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Priyanka Chopra has been literally living out of the suitcase. The exotic babe has been juggling between the shoot and promotions of Quantico and Bajirao Mastani apart from the shoot of Jai Gangaajaal. As the pretty lady flew down to the country just for few hours, we caught hold of her for a quick chat on Bajirao Mastani, Quantico, her LA boyfriend, Don 3 and more! Read on…

You had just one song in Ram Leela and you wanted to work with Sanjay Leela Bhansali. How was it working with him?
Then I did Mary Kom with him. He might not have directed the film but he was very involved with the movie. Literally, every single day I was in his office. This is when he came to me with Bajirao Mastani, before it was even cast. That time they were still figuring out who Bajirao and Mastani are going to be. I remember, my picture would be there and others would keep changing because for 4-5 months this kept on happening. It was really funny so I used to keep on asking him ‘take out Kashi, suppose I was also an option and I wasn’t doing the film so who would have been the option, I want to know’. But I never got an answer to that. I’m a huge Sanjay Leela Bhansali fan, always. I did the song in Ram-Leela because of that, Mary Kom I did because I’m selfish, but even this film (Bajirao Mastani), I blindly went into it. He asked me first when I was shooting Mary Kom in Manali, he and Prakash bhai (Prakash Kapadi, writer) came to narrate the film to me and I was just greedy to work with him. I think his vision is something that if you do a Sanjay Leela Bhansali character right, it will go down in your legacy. If you don’t do it well, it will be very bad.

You’re playing a Marathi Mulgi for the third time…
This is very different because it’s a 500 year old dialect and 500 year old character. Nobody has seen her picture, you don’t know who, how and what she was. People talk about Bajirao-Mastani’s love story. For me the biggest reason for playing Kashi was to play a character history has never spoken about. I’ve never played such a soft and vulnerable character. See Gangajaal, Quantico, I play very tough characters. When I do a Jhilmil (Barfi!) or when I do a Kashi, it’s very hard for me to play a girl who can’t protect herself because I’m a modern girl of today, I can beat up people, but that’s the challenge for me to convince you to watch and your heart hearts for her. She is a wonderful sweet character.

Deepika Padukone and you are great friends and in the film you two have a conflict, how difficult was that?
I think it was more difficult for Sanjay sir because he used to get very irritated that we used to walk in together. We’ve always got along somehow. Actors are so busy that you don’t end up becoming best friend. I get along with most of my female co-actors. I don’t think I have issues with any of them because I’m supremely content in my career. My career is never dependent on other people. I’ve always tried to outdo my own work which is a bigger issue. Maybe if my career wasn’t doing well, then I would have been insecure. I’ve consistently had an extremely warm welcome from people who watch my work. So it’s been easy for me to be friends with most people. Deepika and I get along really well, we have fun together whenever we meet so Sanjay sir used to hate it. We had only one song and two scenes together because they (Kashi and Mastani) never really come together. Even through history, I don’t think they ever really came together, but yet their stories were intertwined.

You’re a self made woman and it must have been tough for you.
Life is only difficult. I think it’s only tough when you say it’s tough and you make it tough. Grace under fire is the true strength of a woman. So no, it wasn’t tough.

Ranveer Singh told at the event…
(interrupts) That I cried and wanted to quit the film. Rubbish, he talks anything.

How was it shooting ‘Pinga’ with Deepika?
It was such a difficult song that was difficult, not together. In fact that was easier. I couldn’t have asked for a better person to do this song with because we encouraged each other, we rehearsed together; we took care of each other. Our legs were bruised because sir (Sanjay) does long shots like you do an entire antra an entire mukhda together.

What was the best compliment you’ve got for Quatico till now?
It was actually really funny, ‘She’s Indian?’ that was the best compliment. Not Indians obviously, people who didn’t know. The fact that people questioned if I was Indian was the greatest compliment. People don’t expect Indian people to look and do such roles. We’re always the computer geek or the doctor. I’ve still made Alex first in class, teacher’s pet- it is in our blood to come first.

