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Priyanka Chopra, who is in Miami shooting for Baywatch, kept everyone waiting at a press conference of Jai Gangaajal in New Delhi where she was connected through video conferencing. Answering questions from her hotel room with bleary eyes after a long night shoot, she talked to the gathering with much attention. Terming herself a workaholic, she told us that she wanted to work 36 hours out of 48. “I want to dominate the world through my hard work,” said Priyanka.

The film is releasing around the Women’s Day and Priyanka is happy that conversations regarding representation of women in every sphere are increasing. “When you do not attach a male-oriented tag to a male actor’s film, why add female-oriented tag to a film with a female protagonist? This is the question everyone in the audience should answer as films are just films and beautiful stories just need good actors. They can be from any gender’s point of view. Female actors have as much talent as their male counterparts, and the biggest change that we need is breaking the stereotypes attached to films with female actors,” observed Priyanka, who earlier delivered a hit with Mary Kom.

While everyone is busy endorsing gender parity at workplace, the Indian police still has a skewed gender ratio in favour of male officers. She is essaying the character of an IPS officer in the film who is bold yet cultured. “I had seen a lot of interviews of female police officers which Prakash (Jha) had conducted to prepare the character and picked their body language. Abha, the character I am playing, does not forget her femininity and morals despite her tough outlook as a lady officer. Through this role, I came to know that it is tough to be a lady police officer as you will be as free as the government will allow you to be and as a female you have to prove yourself at every stage else people will not take you seriously. India is a very tough country to govern because of the fact that people of different ideologies, culture and religion are living together and it sometimes becomes chaotic for those who are managing law and order,” said Priyanka on her observation of the system through the film.

Gangaajal became very popular with the masses due to Ajay Devgan’s portrayal of a tough officer and Priyanka said that she chose the film as a challenge to take the franchise to the next level. “I always wanted to work with Prakash Jha but our stars were not matching but I must say he has exploited my love for Hindi to a great extent as I belong to Uttar Pradesh. When we decided to do this film, I had signed Quantico and I had to delay its shooting for one month so that I can shoot for Jai Gangaajal. He has clarity over what he wants to show and he is bold to take stand on subjects which others do not easily pick up due to controversy attached to them. His production is wisely managed as he always comes on time and actors need not work beyond eight hours,” noted Priyanka.

While the Oscars were criticised on diversity issue, South Asians made their mark at the ceremony with Pakistani filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s film A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness, Indian origin British director Asif Kapadia’s Amy , took home an Oscar while Sanjay’s Super Team, another work from Indian origin animator was nominated. Priyanka, who presented an award at Oscars, believed that art is global which cannot be stopped through boundaries and people would realise the potential of Bollywood through avenues like these where actors from India will be seen in big Hollywood ventures. “It was a once in a lifetime experience for me to present an Academy Award despite the fact that I am in the U.S. for only last six months. I am happy that people loved my work within small time. It was an honour for me to represent our country.” She became the second Indian to present it after Persis Khambatta presented it along with William Shatner in 1980. “I was not nervous as Bollywood has taught me a lot about award presentations and I knew what to do on the stage but I was a bit conscious about pronouncing the names correctly,” laughed Priyanka.


Recently, a video of a former Shiv Sena functionary assaulting a female traffic constable after she pulled him up for talking on the phone while driving at a busy junction, went viral. Motorists and passersby stood mute as he slapped and rained punches on her. An alert advocate intervened and took the accused to the police station.

‘I abhor violence’

Priyanka Chopra, who plays a cop — SP Abha Mathur — in her next, Jai Gangaajal, hasn’t seen the video but she abhors violence and says she would have definitely stepped in to help the cop had she witnessed the assault, “Why a woman, even if a man was being hit, I would try and stop it. I abhor violence. It’s not just about man or woman. I know I am often heard saying ‘I will beat the sh*% out of you’, if I am upset (laughs), I am against violence and I think it should be stopped always. Don’t we all come from the land of Mahatma Gandhi who taught us non-violence?”

Don’t try it!

The tough actress adds that if anybody tries to misbehave with her on a physical level, she won’t hold back. “I don’t think anybody should physically try to misbehave with me. I can be scary and I wear very sharp, pointed heels so I can just jab the person with them (laughs). On a serious note, I am somebody who doesn’t take sh*t from anybody. I think nobody should take crap from anyone. Young people should stand up for themselves and have the confidence to know what they are worth.”

