how women can accuse any man of rape and get away with it easier – much like her character in ‘Aitraaz’? Inspired greatly by the Kobe Bryant case, and by Madhur Bhandarkar (according to the directors) closer home. “It depends. Alywas, more often than not, it is the woman who suffers. Because in our country they’re told ‘Okay, you have to bring three witnesses who saw you getting raped!’ That’s unreasonable. As for bad women, I don’t think such things happen in our country, because women are brought up with good values in our culture. I think in our country men are more in a position to take advantage of women.” 

Priyanka Chopra
Doesn’t it feel strange that both your films, The Hero and Andaaz are releasing on the same time?
Not really. Both the films belong to different genres. I play a glamorous girl in Andaaz, while in The Hero, I play the role of a deglam Pakistani Muslim doctor who is clad fully from head to toe. Since my characters in the two films are vastly different, there is no basis for comparison. So I don’t think it is going to affect me much. Anyway, I don’t think an actor can manipulate his or her releases, unless it is a home production. I’m new to this industry, so I don’t know what really works in one’s favor here. More than being nervous about both my films releasing simultaneously, I’m apprehensive about seeing myself on the big screen. On second thoughts, it is rather ironic that out of the eight films I have on hand today, these two are the only ones where I’m working with another heroine.

Aren’t you wary of the obvious comparisons that will be drawn between you and Lara Dutta in Andaaz?
First, there is no reason for me to feel insecure about Lara because I was always aware of my role in Andaaz. I wasn’t conned into doing it. I don’t believe that people would notice me only if I am in every frame of the film. If I’m brilliant in a cameo, I’ll still be noticed. Second, Lara and I have been close friends ever since our modelling days. I’ve shared all my important milestones with her — Miss India, Miss World/Miss Universe, and now my first film too. Somewhere I think we’re lucky for each other. Hey, I’m just 20 now. My career has just begun. Why should I feel scared of anybody, least of all Lara, who I know so well. It isn’t a do-or-die situation for me anyway. It’s not like I have to prove my mettle in this film or I’ll be hooted out of the industry. 

But the competition must be getting to you sometimes, surely.
I won’t deny that one feels insecure working in a two-star project, but I don’t let all this get to me. I would rather compete with Lara than anybody else. Honestly, I’m secure knowing that most of the producers I’m working with are happy with my work. That is why they’re repeating me. 

While some filmmakers are eager to work with you again, others claim they have had nasty experiences with you.
The only bad experience I had was with Maan Singh Deep. He offered me an author-backed film opposite Govinda, to be directed by Anees Bazmi. After I came back from an outdoor schedule of The Hero, I heard that the script had changed completely leaving me with barely three scenes and four songs. Plus Anees Bazmi had walked out of the film. Mr. Deep didn’t even have the courtesy to inform me about these drastic changes. I met him and returned the signing amount since I hadn’t shot a single scene for him. Since then he has been making nasty allegations against me. 

Much was also said about your father forcing your producers to further his music album.
Rubbish! My father is a fabulous singer and he will be releasing his album on his own soon. He has never forced any of my producers to help him pursue his ambition. Nor have I ever compelled them to make dad sing in all my films. Why hold me it against me if my father wants to make a career in singing? They’re two different things and should be treated so.

Too many people have too many negative things to say about you.
Yes, I know. I am aware of all these nasty comments. When I’d entered the industry, many had claimed I would never make it big since I look too Indian. Some said I’m not dependable while others called me ‘starry’. I’ve crowned myself ‘controversy queen’ now! I come from a very simple family. Probably because I don’t have any godfather, I don’t know how to make the right moves. That’s why I’ve landed up in numerous controversies. I’m not manipulative; nor do I play games to reach the top. People don’t know me for who I am. That bothers me at times. But I cannot keep explaining myself to the world. When you’re at the top, people want to pull you down. My family and my close friends know me. That’s more than enough. And no one can deny that I have so many films on hand without a single release. That speaks volumes. The only time I felt bad was when beauty pageants were banned in my hometown Uttar Pradesh the year I won Miss World. I got life threats as if I’d committed a crime. What was ironic was that the common people in Bareily were waiting for hours to catch a glimpse of me when I landed there. 

When India won all the three titles in 2000, many felt the jury was inclined to favor a third world country.
Then why haven’t we won after that year? It has never happened in the history of any international beauty pageant that all the three titles went to the same country. As Indians, we have a tendency to run ourselves down even when we’re good. Why this hypocrisy? Why can’t we just accept that we have the potential to make it big?

