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.
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.
“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.
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)