Firm, yet feminine

The actress feels that her on-screen character Abha is a better person than her. “She’s such a good girl, possesses guts standing alone in a male-dominated world. Abha is more honest and follows the rules, while I break them (smiles). I love Abha for what she represents — the truth. Despite being a tough cop, there is an extremely feminine side to her as well. Usually female cops on screen are not graceful, but Prakash Jha and I imbued Abha with grace, adaah and tehzeeb. She’s very feminine and yet is tough as nails.”

Here, there…

Priyanka is currently shooting for the Baywatch movie in California and is missing JG’s release in India. “I’m nervous and excited at the same time… I haven’t had the experience of seeing the film. The best part of making a film is sharing it with your audience. But today, Hindi movies have a global appeal and one gets so much love and support sitting in any part of the world, it’s amazing.”


The reviews are starting to come in 🙂

Who would have known that this small town girl would rule over the millions of hearts one day. Priyanka Chopra is surely the lady of the moment. From American TV series to her appearance at the Oscars, she left everyone talking only about her.

Jai Gangaajal (U/A): Book Your Tickets Right Away!

Now, finally the D-day of her film, Jai Gangaajal has arrived. We know that Director Prakash Jha’s films usually seep in the Indian socio-politico system and Jai Gangaajal is no different. It revisits the dusty heartland of Central India and examines the relationship between society and the police.

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“Jai Gangaajal” is touted as the sequel of the Ajay Devgan starrer “Gangaajal” so expectation and the anticipations from the movie are huge; moreover it is touted as one of the most awaited movie of the year. The promotion of the movie done up to the mark and so fans are excited for the movie anyway.

Apart from the Priyanka Chopra who will be seen in the leading role of a dare-devil cop, it is Prakash Jha, Manav Kaul, Rahul Bhat, Murli Sharma will be also seen doing crucial roles in the movie. But basically the story revolves round a lady cop played by Priyanka Chopra who fights against corruptions.


Famous and beautiful heroine Priyanka Chopra’s most anticipated film has come into theaters. Huge numbers of people are enthusiastically waiting to know the information like Jai Gangaajal movie review, rating and audience response and live audience response.

Jai Gangaajal is a story of the powerful Policewomen who happens to be from today’s day and age. The total story revolves around the police-society relationship revisited and most gorgeous beauty Priyanka Chopra has played this powerful police role.

Priyanka Chopra acting is really one of the highlights of the movie; she acted as a real police officer in this film. Remaining actors who acted in this film like Prakash Jha, Manav Kaul, Ninad Kamat, Murli Sharma and Rahul Bhat have given good performance in this movie.

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REVIEW: Straight away, Jai Gangaajal celebrates Priyanka Chopra in one of her most- literally – kick-ass performances. Bankipur is bullied by MLA Bablu (Manav) and brother Dabloo (Ninad), who rape, murder and loot farmers’ lands. Police’s ‘circle babu’ BN Singh (Prakash) smoothly facilitates Bablu-Dablu while building himself a marbled palace of black money. Suddenly, Abha Mathur (Priyanka) arrives as Bankipur’s new SP – will Bablu-Dablu’s party end?

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Priyanka Chopra is back and how. The brilliant actress who has taken Hollywood by storm looks all set to make a powerful impact with her first release of 2016, Jai Gangaajal.

People at a single screen theatre that team visited in Mumbai for a review couldn’t stop raving about Priyanka and her performance as a lady cop. Right from the way she looked as the lady police officer on screen to the dialogues she mouthed and the mean punches she threw in, Priyanka delivered what many actresses couldn’t – a power packed performance.


Starring Priyanka Chopra in the lead role, “Jai Gangaajal” is slated to release on March 4, 2016. The film, directed by Prakash Jha features the fearless and feisty Priyanka Chopra teaching a lesson for life to all those who attempt to corrupt the society. Wondering if it is a must-watch or not? Here’s our take on Priyanka’s “Jai Gangaajal”.

The social evil of corruption is majorly existant in our country. Most men from the government and the police force are puppets of corruption. We all know, that our system works on corruption. “Jai Gangaajal” is wake-up call for all those corrupt officers who have got their hands dirty with fraudulence and graft.