Looking back, do you feel bad you couldn’t debut with Humraaz?
I think Andaaz is a better launch than Humraaz. By the time I started shooting for Andaaz I had been acting for almost a year for various projects. So I had some experience. But when Abbas-Mustan had offered me Humraaz, I hadn’t even finished my Miss World modelling contract. 

When you’d entered the industry, you claimed you had to be a part of a camp to rule the roost. Do you still believe that?
I thought I needed to belong to a certain camp, but I couldn’t. I can’t do the same sort of films all the time. Today I’m working with so many different people — from Govinda, to the Deols, to Ajay Devgan. So obviously I can’t be part of any single camp. I’ve realised I should concentrate on my career rather than massaging people’s egos.

Do you think producers mostly offer you glamorous roles since you’re a model?
I have no problems with that. But if somebody asks me to stay back for dinner, I wouldn’t do that. I have a very glamorous role in Andaaz but I made it clear that I would expose only to a limit. Suneel Darshan respected my decision.

How far would you go?
I don’t mind kissing on screen, but I’m not comfortable with nudity. It has to go with my character and not be put there for the sake of it. If my role in Andaaz had demanded me to kiss Akshay Kumar, I wouldn’t have a problem with doing that. I think even the most saintly relationship involves kissing. Above all, by now all know the fact—sex sells most! I would do all this for the character I’m playing on screen. But on the sets, no one messes with me. It is important that I respect my producers and directors. But I am not on backslapping terms with them. That would be unhealthy. Today, thankfully because I’m a title-holder, I’m taken more seriously than other newcomers. There are many who are not as lucky as I. But I cannot sell my soul for a role. If you have to sleep with somebody to get a role, it isn’t worth it.

Isha Koppikar walked out of Sanjay Gupta’s Plan claiming she didn’t want to play second fiddle to you. Comment. 
But Isha was not playing second fiddle to me. She had a hero opposite her. I feel she’s lost out on a good project because it is a fabulous script. Why should she feel insecure about my presence when she got noticed with Khallas in Company? Maybe she wasn’t happy with her role. I can’t say. She knows best. But I’ve done roles where I play second fiddle to someone. Yet I believe I’ve made the right choice.

Are you ready to fall in love?
I think love just happens. Matters of the heart cannot be manipulated. I’ve always been open about my relationships. I would feel proud to be in love. But no matter what, I will never get involved with a married man. I believe – whatever goes around, comes around. If I were responsible for breaking someone’s marriage, the same would happen to me tomorrow. 

Lastly, which are the films you have on hand now?
I have Times production’s Kismet with Bobby Deol, Sunny’s home production, Vijeta Films’ Gandhi, both to be directed by Guddu Dhanoa. Feroz Nadiawala’s next with Akshay Kumar to be directed by Vikram Bhatt. Kuku Kohli’s Asar — The Impact with Ajay Devgan and Dilip Kumar, Shyam Bajaj’s next with Ajay and Suniel Shetty. K. C. Bokadia’s Ek Haseena Ek Deewana with Govinda. Then there’s Sanjay Gupta’s Plan and Satish Kaushik’s Hum Bhi Khush, Tum Bhi Khush opposite Anil Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan.


Priyanka Chopra on why she prefers the marquee to her man

She's in a tizz. Rockin' round the clock for Rakesh Roshan's Koi Mil Gaya. Patiently I wait for Preity Zinta to give me the time of day. She does, just before jetting off to Delhi for her brother's wedding... and then a quickie holiday.

Priyanka ChopraNovember 2001: Priyanka Chopra's term as Ms World ended.
January 2002: The beauty pageant winner from Rai Bareli, Uttar Pradesh is steamin' it up in apna studios.
Greeting me with a warm handshake, Priyanka informs me that she was in Chennai for a fortnight canning Tamilian with the T.N. heartthrob, Vijay. "I'm a decent dancer," she says. "Yet I wasn't prepared for those Prabhu Deva kinda movements which the choreographer out there made me do.
" Back home, Priyanka has started work on Guddu Dhanoa's Gandhi and Anil Sharma's The Hero with Sunny Deol, Kuku Kohli's Asar with Ajay Devgan, Satish Kaushik's Hum Bhi Khush Tum Bhi Khush with Anil Kapoor and Priyadarshan's untitled film with Salman Khan.
The ex-Ms World informs me that she has also enrolled at Mumbai's Jaihind College as she intends completing her B.Sc.
"Not everyone can have a run like Madhuri Dixit's," Ms Chopra reasons. "So I decided to complete my studies. If I don't click, I'll have a degree to fall back on."
Very seriously, she adds, "If I don't study... tomorrow I can't tell my children to study either. They may just turn around and accuse me of being a college dropout. Then I'll look rather stupid, won't I?"
Point noted. How many years does she give herself in the movies anyway?
"Forever if the audience will have me," she answers. "I love acting. I've found my vocation alright."

