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Do you have anything Ryan-Alex related for Quantico? — Henrietta
Set aside the recent introduction of Ryan’s ex-wife, because that’s not what’s standing in their way. “The problem actually is not even Hannah, it’s what happens with Ryan and Alex after everything they’ve been through,” Priyanka Chopra tells me. “How do they get through? They love each other, but they can’t be together, because Alex is her own destruction. She’s so dark that anything good for her she runs away from. She’s so afraid of being hurt that she hurts herself [rather] than to have someone else betray her. That’s going to be her [down]fall.”


She is so my alter ego. She’s an amazing character. She’s cool and she totally has it together when she’s unravelling. She’s badass and flawed, yet extremely confident.
This is how Priyanka Chopra has described FBI recruit Alex Parrish, her well-received character in the ABC series Quantico. The first season of the show premiered in the last week of September and instantly turned her into a household name in the US.

Indeed, the Bollywood diva stamped herself so efficiently on the role that she went on to win the People’s Choice Award for ‘favourite actress in a new television show’. The fact that she was competing with the likes of Jamie Lee Curtis and Emma Roberts made the win doubly sweet. Fans are now looking forward to the second season of Quantico.

The leap from Bollywood to Montreal, where Quantico was shot, was no sweat for Priyanka. The series has her in the role of a rookie FBI agent (the character is of Latin American origin), who is suspected of involvement in a terrorist plot. Alex goes into hiding in order to clear her name by exposing those that are out to smear her reputation.

Quantico isn’t Priyanka’s first action role — apart from the two instalments of Farhan Akhtar’s Don, she is in the upcoming cop drama Jai Gangaajal — but it certainly gives her the opportunity to woo a new global constituency. Transitions come easy to the Jamshedpur-born Bareilly girl, who grew up in numerous cantonment towns that her Army doctor-dad was stationed in.

The nomadic existence, which included a four-year stint in an American high school, seems to have not only trained her to take every new move in her stride, but has endowed her with incredible high energy levels.

Thirteen years into her Bollywood career, Priyanka has established herself as a versatile performer. She has been just about everything on the big screen: a supermodel in Fashion, a boxer in Mary Kom, a pushy businesswoman in Aitraaz, a feisty seductress in Gunday, and even an autistic girl in Barfi! and a Maratha warrior’s wife in Bajirao Mastani.

“I go wherever my work takes me,” the 33-year-old has been quoted as saying in an interview, “To me, it’s an extension of me as an artiste. I’m an entertainer. You can take me anywhere and I’ll entertain.”

American showbiz is just another stop for the busy actress, who now also has a thriving musical career.

In a span of a year and bit, Priyanka has gone from playing a real-life pugilist in Mary Kom to getting into the garb of Kashibai, Peshwa Bajirao’s first wife, in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s grandiose Bajirao Mastani. And coming up ahead is Prakash Jha’s Jai Gangaajal, in which she gets into action mode as an upright cop who takes on the underworld. This follow-up to the 2003 Ajay Devgn-starrer will see the actress kick ass in a way that Bollywood heroines rarely do. The industry grapevine also has it that Priyanka is slated to play a superwoman in Abhinay Deo’s next production once the director is done with the sequel to Force.

Is Priyanka consciously working towards becoming a full-fledged female action star? Quantico has catapulted her into a league of one — she is the only Asian actress to ever topline an American television series. The People’s Choice Award — here too, she is the first Indian to get her hands around the trophy — is only the icing on the cake, and a shot in the arm.

Priyanka was only a teenager when she won the Miss World title in 2000. The international exposure that the win gave her prepared her for the challenges ahead, besides helping her land a lead role in the Tamil film, Tamizhan (2002).

Her first Hindi film The Hero — Love Story of a Spy starring Sunny Deol as an Army man fighting terrorism — had her playing second fiddle to Preity Zinta. But soon enough, she began making her presence felt in the Hindi cinema. It was 2004’s Aitraaz, produced by Subhash Ghai and directed by Abbas-Mustan, which demonstrated Priyanka’s potential as an actress for the first time. By 2006, she found herself among Bollywood’s top actresses, having done films like Krrish with Hrithik Roshan and Don with Shah Rukh Khan. However, she ran into a rough patch, delivering six flops in a row, including embarrassing bombs like Love Story 2050 and Drona.
But just when detractors began to write her off, Priyanka bounced back in 2008 with Madhur Bhandarkar’s Fashion. Essaying the role of a small-town girl, who takes a plunge into the world of glitz and glamour in Mumbai and emerges as a supermodel despite many hindrances in her way, she won a Best Actress National Award.
Since that dramatic turning point, Priyanka hasn’t looked back. Films like Kaminey (2009), 7 Khoon Maaf (2011), Barfi (2012) and Mary Kom (2014) have placed her career on a firm footing.