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“The moment I thought of Abha Mathur for Jai Gangaajal , it was Priyanka all the way,” said director Prakash Jha about his film’s leading lady Priyanka Chopra.

“Her career graph from Kaminey, Barfi! to Bajirao Mastani is amazing and we the team are so proud of her and we know opportunities like these don’t come every day and her being at the Oscars is great because it brings attention to our film,” the filmmaker told NDTV.

Priyanka Chopra in turn, took time off from her Baywatch shoot and joined team Jai Gangaajal through skype on the last leg of their promotions in Delhi. Admitting she always wanted to work with Prakash Jha, the actress revealed that she wanted to play an officer and it was ‘a challenging role’ and that she was to for it, even being tongue-in-cheek when she said ‘it was men who could do with a dose of feminism.’

But it seemed it was her Oscars rendezvous and Baywatch schedule in Miami which was of utmost interest. Admitting it was indeed a proud moment for her at the Oscars, Priyanka said, “I am so happy that in just six months in the United States, they gave me this honour and included me with the top Hollywood actors.”

Priyanka, who was the second Indian after model Persis Khambatta to present at the Oscars, said she was enjoying being a beach bum since the gruelling 16-hour shoot schedule had led to their pictures being leaked. Nonetheless, she was happy she could make time for the project, admitting that they were shooting her scenes first since she didn’t have much time to spare for the film which will release in May 2017.

And for those who are waiting to see Priyanka flaunt her toned body in a swimsuit, the actress had mentioned at the Vanity Fair party that though she was playing a ‘very evil person in the film,’ people would just have to wait and watch to see her in a bikini and she ‘will be the interruption in all the slow motion running.’

Jai Gangaajal releases on March 4 but it will be a while till Priyanka descends on home turf.


‘We have trained Priyanka well for the role of IPS officer Abha Mathur. She learnt all the mannerisms of the Indian police. The Quantico people are taking the real advantage of it.’

‘It’s okay, I am happy that America knows what we can do.’

Jai GangaaJal director Prakash Jha raves about his heroine.

Even as Priyanka Chopra makes waves internationally, she’s making news back in India as well.

Her latest film Jai GangaaJal will release on March 4, and its director Prakash Jha is super excited about it.

Jha makes his acting debut with this film as well.

He tells contributor Rajul Hegde about how his film benefited Priyanka’s Quantico.

Do you think training Priyanka Chopra for the role of an IPS officer in Jai GangaaJal benefited her FBI act in Quantico?
That’s what we believe.

We have trained her well for the role of IPS officer Abha Mathur. She learnt all the mannerisms of the Indian police. The Quantico people are taking the real advantage of it. She did a crash course for one month, performed and it turned out to be excellent.

Even the police officers in the academy were surprised with the way she looked and performed. It’s okay, I am happy that America knows what we can do.

How was it working with Priyanka?
Priyanka is an amazing actress. She’s dedicated, focused and probably has 48 hours in a day!

When I signed Priyanka, she was already a big star. In these six months, she has become so big.

Her grasp of her character was very quick. We would discuss the role for hours, and all she said on the first day of the shoot was that she had so many questions. She is hungry for work, always ready to work. She is a dream actor.

Apparently, she bullied you during the shooting.
Yes, she did. She never failed to tell me that I was the junior actor on set. She always told me that you may be a big director but don’t forget that you are a junior actor here.

I used to say, ‘charan sparsh apkay’ and she would feel happy.

Since I was acting and directing, I would say ‘roll the camera’ while standing in the frame and then do my scene. At the end, I would say ‘cut’.

If I asked her whether the shot was okay, she would say, ‘It’s your job to look at me, not my job to look at you.’

What do you love about her?
She is simple, easy, supportive and humble. If there is a new actor and even if he’s doing a small role with her, she would be concerned about him.

She makes actors comfortable and makes sure they respond well.

Read the full interview here.

He has been famous for tapping into politics with his movies and in fact, his about-to-be-released film JAI GANGAAJAL starring Priyanka Chopra too has some elements of politics involved. By now you would know that we are talking about director-turned-actor Prakash Jha. Well, in our interview, the man revealed about his most memorable experience, spoke about Priyanka Chopra, politics and much more.

Here are some excerpts from the interview:

Was Priyanka Chopra your original choice for the movie?
Priyanka was the only choice – right from the time I thought we needed a female protagonist. Her character is that who has to take over a district, but people thought she would be manipulated.