Have Alex Parrish’s (Priyanka’s Quantico character) colleagues seen the promos and ‘Pinga’?
Of course, they’ve seen the promos and the songs and they think that Hindi films are this. Then I’ve to explain that this is a period film. This is like our Game Of Thrones, that’s how I explain it. They ask, ‘people don’t dress like this?’ and go like ‘nooo’.

There were reports that the way Marathi folk culture is portrayed in ‘Pinga’ is incorrect.
Pinga’ is a folk dance and not lavani. Actually one maushi came and taught the ‘Pinga’ step to us. It was Sanjay sir’s maushi and she is the inspiration behind the step. According to me it is very authentic.

But people are saying that the females of the royal family don’t dance like this.
Whatever you see in this or any other film, it is dramatised. You see Mary Kom and Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, those things don’t really happen. You make biopics and there is a dramatization that happened. Bajirao Mastani is based on the book ‘Rau’ and Prakash bhai said it very clearly. Go and ask that author why they didn’t do their homework. Eventually it’s a Hindi film, a Sanjay Leela Bhansali movie, go watch it for that. Nobody is out there to insult anyone. This is a love story that was forbidden and this is being told. I think this is amazing.

Do you see yourself as a triple threat in Bollywood?
No, I’m a triple threat anywhere. I’m just a triple threat period. It has nothing to do with Hollywood or Bollywood. Take me to Australia, Canada everywhere I’ll be a threat.

As an artist you’ve always stood by the fact that creativity has its own space. How do you see the entire intolerance issue as an artist?
First of all I don’t think intolerance is about me as an artist or you as a journalist or anybody else but I think as a world. Look at what is happening all around. Look at the wars happening around. I am going to name Paris, Syria, Lebanon, Mumbai and everything. Just for one second sit down and look around the world we are living in, isn’t everything intolerant? Are we not the globe? Are we not saying that this person is wrong because his religion is wrong, or this person is wrong because he is going to a concert? What is happening? It’s not a country or a particular type of people. We as a people as human beings just have to sit down and think for one second. So don’t go out on social media and use your anonymity and blast out at people because you can. Sit down in your homes and think about your opinion. Our forefathers fought for democracy in the country, they fought years and years of British Raj so that we could have a democracy, we could have freedom of speech, language and opinion and so did so many other countries. Even in America right now in an interview somebody said that, women of color are doing really well, with coming in. I said, I don’t want to be called a woman of color, I am a woman. If you want to divide me, say man and woman,we look different what is brown, black, blue, yellow… what is wrong with us? I’m not a woman of colour and I don’t want to be seen as that. I am not even going to comment on one particular thing right now because, to me, I am travelling the world right now and I am seeing it everywhere and not just in India.

How different was it working in a foreign setup?
The difference for me was television and feature. Like in films, we do one scenes for two days, it is relaxed. My friends didn’t tell me that in television, we’ve to do ten scenes in a day. Who does that? I have so many television producer friends and I fired them all saying, ‘couldn’t you all tell me about that television is like this?’ I’ve never done TV, so that was the only big difference for me. Otherwise it’s only the language, they speak only English, actually French now because we’re soothing in Montreal, and we speak in Hindi. I think Indian cinema is so caught up to the world; the way we make films, run our sets, I don’t see much of a difference. I’m such a professional and I can deal with everything that is thrown at me because I’ve got the best training ground in the most prolific film industry in the world.

You’ve done a sports film like Mary Kom
I will never do a sports film again. I salute sports people. They sacrifice a lot. I am an actress and I don’t have that much courage. After doing that film, I’ve new found respect for sports people.

After Mary Kom and Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, a lot of sports films are being made like Brother, Sultan, Dangal. What do you have to say about this trend?
I think you all only look for trends. Try to look for out of the box na. Now it is the trend of biopics, item numbers, intolerance and all. Leave all that. Look outside, what the news is, what are people doing. Trends are boring, don’t follow them.