Rolling her eyes heavenwards, she remarks, "I'm destiny's child. I didn't even think I'd be Ms India someday. It was my parents who sent my photographs to Femina. Someone up there likes me. Without a little tug here and a little push there, I may never have become Ms World... or landed a career in the movies.
" Is it roses, roses all the way?
"No way," she replies. "One of the first things I learnt in the industry is that to survive here, you've got to belong to some camp or the other."
So which clique did she belong to? The Sunny Deol one? "Yeah," she sighs. "Sunny Deol and I are doing two films together. So there are a few people who say I belong to his camp. They seem to overlook the fact that I'm also working with Anil Kapoor, Salman Khan and Ajay Devgan."
Are they big bad wolves lurking around? "Oh no," she snaps. "No one has tried to act fresh with me. Frankly you've got to draw your own parameters. I don't meet producers after 8 p.m. And if I have to make an exception, my parents are always with me."
Priyanka feels that the Ms Indias are judged more harshly than other actresses. "See how the media is going hammer and tongs at Diya Mirza," she points out. "I saw Rehna Hai Terre Dil Mein. Diya looked so beautiful and she turned in a decent performance too. If her films failed, it's hardly her fault. Around here everyone salutes only the rising sun.
Does she feel her chances of making it big are bleak in the current scenario?
"I sincerely hope I'm judged on my merits," she sighs. "I've noticed the tendency to Priyanka Chopraclub all the ex-beauty queens under one category. Aishwarya Rai and Sushmita Sen are poles apart in looks and as performers. So are Lara Dutta, Diya Mirza and I." The one thing that's common though is that all of them ask for outrageous sums of money. Is this justified?
"If a banner is big, it can afford to pay me a big price," she argues. "If a good role were to come my way and the film-maker can't meet my price... I'd still do the film." Of course Priyanka feels that not all the money in the world can make up for the nastiness of showbiz. "I'm often told that gossip is the flipside of showbiz," she analyses. "Yet I can't get used to looking at a newspaper and reading something unflattering written about me."
She is reminded of the time when she was in London with a bad attack of sinus. "I had fluid in my ears and experienced such excrutiating pain that I had to be hospitalised immediately," she recalls. "I even had an emergency operation. The next thing is, the tabloids write that I've had a face job. Excuse me I'm just 19. I don't have wrinkles or laugh lines. So why do I need surgery?"
Her dark eyes convey hurt as she switches to the topic of her recent break-up with model-cum-eligible-bachelor Aseem Merchant. Had she put her love life on hold because of her career?
"It's a sore topic right now," she replies. "I didn't break-up with Aseem because I'm career-minded. My parents and my well- wishers feel I should be financially independent before I even think of marriage. If my love-life goes kaput, then I must at least have money in the bank. Right?"
Yup, it's confirmed. Aseem and Priyanka have gone their separate ways. Love will have to wait.l.

Meena Iyer

Priyanka Chopra  get ready to rock

Must be some mistake, surely. The person I'm expecting to interview is Miss World, Priyanka Chopra.
I've assumed that she'll appear with a golden glow emanating from her perfectly done hair. That she'll be dressed in a Hemant Trivedi creation and dazzle me with her diamantes.
The woman who emerges from her bedroom to sit opposite me wears a simple white churidaar-kurta. Sure she dazzles me. But with her radiant smile. She wears no make-up, puts on no airs. Her flowing tresses enhance her finely chiselled face. A face that won her the Miss World title last year. A face that's getting her smart scripts this year. 
The scales are surely dipping in her favour. She's already signed movies with directors like Abbas-Mustan, Priyadarshan, Mahesh Manjrekar. And talks are on with Rajkumar Santoshi, Indra Kumar and Mani Ratnam Productions.
Rightaway she says, "I begin work next month. I'm raring to go. But I'm also nervous. Because the general opinion is that models can't act. I want to prove everyone wrong."