In case Priyanka said no, then who would you have casted?
I don’t know. It didn’t happen na. That’s not the situation, then why ask? If not Priyanka, then we would’ve thought about someone else.

What do you think will attract the audiences to JAI GANGAAJAL? Is the same factors which were in GANGAAJAL?
It’s a very exciting story of a female police officer, her emotional involvement with work and the story of our new society (which changed after 2003). Moreover, it has lovely characters.

Does Rahul Bhat have a dark role in JAI GANGAAJAL?
No. Rahul’s character is very positive. He’s a social activist who is the ideology of the film. Whatever we want to say in the film, it’s through him.

An incident on the sets that you cannot forget?
I don’t remember any apart from that one day. The lady called Priyanka Chopra is so particular in her work that one day she didn’t turn up until approximately 10 o clock. We had 8 o clock shift. A very disturbed Priyanka called me up and said I’ve fallen ill, but am trying to take medicine and come in an hour. Within an hour I got a call that she tried to get up and dress, but she felt nauseous. So I said just forget about it and sleep, I’ll shoot some other scene where you aren’t required. The next day she was so apologetic and said that she never cancelled shooting. That’s actually when I realized that she has never cancelled any shooting or not been there which is why she is where she should be!

From where did you get the idea of including a national anthem in your movie and is it a part of the movie?
It isn’t. Everybody records National Anthem, so we also thought we’ll record it. Moreover, Priyanka sang that so it was great.

Any plans to tap into another genre apart from politics?
I’ll be working on it soon.

Did you ever think about getting into politics?
I did contest elections to become an MP so that I could do something, but getting into politics is never my aim. I understand and am a very keen observer of politics, but I don’t want to practice it.


Priyanka Chopra, who has taken Hollywood by storm, will be back on silver screens in India this Friday courtesy Jai Gangajaal. Donning the khakee, Priyanka will be seen in an action-packed avatar as the no-nonsense top cop in the Prakash Jha directed socio-political drama. Though this is not the first time Priyanka will be seen playing a cop (Gunday and Don), Jai GangaaJal will see the actress getting into the raw and rustic policing zone where not just brute force but power politics will also be at play.

Helmed by the redoubtable Prakash Jha who is himself making his debut as a full-fledged actor, Jai GangaaJal will open to big expectations given the fact that the prequel that starred Ajay Devgn in the lead was a superhit.

For Priyanka, JaiGangaaJal will offer an avenue to showcase a new spectrum of acting which will be far different from any of her earlier roles. As boxer Mary Kom, Priyanka showed us that she could pack in a few mean punches. It remains to be seen how imposing she will emerge in Jai Gangaajal. The trailers show her diving straight into physical action and mouthing effective dialogues. Her face-off with Prakash Jha and Manav Kaul will make for compelling viewing.

For Prakash Jha, Priyanka’s international fame has come at the right time. Though the actress is not physically present to promote the movie, her new found Hollywood fame will make sure, the movie gets picked up not just nationally but also in the international markets.

The movie, which by Priyanka’s own admission, was shot in quick time will prove to be a litmus test of sorts for the actress. For after Mary Kom, this is be the first movie where Priyanka will be seen again in a headlining role. Her last two outings in 2015 Dil Dhadakne Do and Bajirao Mastani were what one could term as multi-starrers.

Will Priyanka deliver the goods as an IPS officer this time around. We will have to wait and watch.

Keep watching this space for review of Jai Gangaajal.


Nobody was expecting this. And certainly not in 2000 when Miss India Priyanka Chopra, all of 18 then, was crowned Miss World.

At the time, Priyanka wanted to become a clinical psychologist “to understand why people turn demented”. She also thought (and said) that India was home to two billion people (it wasn’t, we’re at 1.2 billion today). And most mortifying of all, when asked: “Who do you consider to be the most successful woman living today and why?”, she answered, “Mother Teresa.’’ (Mother Teresa had died three years before.)

What followed was incredulity and fury. “We Indians send out some bimbo and she returns with the prize, and we act like we’ve conquered the world,” Khushwant Singh wrote, “This one is singularly stupid.” An editorial in the Hindustan Times said that “perhaps Ms Chopra had taken the convent school line about the Holy Ghost a little too seriously.” The Indian Express headline was thus: India Breasts Tape Again in the World’s Great Bimbo Race.

