The ‘Desi Girl’ of Bollywood and international icon Priyanka Chopra has turned 40 today.
When during her early days of struggle she would be unceremoniously ousted from projects, Priyanka Chopra would be really hurt. “Am I not good enough? Just because I don’t have a posh surname?” she blurted out when J P Dutta replaced Priyanka overnight with Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in Umrao Jaan opposite Abhishek Bachchan. The film was an unmitigated disaster. Priyanka never worked with Abhishek Bachchan again.
She was recently offered a chance to play the legendary poetess-activist-feminist Amrita Pritam with Abhishek Bachchan playing Amrita Pritam’s soulmate Sahir Ludhianvi. Priyanka told the producer to choose between the two.
I know Priyanka from the time when she was dating someone named Aseem Merchant. That didn’t last long. She was soon in a serious relationship with producer Harry Baweja’s son Harman Baweja. I thought they would get married. She was shopping for her trousseau with Harman’s sister.
Harman’s debut film Love Story 2050 was being planned. Harman’s heroine was Kareena Kapoor (then without the Khan), and not Priyanka. I thought that was weird. But Harman’s explanation made sense. His father and Harman didn’t want to take advantage of their closeness to Priyanka.
Also, Harman felt real-life couples make lousy screen pairs. He was right. All of Harman’s gyan came crashing down after four days of shooting when Kareena decided to opt out of Love Story 2050. No explanation given. She just didn’t want to do it! She told me that. It was scary.
In a panic, Harman and his father turned to Priyanka who was a very busy Bollywood actress herself. But she quickly adjusted her dates and stepped into the void created by Kareena. One wonders what would have happened to Harman’s debut film if his girlfriend had not stepped in. As she said with a grin, anything for her man Harman.
Ironically, as Priyanka Chopra’s career grew in Bollywood she rapidly became ‘unsign-able’. The A-listers opted out. After a string of hits with Priyanka, Akshay Kumar couldn’t/wouldn’t work with her for reasons that we won’t go into here. Salman Khan wouldn’t work with her because she refused to pander to his gargantuan ego. Even after the success of Don, Shah Rukh Khan wouldn’t work with Priyanka because …well, he couldn’t. Aamir wouldn’t work with Priyanka because Salman and Shah Rukh wouldn’t.
It was all very internecine, messy and unsolvable. Priyanka had no choice but to start afresh in another part of the world. Her career in the West was not a professional strategy. It was the only means to her survival. In hindsight, the decision to head West was the best decision Priyanka took in her life and career. No one from Bollywood has attained even a grain of her success in the West.
It’s not about the films she does in Hollywood. It’s not being married into one of the most successful families in the American entertainment industry. It’s about being Brand Chopra, the most recognizable name in the West.
I remember being seated next to a charming American woman on London’s Heathrow airport waiting for a connecting flight. When I told her I was an entertainment journalist in India her first question was, “Do you know Pwi-yaunka Chow-opera? Did she marry Nick Jonas for love or money?”
I will take that. For both. Priyanka is a tough practical woman. She knows love and money are equally important. Happy motherhood, Priyanka. I know you are a terrific mom. I’ve seen you with kids. They love you. The kids’ daddys love you too. I am not too sure about the mommys.
News Source : First Post