Then the thought strikes her that she isn't exactly a model. She exclaims, "You know the first time I walked on the ramp was for Miss India! I didn't know a thing about modelling or showbiz before that."
Priyanka who was sschooling in Boston had just returned to her hometown of Rai Bareilly when she got the call for the Femina Miss India pageant. She recalls, "Actually, I was preparing hard for my 12th standard exams. Besides, I had applied for a scholarship in Australia. I wanted to become an engineer. "I remember my prelims had got over that day. And I was watching Mera Naam Joker just to relax for a while. The phone rang. I picked it up. And they told me that I'd been selected for the first round of Miss India. I was zapped. I thought they had got the wrong number. I didn't even know that my mom had sent my pix for the competition."
The preliminary round whizzed by. She felt terribly awkward in the bikini round. She laughs, "I was the first to go in. I was so uncomfortble in the bikini. And then they made me turn around. I wanted to die because there were six of them looking me up and down. Mr Pradeep Guha was there. But I had no clue about who he was. Anyway, I was among the six girls chosen for the Miss India competition from Delhi."
Getting into a talkative mode, Priyanka states, "I was fairly confident of myself after that. But when Lara Dutta walked into the room, I died. She had such an aura about her and unmatched style. There was a buzz about her from the first day itself. That day I mentally said bye to the Miss India title. There was no way anyone could win with her in the competition. She's so good." Priyanka's most memorable moment of the Miss India competition is the camaraderie she shared with the other contestants. And of course Shah Rukh Khan. She grins sheepishly, "My day was made when I picked him to ask me a question. My cousins who were in the audience were sure I'd swoon. I'm such a die-hard fan of his. Later, at the photo-shoot with him, I was tongue-tied. I was nervous. He still teases me about that."
The phone rings. In fact, it's never silent for long these days. A bank wants her to open an account with it. She rolls her luminous eyes and declines politely. Continuing with her narration she says, "Mr Guha was there to guide us throughout. Lara, Diya and I bonded well. In fact, we looked upto Lara. She became our friend, philosopher and guide. She'd give us tips on make-up, what to wear and and how to behave as Miss Indias. When she won the Miss Universe title, I was on top of the world."

And then preparations began for the Miss World title. She went through the usual rigours of diet, exercise and meditation. She recalls, "When I saw the girls at the pageant, I told my mom let's go home. They were all so gorgeous. And then when I saw that Zee was sponsoring it, my heart nearly sank. I thought there was no way I could win it. When I saw Hemant Trivedi in the judges list, I just bid goodbye to the title. "
Ask her about the by-now famous goof-up she made in the final round and she says seriously, "Believe me, I didn't hear the `living' bit. Jerry Springer just ate up that word. Or probably I was too nervous to hear it. 
"If I'd heard the question correctly (Which living woman do you admire the most?), I'd have said I admire Hillary Clinton the most for standing by her family. I didn't name Mother Teresa because it was the politically correct thing to do. I mentioned her because I'd met her thrice. I'd studied in a missionary school. And I've been visiting charity homes since I was eleven." Priyanka remembers how the press took off on her after the pageant for giving the wrong answer. "That took away the shine of the title somewhat," she sighs. "Everyone said the title had been rigged. There were a lot of nasty things written. Some said how could they have Hemant Trivedi on the panel. That was sad because no one questioned the other judges whose countrymates were contesting. And believe me, of all the judges, Hemant gave me the least marks. 
"When I spoke to Jerry Springer about the results he told me that one answer didn't alter the result. They had been watching the girls closely for the last 30 days. And I was certainly the best."
Right now, Priyanka is waiting to begin her second innings. Film offers are pouring in. Rajkumar Santoshi wants her to do a film with Shah Rukh Khan. "There's a lot of pressure," the Miss World admits. "People are just waiting to find faults." But there are no grooves of concern in her countenance. Already rumours have started circulating that she's charging a whopping fee. Priyanka shrugs her shoulders, "See, I'm not into the movies to make money. I come from a well-to-do family. But that doesn't mean I'm here for charity. I charge as much as I'm worth as Miss World. Not a penny more, not a penny less." 

Anuradha Choudhary 

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