But the “bimbo” has come a long way since. And in the last decade and a half, she’s been no stranger to criticism. Just last year, her Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything – in which Reddit users get to interact with celebrities) backfired on her. She was attacked for her accent, auto-tuning her music, endorsing fairness creams and for a road being named after her late father. But it is almost impressive at how unfazed she is. She coolly tells me, “I’m not running for President – everybody’s opinion doesn’t matter. Haters gonna hate and potatoes gonna potate. What are you gonna do?”

This interview was conducted on the phone, since Priyanka is in Montreal shooting for Quantico, the new American TV show in which she plays Alex Parrish, an FBI trainee accused of plotting the most devastating terrorist attack on New York since 9/11. Alex is half-Indian and has spent 10 years in India, which explains her halfway-there American accent –“I had to learn the accent. I have a dialect coach on set with me and she listens to all my lines every day and it’s quite a task,” says Priyanka.

The very first scene shows rubble – and amidst it, a wrist with a black bracelet wrapped around it: on it a metal “Om” – this is Alex Parrish. “The show begins with an Om because I wanted that for good luck,” Priyanka says.

On September 27 (October 3 in India) the show opened to a mostly good response. It rated a 7.6 on IMDb and a 7.8 on The New York Times said she was “the strongest human asset on the show” and Vulture said “She’s very compelling on screen”; Salon called her character “the Indian-American heroine I’ve been waiting for”.
“I’ve just come back to the set,” Priyanka says. “I’m going to walk in for the first time after the premiere. We’re shooting nine scenes, it’s going to be a long day! I’m promoting and shooting together. I don’t think I could’ve been prepared for the hours that we do.” A few minutes later, the call drops. When we reconnect, I hear excited chatter. I imagine a frenzy of people who, if all goes well and the show is renewed for more seasons, will work together for six months every year for many years. “We’re all away from home, so the cast has become very close. We meet every weekend, despite spending 15 hours a day together. Especially the girls.”

In the beginning, Chopra’s career didn’t sound very promising. At best, there were some average Akshay Kumar-starrers, like Andaaz and Aitraaz, but most were forgettable: The Hero: Love Story of a Spy, Plan…

And then came the hits one after the other: Krrish and Don (2006), Fashion and Dostana (2008), Kaminey (2009), 7 Khoon Maaf and Don 2 (2011), Agneepath and Barfi! (2012), Krrish 3 (2013), Gunday and Mary Kom (2014) and the upcoming Bajirao Mastani is already making waves… There were misses now and then (remember Love Story 2050?), but in this long impressive list, you can forgive the flops.

It was right in the middle of all this success, that Priyanka began planning her international career. Co-incidentally, this was also a time for some anti-Priyanka sentiment in Bollywood. Three years ago, the press was aflame with gossip about just how unpopular she was among the Bollywood wives. But she is quite likeable, says film critic Rajeev Masand: “She goes out of her way to charm a person. A lot of people find that suspicious – because they judge her based on the rumours.”

So it was perhaps as a consequence of the nasty gossip that Priyanka immersed herself in her work – and looked beyond Bollywood. Ask her about the vitriolic things said about her, and she says, “I don’t want to dwell on any of that. I like to tell myself, it’s over. And right now I want to think about the fact that my show opened to a huge premiere. I’m delighted with the support people in the audience and the Hindi film industry have given me.”

The downside of interviewing Priyanka Chopra is that she (like so many in Bollywood) tends to talk in platitudes. Working on the show has “been a wonderful experience”; ABC is the “frontrunner when it comes to doing different kinds of shows”; the Quantico cast is “a very fun group of people”. But there is some wisdom hidden in the clichéd responses.

Anjula Acharia-Bath, Priyanka’s overseas manager, has been called “the woman behind the woman” because she hasn’t been an ordinary manager. In 2010, Bath co-founded Desi Hits Universal, a venture funded by the Universal Music Group to find and promote South Asian talent. Music composers Salim-Sulaiman had recorded a demo with Priyanka, and sent it to Acharia-Bath. “I loved it,” the manager says. “I had actually seen Priyanka and Abhishek Bachchan in Bluffmaster years before. They did a song called Right Here Right Now. It was a hip-hop spoof – that’s when I first had my eye on her.”