Now that you’ve started working abroad also, what opinions have they formed about India look at you?
That you will have to ask him but I hope I’m a good representation. As you all know, I’m very opinionated. I do not stay quiet and say whatever I have to. Most people get shocked that I’m Indian. Most people get very shocked by the way I speak English. I think it’s about educating people. Everyone says that the world is so ignorant about anywhere else in the world. That’s because they’ve not been educated. I am someone who likes to think about peace rather than negative things; I’m a glass is half full kind of a person. If somebody said that there are snake charmers in your country, I will educate them saying that they are there but we use it for entertainment. People ask me those questions that ‘India is known for its rapes’. I get asked that in every interview. It’s so difficult to defend it.

What is the most bizarre question you’ve been asked there?
‘India is known for its rape’- that is the most bizarre question. Can you imagine, standing there and defending that. It is very difficult, but it is about educating the world. It is about educating the fact that the light has come upon this and yes, it is an awful thing, but it is happening to women around the world and why are we not talking about that? Just because three people have come and talked about my country, come and attack it. I will give you five other countries but it is not about that. Why are we making the fight about where rapes are more and where rapes are less, we should fight about the fact that there are rapes. Let’s get our perspectives right a little bit.

There were rumours about you dating a guy from US.
I think it’s very entertaining and I’ve been waiting for someone to ask me this. You all have become too boring, at least somebody should link me with someone. Great, LA he is supposed to be from na? Last four months, I’ve not left Montreal. And it was also reported that he is some media shy guy. I will never meet such a person who is media shy. Please know that if I’m ever with someone, I’ll be with a showman- my dad was one and I think, whoever I’ll be with.

Do we get to see you in Quantico Season 2?
I hope so. For now, we are one of the most successful shows. Everyone is saying that it looks like we’ll get a season 2. If we do, it’ll be great.

Will your choice of films depend on Quantico Season 2?
I am under contract with this show, so not my choice, but how many I’ll get to do, yes.

Have you got Hollywood offers?
Yes I have but nothing up to my standards.

Have you been approached for Don 3?
Don 3 is not being made guys, not yet. The consideration for Don 3 has happened every year, all the time by you people only and by the fans who want to see the film but it’s not happening right now and I’m sure when it does, they’ll make an announcement. Trust me, it’s not. Can I once and for all say this.

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Is love going to continue to be in the air on “Quantico” this season? We’ve certainly seen elements of it here and there with Alex and Ryan, but to say that there are complications would be an understatement. While at Quantico, the two made their feelings for each other abundantly clear. However, the fact that he is not actually an NAT makes things complicated, as does the fact that he is now getting set to go on a lengthy undercover mission with his ex Hannah (Eliza Coupe), a woman who is in many ways the agent that Alex wishes she could be.

So how is she going to handle all of these new dynamics? Speaking about the relationship and the future to TV Guide, star Priyanka Chopra had the following to say:

“They’re together, but they can’t be together. They have this whole thing all the time where they come that close to being together and get torn apart. I don’t think Ryan is going to leave Alex’s mind any time soon, that’s for sure. Ryan and Hannah work tremendously together even if they’re not together romantically. I think it’s hard for Alex to see that and understand that, and I think there’s this fear in her that [Ryan and Hannah] might get back together.”

While we are invested in the relationship, we would also be fine if “Quantico” focused a little more on the training and the flash-forward mystery more so than the romance in the near future. Granted, we’re not sure that will happen given that Alex looked for some sort of comfort in Liam after Hannah told her not to break Ryan’s heart.

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For all the Alex and Ryan shippers out there, this is for you. HollywoodLife.com spoke EXCLUSIVELY to Priyanka Chopra, 33, all about Quantico, and she thinks Alex and Ryan are a perfect match. Plus, you won’t believe what she said about the Dec. 13 winter finale!

“There is something epic about them,” Priyanka said about Alex and Ryan. “I think they are going to be those star-crossed lovers. There is something really good about them. I think they’re good for each other, and they look good together, too.”

Cue the massive screaming! The chemistry between Alex and Ryan is INSANE! There is clearly something big between them, but so many things (ahem, secrets) keep getting in their way. But as all star-crossed lovers do, they always seem to find their way back to each other.

Quantico has been building up to one epic midseason finale, and Priyanka admitted that major questions will be answered, including who planted the bomb at Grand Central.