Quantico has enabled her to pull ahead of her rivals. Having made a strong impression in the series, she is now on the verge of more such breakthroughs, not just for herself but also for other Indian movie actresses of her generation.


The voice on the phone is of a woman charged with the warmth of success; its tempo rides on passion and pluck. “I want to leave behind a legacy. I believe in working very hard,” she says. “I want to be bloody good at every opportunity life offers me. Failure is not an option.” These sentences pop up at different moments in the conversation, but when stacked up in retrospect, they reveal the steel that defines Bollywood actor Priyanka Chopra’s current, fulsome phase as a “global celebrity”.

It is midnight in India and mid-morning for Quantico’s FBI recruit Alex Parrish, shooting in Montreal, Canada, for the remaining episodes of the ABC TV series that will go on air in March. Just a fortnight ago, the role won her The People’s Choice Award for best actress in a new TV series in the US. She accepted the award laughing and blushing, one hand on her mouth, a blink-and-you-will-miss-it Miss World flurry followed by an I-am-the-global-superstar-from-India radiance. For the 33-year-old Hindi film star, it vindicated her career leap: from film to TV, from India to the US, from the routine conquests of a Hindi film star to risking her roots for a culturally different professional milieu. Born in Jamshedpur, stirred in Bareilly, minted in Mumbai, firing guns in Montreal, accepting a trophy in Los Angeles dressed in a Vera Wang silver and gold sequin dress, nude nails and silver stilettos.

“An award is an award, it is my encouragement as an artiste, but I am excited that I got the People’s Choice Award in another country and it is the people who actually consume my show who voted for me,” says Chopra. Her emphasis on “hard work” returns, this time more reflective. “As a child I had an acute fear of failure. Call it that or an addiction to hard work,” she says, adding that she works all the time, giving everything of herself in every assignment.

Quantico is Chopra’s current gig. But Miss India-World 2000, PC, Piggy Chops, “Daddy’s li’l girl” (as a tattoo on her wrist reads), the singer who recorded an album with American rapper Pitbull, star boxer M.C. Mary Kom’s cinematic avatar, cover girl for the current edition of Elle, US, who just last week picked up the best supporting actress trophy at the Filmfare Awards for her role as Kashibai in Bajirao Mastani, has her plate full. Breakfast, therefore, must wait.

“After her win, I escorted her to Bareilly, where a homecoming had been organized by the people. Uttar Pradesh had banned beauty pageants and we had been flown on a special flight,” says Saran, recalling how consummately Chopra spoke to the people of Bareilly. Saran adds that she was disappointed when Chopra joined films.

Cracking the Hollywood code, especially if you’re an outsider, needs skilful strategy. Chopra, however, disagrees that her success is all about calculated planning. “I am a creative person. Creativity never has one language. The only way for a human being to evolve is by being creatively free,” she says, adding that she does not have an end game in mind or a big plan ticking away. “But yes, I want to leave behind a legacy.”

This refrain on building a legacy is in itself an instance of goal-oriented celebrity management. “I have never seen Priyanka as a talent I just ‘manage’, I have always seen her as a strategic partner,” says Chopra’s international manager Anjula Acharia-Bath, an expert on diversity in global popular cultures and a partner at Trinity Ventures, a venture capital firm, on email. Acharia-Bath, who co-founded the media company Desi Hits! (it folded up in 2014) and featured on Billboard’s “International Power Players” 2014 list, says she was stunned by the actor’s business acumen and creative drivewhen she first came to India to share her vision with Chopra on making her an international star.

Eventually, the two signed a deal in 2010 and Acharia-Bath got Chopra numerous high-profile assignments: The US’ National Football League (NFL), clothing brand Guess, Disney, the audio company Beats By Dre. She also introduced her to Keli Lee, executive vice-president, talent and casting, Disney ABC TV Group. In an interview last year, Lee told Mint that “we (she and Acharia-Bath) wanted to get the first Bollywood star on to TV screens in America and around the world.” She spoke of Chopra as “a certified breakout star”.

