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Priyanka Chopra Wants To Play A Man, Act On Broadway

Her next Hollywood release will be "Isn't It Romantic?" and she is reportedly in talks to star with Chris Pratt in "Cowboy Ninja Viking". For now, she is in India to shoot Shonali Bose's "The Sky Is Pink", in which she will be seen as a mother of an 18-year-old girl.

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Priyanka Chopra's Assamese film to release on October 26. Flickr
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In a film career spanning over 15 years, Priyanka Chopra has essayed diverse roles and paved her way into Hollywood like no other Indian actress has. Now she says it’s her dream to play a man and she is eyeing Broadway too.

At an interactive session for Ficci FLO here on Monday, Priyanka spoke strongly about how her “Quantico” character Alex Parrish was unapologetic for choices — something that all women need to be.

“Alex to me is an unapologetic modern female who lives life on her terms. She is extremely flawed, she’s not perfect, she’s a loner, she doesn’t like people, she only uses people… So, she’s basically playing a man, which is awesome, because girls don’t get to play that… And I was like ‘Yes, we get to turn the tables’,” Priyanka said.

“It’s my dream to be able to play a man… That’s the next thing I want to do,” added the actress, who also expressed a desire to do Broadway as she loves watching theatrical productions when she is in New York.

Priyanka Chopra Talks About Being A Modern Women. who Values Herself.VOA
Priyanka Chopra Talks About Being A Modern Women. who Values Herself.VOA

You’re already playing characters which were written for men, aren’t you, asked the moderator alluding to Priyanka’s role as the villain in “Baywatch”?

“No… I am playing modern women… Alex Parrish is a modern woman. A modern woman is an empowered woman who wants to value herself.

“The only thing she asks for is ‘let me make my own decisions without being judged for it’. That’s the freedom that men have experienced for so many years… And that’s all the women want unapologetically,” Priyanka said to an applause from an audience full of women of diverse age groups.

When Priyanka landed a chance to play Alex, she broke barriers to become the first South Asian woman to headline an American network series.

“I’ve lived in America as a child, and my biggest pet peeve then was not seeing anyone on the television who looked like me. So whenever you saw Indians in global mainstream entertainment, you always saw them in a box of the nerds, the big fat Punjabi family wedding or the shopkeeper or Apu from The Simpsons…

“Why could we not go beyond that? Why did our ethnicity define the roles we played? So, the only thing I told the people was that don’t come to me with a show based on a big Punjabi wedding, I won’t do it… I don’t want to be put in a box and I don’t want my ethnicity to define the roles I take on.”

“Quantico” had her play a half Indian, and that had nothing to do with the story.

Image: Instagram
Priyanka Chopra Is The First South Asian Women To Play A Lead In An American Network Series. Instagram

“That for me was my biggest win. I had dug my feet in and I said I will not compromise on what I see as the future of global entertainment for people like me and South Asians. I think that gave me the confidence to dig my feet further and demand the kind of parts that I want to do,” said Priyanka.

This has continued with “Baywatch” and her other new films abroad.

“I am playing characters which have nothing to do with my ethnicity and I feel it will open the door for Indian talent or South Asian talent to become mainstream… Why do we play the sidekicks? I want to play the leading lady and I am not going to compromise on it.”

Her next Hollywood release will be “Isn’t It Romantic?” and she is reportedly in talks to star with Chris Pratt in “Cowboy Ninja Viking”. For now, she is in India to shoot Shonali Bose’s “The Sky Is Pink”, in which she will be seen as a mother of an 18-year-old girl.

Also Read: Priyanka Chopra Hopes She Opened Doors for Women of Colour to Play Lead Roles

And she doesn’t care about ‘image woes’ that a lot of actors talk about if they are to play a parent on-screen.

“Nobody can take my glamour away,” said Priyanka confidently, reminding that she not only played a mother in “Pyaar Impossible” but also a 65-year-old in “7 Khoon Maaf”. (Bollywood Country)

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India’s #MeToo Movement Makes The Most Glamorous Industry Its Subject Of Scrutiny

While India has been under the spotlight for sexual violence against women, sexual harassment at the workplace has seldom been under scrutiny.

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#MeToo, women
Bollywood actress Tanushree Datta presents a creation by designer Sanjeet Anand at the Bangalore Fashion Week in Bangalore, India. VOA

India is in the midst of its #MeToo moment as leading figures from the country’s entertainment and media industries face a volley of accusations of sexual misconduct from growing numbers of women.