“We’ve been saying for a few episodes now leading up to the finale that someone from Alex’s class is going to be revealed as the terrorist,” Priyanka told us. “Now the question is: Did they work alone? Was there someone else in our class who worked with them? Were they lying? How deep is this? Because it’s a huge terrorist act and Alex has been saying for the past few episodes that there was a second bomb. No one is believing her and that also is sort of answered. It’s a really great winter finale. It has all the fun stuff of the holidays but at the same time, a lot of questions are answered.”

Well, the midseason finale leads to the second half of the season, which will air in 2016. I’ll just leave you with what Priyanka told me: “The second half of the season — we just started shooting — is going blow your mind.”

HollywoodLifers, do you think Alex and Ryan belong together? Who do you think the terrorist is on Quantico? Let us know!

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The freshman season of ABC’s Quantico has been so rife with twists, flash-forwards and reveals, that it can sometimes be hard to see where the story is going next. Between that massive terrorist explosion, which has kept the story on its toes since Day 1, and last week’s episode, in which it became apparent how far Alex (Priyanka Chopra) is willing to go in order to clear her name, the stakes have never been higher.

One thing is for sure though: Heading into Sunday’s midseason finale, “Inside,” the real terrorist will finally be revealed after 11 episodes of crazy speculation. Given that Alex has been the scapegoat all season long, THR turned to leading lady Chopra to get her take on who she believes the terrorist could be.

“I didn’t know at all, I found out much later than everybody else actually because I wanted it that way. We all had our guesses — mine was wrong,” she says. “The audience finds out through Alex’s eyes and I wanted to discover it as Alex finds out.”

Here, Chopra breaks down her list of suspects.

Ryan Booth (Jake McLaughlin)

“I don’t think Alex would have fallen in love with a guy who didn’t have integrity and wasn’t honest. But he is a special agent who has gone undercover in the past. He’s incredibly knowledgeable and always has an edge. Plus he has military training and he’s done he’s been deployed a bunch of times, which gives you knowledge of procedure and it helps you manipulate the system.”

Shelby Wyatt (Johanna Braddy)

“Shelby has been in Alex’s corner; she was apprehensive before but she stood by her and put her job and life on the line to help Alex prove her innocence. Then again she’s an incredible sniper and has had secret ties, lots of money. Things that make people shady.”

Simon Asher (Tate Ellington)

“Simon and Alex have a brother-sister like relationship, they always have each other’s backs. At the same time there’s just there’s something so secretive and shady about Simon. He doesn’t talk about everything and she doesn’t know everything.”

Caleb Haas (Graham Rogers)

“Shelby once said, ‘I would be petrified to live in a world where Caleb Haas was a terrorist.’ I’ll go with that!”

Nimah Amin (Yasmine Al Massri)

“Nimah and Alex are really close, even though Nimah is competitive, ambitious and wants to be the best and wants to kick ass. At the same time she says what she feels, she’s like straight up honest and bad ass. That’s the difference between the twins. It’s something to think about.”

Raina Amin (Yasmine Al Massri)

“She’s softer and a little naive. She believes in the goodness of people but she’s also very conservative in her thoughts and beliefs.”

Natalie Vasquez (Anabelle Acosta)

“She’s Alex’s nemeses, so there’s a lot of drama in that relationship. But she’s also a cop. Natalie has so much going on that I don’t know if she has the head space to mastermind this kind of terrorist act. It takes someone with a lot more against the world. Which she could have, because the system keeps her away form her daughter or whatever.”

Elias Harper (Rick Cosnett)

“He has that famous Elias Harper charm. Then again he saved himself over his fellow classmates and colleagues during that bomb exercise.”

Brandon Fletcher (Jacob Artist)

“He’s someone who follows the rules but at the same time believes in the fact that if you’re in the FBI you sort of sell your life and soul to law enforcement. And if you’re not willing to risk your life then why are you even here? He’s someone who comes from that kind of a belief. But he’s very straightforward and will do whatever it takes to make sure the job is done … ”

Who do you think the terrorist is? Sound off in the comments below. Quantico‘s midsesaon finale airs Sunday at 10 p.m. on ABC. Stay tuned to THR‘s The Live Feed for full coverage, including an interview with showrunner Josh Safran and more.

