Published On:Friday, 22 April 2016
Posted by Chaudhry

Gets candid about her career like never before : I make sure I’m the best person for the job: Priyanka Chopra

Gets candid about her career like never before : I make sure I’m the best person for the job: Priyanka Chopra

A constellation of Hollywood stars sparkled across Los Angeles's storied Dolby Theatre, making their way to the 88th Academy Awards this February, but people were glued to a beguiling Indian import as she sailed into view.
In her sheer ivory Zuhair Murad gown and 50-carat diamonds, a winning combo that's earned her a coveted spot on various best-dressed lists, actress Priyanka Chopra, slated to present an award that evening, fielded a dizzying range of red-carpet queries.
"I just don't want to screw up anyone's name, you know?" she told E! News.
Her resume mirrors a steady build-up to a crescendo - with the occasional wrong note, of course! After all, it's hard to forget that Priyanka Chopra's fledgling Bollywood career, the obvious next step for Miss World 2000, consisted of a clutch of bland rom-coms! It was only in 2008, when she snagged the lead in film director Madhur Bhandarkar's 'Fashion', a film that captured the murky warts-and-all underbelly of glamour that she leapt towards the big leagues.
At a time, when female-centric storylines were considered the ultimate swan songs in testosterone-riddled Bollywood, Chopra's uninhibited performance as a small-town beauty with supermodel ambitions swivelled heads for its stark vulnerability, resulting in a National Film Award for Best Actress and meatier subsequent roles.
Then she veered West in 2012, recording a track with Black Eyed Peas singer will.i.am and subsequently producing an earworm of a single, "Exotic", joining forces with international rapper Pitbull. While the tunes themselves were lukewarm at best, they spurred bigger things, including a sultry stint in a Guess ad campaign and the lead role in 'Quantico', a terrorism-themed mystery that made her the first Indian actor to bag top billing in an American television drama, when it premiered on ABC last September.
"There is no strategy," insists the 33-year-old. Chopra plays Alex Parrish, a fearless Indian-American FBI recruit framed for executing the deadliest attack on New York City since 9/11. It's easy to see how that twisty role, the first part Chopra ever had to formally audition for, served as the unofficial try-out to the aforementioned 'Baywatch' remake, where she'll play a baddie, single-handedly taking on an elite crew of lifeguards, starring heavy-hitters like Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock and Zac Efron. "Let me show you how slow-motion running is done, Hollywood!"
While she may passionately deny the existence of a grand future vision, Chopra is never without an immediate game plan. The latest in her growing list of accolades are a 2015 Padma Shri and a People's Choice Award she scored in the US for her debut on Quantico, the ultimate vote of confidence from a stateside audience.
"I'm an education portal for those, who don't know what India is," Chopra says. "I help people understand our movies - no, we don't just randomly break into song and dance, that's an important part of our storytelling!"
Chopra's careful not to gloss over the challenges that come with the groundbreaking role. "People think I'm just waltzing on set and practicing an American accent but it's so much more than that," she asserts. "I'm embodying someone whose spirit is American and it's all very out of my comfort zone. I was concerned about 'Quantico' because there hasn't been a precedent for this - I'd never seen Indian actors in the West leading television shows," explains Chopra.
After Chopra's award-winning portrayal of Kashibai in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's 18th-century warrior romance 'Bajirao Mastani', there are faint rumours about her taking on his next untitled opus alongside actor Irrfan Khan.
"I think it's a great time for female actors in Hindi cinema," she says. "But it took a big fight from performers like Vidya Balan and Kangana Ranaut women, who have taken cinema forward and enabled audiences to have faith in the fact that whether a story is told by a male or female, ultimately, just watch it because it's a good story."
Chopra's willingness to credit her peers makes her an anomaly in an industry that is somewhat stingy with its praise. But maybe shaking up convention is one of the perks of being a perennial outsider.
Chopra's blueprint for global domination isn't an easy one to decipher. As far as we can tell, its identifying marks include an inimitable hustle, the constant need to shatter stereotypes and a borderline obsession with uncharted territory. "For me, it's about surpassing what I've done before - how do I become bigger and better? I just put my head down, keep working and make sure I'm the best person for the job." 

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