The firestorm has had a powerful impact. In recent days two leading editors have stepped down, a Bollywood production house has been shuttered, India’s top comedy troupe faces an uncertain future and a popular author has apologized.

#MeToo
India’s Minister of State for External Affairs M.J. Akbar (front) arrives in Venezuela’s Caribbean island of Margarita for the 17th Non-Aligned Summit in Venezuela. VOA

The allegations have also touched the government. India’s junior foreign minister, M.J. Akbar, is among those named by several women journalists for alleged misconduct during his previous tenure as a leading journalist and editor. He has not yet responded to the allegations and foreign minister, Sushma Swaraj, did not comment either.

The trigger for India’s #MeToo campaign came from Bollywood actress Tanushree Datta who last month filed a police complaint in a 10-year-old case alleging that a leading actor, Nana Patekar, behaved inappropriately during a film shoot. He has denied the accusations and sent her a legal notice.

Soon after, a female comedian, Mahima Kukreja, accused a former member of comedy group All India Bakchod, Utsav Chakraborty, of sending her lewd messages and photos. Following similar accusations by other women, Chakraborty apologized on Twitter saying, “It’s a little too late, but I am sorry.”

The two allegations appeared to have touched a nerve among many women in media. During the past few days, there has been an outpouring on social media from scores of women journalists sharing their experiences of inappropriate behavior, ranging from suggestive messages to unsolicited advances with #MeToo.

#MeToo
Christine Blasey Ford testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sept. 27, 2018 in Washington. VOA

The Network of Women in Media group called it a “watershed moment for all of us in journalism,” and said it encouraged more women to “document their accounts without fear or inhibitions.”

In the glitzy Bollywood industry, producer and writer Vinta Nanda, accused actor Alok Nath of sexually abusing her almost 20 years ago on a Facebook post. Nath has told a news agency, “It must have happened, but someone else would have done it.”

Nanda told reporters the movement taking place is “very encouraging, very enabling and this is the reason why I have brought it up.”

Lawyer Vrinda Grover who has helped draft India’s laws on sexual abuse and harassment, said that enabled by technology and social media, women had spoken out because in a new environment, “They will not be immediately blamed as in the past.” On the other hand, it is bringing consequences for harassers.

A high profile movie company, Phantom Films, was dissolved after HuffPost India published an investigation alleging that one of the founders, Vikas Bahl, had assaulted a female employee after a party in 2015. The other partners apologized for mishandling her complaint.

#MeToo
Queen” star Kangana Ranaut hasn’t been far behind in calling out Bahl,

A popular author, Chetan Bhagat, issued an apology after a woman uploaded a screen shot of a text in which the married writer said he wanted to “woo” her.

The editor of a leading newspaper, Times of India, K.R. Sreenivas, has been sent on leave pending an investigation after several women accused him of making sexual propositions. The political editor of another popular daily, the Hindustan Times, Prashant Jha, stepped down after a former colleague accused him of harassing her.

Amid a global movement to hold powerful men accountable for sexual misconduct, Indian women have picked up courage, said journalist Rituparna Chatterjee. “The floodgates to women’s anger have been opened.”

Some women said they were inspired by the testimony of Christine Blasey Ford, the university researcher in the United States, who accused, without evidence, U.S. supreme court judge nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers. He is now a Supreme Court justice.

#MeToo
The hushed whispers are getting louder. Flickr

This is not the first time when efforts have been made to bring the #MeToo movement to India, but in the past it has quickly faded away. Last year for example, a crowd-sourced list of academics accused of harassment got little attention.

Also Read: Nana Patekar Denies Accusations of Sexual Harrassment

But lawyer Vrinda Grover calls the ongoing spontaneous campaign a “significant moment” in the effort to address workplace harassment. But she points out that the women who have spoken out largely represent the educated, urban elite and says it will be much harder for those working on shop floors, on construction sites and as household maids to bring attention to their stories.

While India has been under the spotlight for sexual violence against women, sexual harassment at the workplace has seldom been under scrutiny. (VOA)

One response to “India’s #MeToo Movement Makes The Most Glamorous Industry Its Subject Of Scrutiny”

  1. Although this exposure applies only to the famous men, it surely will open eyes of less successful men involved in this kind on action. But just like men many women employees are also lazy/useless/inefficient etc. So punishing those women employees could be tricky for bosses because they can claim punishment for their refusal for bosses’ advances.