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As the pilot episode for ABC’s counter terrorism drama Quantico begins, one of the biggest stars in Bollywood is lying in the ruins of a bomb blast.

It’s Priyanka Chopra, and she’s playing Alex Parrish, an FBI trainee falsely accused of setting off the explosion. She’s also making history as the first South Asian woman to play the lead in a network TV drama.

“The bomber knew exactly what they were doing,” Chopra says as Parrish in a later episode. “They framed the brown girl.”

But the story of how Chopra was able to make network television history starts with Anjula Acharia-Bath. She’s a venture capitalist who built a business on the side melding South Asian and U.S. pop culture.

And by bringing one of east Indian cinema’s biggest stars to American TV, Acharia-Bath had one goal.

“I wanted to change the world with this,” she says. “I wanted people to see my people in a way that represented me.”

Acharia-Bath’s drive to shatter stereotypes began in childhood. Raised the daughter of east Indian immigrants in a London suburb, she discovered an awful thing happened every time British TV showed stereotypical east Indian characters.

“I grew up in a very racist neighborhood in England, there was zero diversity…we were the only South Asian family for miles,” she said. “Literally, if there was something on TV one night, the next day…kids would poke fun at me and they would (say), ‘I saw your people on TV, this is what you do, this is how you are’…If there was something on TV, the next day I wouldn’t want to go to school. I would pretend to be sick.”

That experience stuck with her. So many years later, Acharia-Bath developed a sideline company mashing up South Asian and U.S. pop culture, called DesiHits.

Working with Interscope Records co-founder Jimmy Iovine, she signed Priyanka Chopra to a record deal. They put the Bollywood star together with Miami rapper Pitbull for the single Exotic, which had lyrics in Hindi.

“That was big risk,” Acharia-Bath says. “The whole hook was in Hindi…We knew it would probably get rejected at radio…but we did it because we thought it was cool and we loved the song.”

Then came some good luck. Acharia-Bath met ABC executive Keli Lee at a dinner party. Lee had already pushed ABC to feature more diversity in its casts, so she worked up a plan with Acharia-Bath to bring Chopra to American TV.

But Chopra and Acharia-Bath insisted any TV role avoid stereotypes.

“When they would ask her to come back for a reading or say ‘Can you play up your accent?’ we’d say, ‘No,'” Acharia-Bath says. “‘We can’t. We don’t want to sound like Apu from The Simpsons.'”

Joshua Safran is creator of Quantico. He says when Chopra auditioned, he had no idea she had made nearly 50 movies – Bollywood’s equivalent to Angelina Jolie.

“When she walked in, it really was about her performance and not about her ethnicity or the fact that she would be the first (South Asian network TV drama star),” he says. “In fact, it didn’t even occur to me that she would be the first until much later.”

Chopra told the program Showbiz India that the role wasn’t originally written for an Indian woman. They tweaked the character to make Parrish half Indian after Chopra was cast.

“When I got the part, we had a whole debate about whether we should change her name make her more Indian,” Chopra said. “I didn’t want to change the character. I wanted to be able to act like Alex.”

Some people may say such moves may “whitewash” the character and keep Alex Parrish from being culturally authentic (the show also notes Parrish spent 10 years living in Mumbai). But Acharia-Bath says the character is as authentically Indian as she is.

“There are some great shows that are very culturally specific…but we really wanted a role anyone could play,” she adds. “It wasn’t about her race or color. Any woman could relate to her.”

Quantico has been picked up for a full season by ABC and earns solid ratings, leading up to its winter finale Sunday. Acharia-Bath says the show’s success proves network TV has only begun to tap the potential of non-white stars.

“South Asians make up one fifth of the world’s population,” she adds. “These shows play in the U.K., Canada, India, the Middle East…diversity pays. That’s the bottom line.”

No one knows that better than Acharia-Bath, a venture capitalist who says doing the right thing can also be the profitable thing.

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