The other thing was her cosmopolitan looks. She doesn’t look typically South Asian. Priyanka admits, “I get a lot of Puerto Rican. I guess with me doing what I’m doing now, people will realise I’m Indian.” She has an international appeal, says Acharia-Bath, adding, “It’s kind of like Saif Ali Khan – he’s got a bi-cultural sensibility that I also think can translate globally.”

Bath is responsible for all of Chopra’s international ventures: her music (her singles, Exotic with rapper Pitbull, In My City featuring The Black Eyed Peas’ – and the song that nobody talks about but is the best of the lot: Erase with the DJ duo The Chainsmokers), her campaign for Guess as the brand ambassador, the 2013 animated Disney film Planes (she lent her voice to Ishani, a pan-Asian racer plane) and Quantico.

It couldn’t have been easy. “Here is an A-list actor, who had the courage and ambition to become a newcomer again in another industry,” says film critic Anupama Chopra.
“The commitment this girl was willing to put in was unprecedented,” says Masand. “Bollywood actors expect to be treated the same way abroad. If you expect the world to lay out a red carpet for you, it’s not going to happen – they don’t even know you!”

There was a time when one had imagined that Aishwarya Rai would take Hollywood by storm. But that somehow didn’t quite happen. Masand cites Shah Rukh Khan as an example. “Years ago – when he was shooting Yes Boss (1997) I think – Shah Rukh told me that he had been offered the villain’s sidekick in a Bond film. I told him, ‘It’s a great way to break into Hollywood’. But he said, ‘Why would I ever want to be a villanous sidekick in a Bond film when I can be a superstar in a Bollywood film?’”

It’s why Freida Pinto is a success story in the West. “She was willing to climb the ladder – perhaps because, as a newcomer, she’d have had to do that in Bollywood as well. The only other person to do that is Priyanka – while she’s still one of the top actresses,” says Masand.

At first, when I ask her about it, Priyanka shrugs off her anonymity. “I’ve known how to be in the public eye since I was 17. It’s just another country I’m doing it in.” she says. You were Miss India then, I point out. “But there was a time when people didn’t know me also, right? And I had to introduce myself to people. It feels exactly like that.” But starting over? She doesn’t admit to feeling disconcerted easily. But finally says, “I’ve worked for 13 years in one of the most prolific film industries in the world and then, to come to a completely new country, without familiarity… It was a little scary.”

In 2012, at a dinner party, Priyanka and her manager Acharia-Bath met Keli Lee, ABC’s head of casting. “We ended up talking a lot,” says Priyanka. “She told me what she’d done, I told her what I’d done. We had a really fun night together. Then Keli came to Mumbai when I was shooting Gunday and spoke to me about this talent deal for ABC like they’d done for Sandra Oh [Grey’s Anatomy] and others.”

Chopra read 26 scripts. “I picked four – ABC has made some phenomenal pilots this year, I’m very excited about them: Wicked City, Family… It was really fun sitting here and reading them. Quantico was my top choice, it was also ABC’s top choice for me. And Josh Safran [the creator] and Mark Gordon [executive producer] wanted me in this show as much.”

So, for the first time in her life, Priyanka auditioned for a role. A story in NYT notes that “Joshua Safran, the show’s creator, wasn’t sure what character Ms Chopra intended to read for when she arrived wearing a designer dress and carrying a designer handbag. ‘She walked in the room, and it was like the molecules shifted in that way that superstars have,’ he recalled. ‘I was very confused because I didn’t know who she was, but we all sat up straighter.’”

Safran was first skeptical because she was too glamorous. “So was Anurag Basu for Barfi!,” says Priyanka. “He came to my house and met me and said he didn’t think I could do Barfi ! because I was too glamorous. And I said, give me five days, let me work with you and after that if we both feel it won’t work out, we won’t do it.”

She is glitzy though – she has all the trappings of a global superstar. She travels with Team PC, her entourage (she told NYT: “When we walk into a room, it’s like Ocean’s Twelve”). Team PC, her manager Acharia-Bath tells me, is her core management team in America. “It started with Dana Supnick [PR], Natasha Pal [who handles her digital strategy] and myself. We always see Jimmy Iovine [the international music honcho] as part of our team because he’s been a mentor and biggest supporter from day one.” Then there are the agents, the business manager, some friends and the legal teams.

