Priyanka Chopra has had a busy year. The actress has been travelling across the world, shooting for her Hollywood series Quantico, promoting her new film Dil Dhadkne Do and at the same time shooting for Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Bajirao Mastani.
Amid all this, Priyanka says she has recorded a song for someone else’s album with an American rapper. “I have a very tight schedule. I have literally been globe-trotting and in all this, I have had no time to record my singles. I want to complete them one by one. Currently, I am looking forward to Zoya Akhtar’s Dil Dhadakne Do. This is my second film with Ranveer (Singh). In Gunday, we were girlfriend and boyfriend and in this, we are brother and sister, and in Bajirao Mastani, we go to another level. We are husband and wife. We are both dusky, so we could pass for brother and sister,” she laughs.
Ranveer, the actress says, is a great co-star. “Whenever I have done films with any actor, I have done back-to-back films with them. With Ranbir (Kapoor), it was Anjaana Anjaani and then Barfi. With Shahid, I did Kaminey and Teri Meri Kahaani,” says Priyanka. This helps “develop a good rapport” and me “understand how to work together,” she adds.
“Ranveer has immense energy and he takes his work seriously. I love people who take their work seriously. We get work with great difficulty and when someone takes it seriously I love it,” says Priyanka.
Dil Dhadakne Do is a story that everyone can relate to. “It’s about a crazy family and their relationship. You must have often heard from your parents that you shouldn’t do this or do that. What will people say, what will my friends say but all this is told in a funny manner. I knew that this film is going to be a fun trip as I had taken a holiday three years back with friends on a cruise liner and went to these places so I knew how beautiful it was,” she shares.
In fact, some of the situations in the film reminded Priyanka of her own family. “When I was going to contest for the international beauty pageant, my family was not told about it. Only my mother knew but we had to tell my father. He was okay with it but telling others in the family was a huge problem,” she says. “We are one big joint family, and my uncles and aunts were not happy and it became an issue. We had to pacify them later. However, I had a very liberal upbringing. I was raised as a thinking person. I never had to ask for permissions. We used to have healthy discussions on every topic and we were told about the pros and cons. Since my father was from army background, we would shift a lot which gave me the confidence as I had to deal with new background and new people everytime,” she adds.
Priyanka is all praises for Zoya Akhtar, who she calls an original director. “As a woman, she is very loving and caring, and hugs and kisses. She is very sweet, which makes her a woman director. She has her own opinions and imagination. That’s why she is one of the top five directors today,” feels Priyanka.
But Farhan Akhtar as a co-star and director, she says, “is a very strict director”. She says, “When I was shooting for Don, I was very intimidated by him. When we were shooting and if I wanted to talk to Farhan, I would ask my co-stars how his mood is,” Priyanka shares.
The actress says she felt nervous when she heard from Zoya that Farhan would be a part of Dil Dhadakne Do. “Zoya was surprised and said ‘are you serious’?” She arranged a dinner so that I get to know him. “I told him if you scold me I will start crying,” says Priyanka, adding, “He is so funny that I enjoyed working with him.”
At present, Priyanka is shooting for Bajirao... after which she will begin shooting for Gangajal 2. “I will also start shooting for Quantico in June,” she says.
The actress says she was “shocked” on receiving an offer from Hollywood.
“They approached me after doing a lot of research on me and they were shocked how popular we Indian artistes are. The show will be telecast all over the world, to approximately 180 countries, including India,” says Priyanka.
“When artistes and stars from all over the world meet me and greet me, I do feel nice. It feels good that our films have been seen by the world and people recognise us. The power of Hindi cinema is really wide,” she adds.
But racism remains an issue, she says. “I faced it when I was studying in the US. I was called brownie and curry and many more names, which is why I came back,” she adds.
Priyanka says her role in Quantico gives her an opportunity to showcase her versatility as an actor.
“They expect Indians to be typical. They make fun of our food and accent, and curry smells and mannerisms. They never took us seriously. When they came to meet me here, I told them I don’t mind exploring this option but give me a role that will treat me as an actor,” she says.
Priyanka says her Dil Dhadakne Do co-star Anil Kapoor advised her to do this show as it will create opportunity for many Indians.
“He was very proud of me. We always play Indian characters. Let the world see us in a different space. We play either Arabs or typical Indian girls. Here I play an FBI agent who is half American and half Indian. That’s why I took up the show,” she confesses.
Priyanka, who turns producer with her debut venture Madamji, says with her hands full at the moment, “as of now the film is on hold”.