The American Vogue, last month, ran a piece titled Riding the Subway With Bollywood Superstar Priyanka Chopra: “Chopra still enjoys the benefits of relative anonymity in New York City, but when we boarded the train, people stared anyway. Perhaps because she was accompanied by an entourage of six or so people, including one very large bodyguard. Perhaps because the 33-year-old’s striking beauty literally turns heads. Or maybe something about her presence just screams movie star.” The story quoted her saying, “My team always says that once you travel with me, you don’t want to travel by yourself anymore.”


Days after her appearance at the 88th Academy Awards in Los ­Angeles, Priyanka Chopra is ­excited about the release of her latest Bollywood film, Jai Gangaajal (Hail the Holy Waters).

The 34-year-old star’s appearance at the Oscars – where she and actor Liev Schreiber presented the award for Best Film Editing – was the latest sign of her rising status in Hollywood.

Last year, she became the first Indian actress to headline an American TV series, crime thriller Quantico, in which she stars as a trainee FBI agent accused of a terror attack. It has already been renewed for a second season and Chopra has also landed the role of the villain in a big-screen reboot of 1990s TV show Baywatch, alongside Furious 7 star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

Chopra has also been keeping busy in Bollywood. She starred in the recent hit Bajirao Mastani, and will next be seen in Jai Gangaajal, written and directed by Prakash Jha, as a tough-as-nails police officer who takes on a powerful politician.

We caught up with her the night before the Oscars to talk about her rising profile in Hollywood and Bollywood.

Do you think having you present an award helps to bring more diversity to the Oscars?
I definitely think it is a start. It is definitely not the end of the debate, though. There is a very long conversation that needs to be had. Diversity is a very important part of entertainment, especially today where entertainment is truly global. Representation at events such as the Oscars should reflect that. This is a step in that direction.

After portraying an FBI agent in Quantico, you play a police officer in Jai Gangaajal. How do the characters compare?
They are two completely different people and characters. The only common ground is that they are both female law-enforcement officers and I play them. The biggest difference is that Abha plays by the rules, whereas Alex creates the rules for herself.

How do you do cope with your increasingly busy schedule in Hollywood and Bollywood?
It is a balancing act. I stay up all odd hours and accommodate two very different time zones. That is my choice. I love Hindi films too much to not do them and I love the fact that I am making a foray into something completely new. As women, our superpower is multitasking – and that is what I am doing.

What was the biggest challenge you faced while making Jai Gangaajal?
Abha is a strong woman, born and raised in (the northern Indian state of) Uttar Pradesh. She has a lot of respect for the system. Prakash and I spent 12 to15 hours talking about Abha’s character before we started shooting. For me, the most interesting challenge was to not make her masculine. Just because a woman is wearing a uniform, or is a cop, doesn’t mean she needs to lose her femininity – and that for me was very important.

Do you think better roles are being written for women now?
I have been blessed with roles and films that have not just been written for me but which have characters that are very multidimensional. It a great time to be an actor in India – and an even better time to be a female actor.

What is it like seeing yourself on screen beating up men?
I didn’t think of it like that at all. As a law-enforcement agent, Abha goes after criminals, regardless of gender. Personally, I am from the land of (Mahatma) Gandhi and I believe in non-­violence. I don’t like guns.

• Jai Gangaajal is in cinemas on Thursday, March 3


He has made a name for himself as someone associated with entertainers that reflect Indian society and its political structure. Thirteen years after “Gangaajal,” Prakash Jha’s hard-hitting story on the relationship between cops and the public, he is out with “Jai Gangaajal,” which examines the same subject in current society and has a female protagonist.

We chat up with the filmmaker at his office in Andheri.

Excerpts from the interview:

Q: Of all the people in the film industry, why did you choose Priyanka Chopra?
A: We were talking about working together for over 5 years. She would say, “Karo, karo, Kareena, Katrina, Deepika ke saath kaam karo. Hum to kuchh bhi nahin hai (Go ahead work with all of them; I am no one at all)!” (Smiles) But that’s how she is! And what a great actor she is. When I signed Priyanka, she was already a big star. In these six months, she has grown so big. Her grasp of her character was very quick. I remember discussing her role for hours with her, and all she said on the first day of the shoot was that she had so many questions. I had planned on half a day of shoot, and I cancelled it to discuss the script and role for some more hours. From the next day on, she just sailed into the shoot as if she was born to play Abha Mathur, her character!

Read the full interview with Prakash here.