After a series of negotiations between Chopra, Lee, Acharia-Bath, legal and other clearances that took more than a year, through time zone and work culture differences, Chopra signed Quantico. Lee had reportedly sent her 25 pilot scripts. The role of FBI’s Alex Parrish’s appealed most to the actor.

“Priyanka is much like Lady Gaga, brilliantly educated, savvy and innovative and definitely my partner in crime,” says Acharia-Bath. She is of the firm opinion that Chopra understands and appreciates American pop culture.
“Brilliantly educated” is an unusual compliment for a star who never completed her college education. “After high school in the US and a brief stint in a Mumbai college, Miss India-World happened and her life took over,” says the Mumbai-based Natasha Pal. She has worked with Chopra for 10 years in various capacities; from managing her public relations to enhancing the digital strategy of Brand PC.

Digital savviness is a pet theme for Chopra. “I am a tech freak,” she says. “I love gadgets. Technology is a very important part of my life. That’s why I wanted to become an engineer, to find out how things work. The best gifts to give me are not shoes and bags but gadgets.” When a new gizmo appears on the market, Chopra has to have it: She currently has six Apple Watches, a 360 Camera, multiple iPads and a new iPad Pro, vinyl players on which she listens to Jimi Hendrix and David Guetta, and a few IO Hawks skateboards. “I glide around the river on an IO Hawk,” she says.

Celebrity careers that become profile-worthy are usually a volatile mix of glamour, inventiveness and talent. They must also be money-spinning machines. As American writer Truman Capote wrote in his profile of Marlon Brando for The New Yorker way back in 1957, “Defined practically, a movie star is any performer who can account for a box-office profit regardless of the quality of the enterprise in which he appears.” A recent report in The Economic Times cited an estimation by Duff & Phelps, a global valuation and corporate finance advisory firm, that placed Chopra’s fee at Rs.4-7 crore per endorsement, making her one of the highest-paid Bollywood female actors of 2015. Chopra’s team refuses to divulge her professional fees for films or endorsements.

Her celebrity worth must then be deduced from her multidimensional persona that makes her brand a bouquet of collaborative possibilities. She can model, sing, endorse high-end as well as mass products—from Guess in the US to Dabur Amla Hair Oil in India, and act as a Unicef goodwill ambassador to work in adolescent health. Her debut single album, In My City, featuring American rapper, won three nominations at the World Music Awards in 2012. Just last week, Purple Pebble Pictures, her production firm, announced regional film initiatives in Bhojpuri, Marathi and Punjabi as well as ventures in Hindi cinema, TV, new-age digital content and ad films.

Chopra’s star presence is also fuelled by her style, which has finally moved into a definitive groove. She was Salvatore Ferragamo’s first choice among Indian film stars to be honoured with a bespoke, gem-studded Ferragamo shoe in 2009, but she never really staked her claim as a fashion icon. The magazine Grazia India’s fashion director Ekta Rajani, who has styled Chopra for numerous magazine covers and appearances, says: “Priyanka’s game has grown. She is now peaking with her sense of style.
“Initially there were a lot of hits and misses but her style has evolved to be hip, urban and slightly edgy, with a rock ‘n’ roll influence,” says Rajani. Think leather-trimmed hugging jackets, cleavage-revealing goth dresses, form-fitting silhouettes, pointy pumps, pouty lips, bangs, slick ponytails, and black eye make-up with heavy lashes. “She owns her sexuality, there is a music vibe to her dressing. She is not girlie, vintage, coy or feminine”.

And while Team Chopra is reluctant to confirm if she has indeed been signed for Baywatch the film, it’s evident that her bikini act in Dostana and its sexier interpretation in her 2013 music video, Exotic, with American rapper Pitbull has added “exotic”—a hot-selling descriptor in the West—to her résumé.

Chopra’s own version of glamour is more pointed. “Being glamorous is being the best version of yourself,” she says. “It’s a mistake when women think adding a lot of jewellery and make-up makes them glamorous.”

Chopra’s current celebrity heft is not the only reason why film directors like her. Director Prakash Jha emphasizes this while discussing Jai Gangaajal, slated for release in early March. “I have a reputation of working with stars who can act. Priyanka has acquired a persona, she can get under the skin of a character, bringing a uniqueness to her roles,” says Jha. Chopra plays Abha Mathur, a police officer, in the film. “I never direct my actors too much, but I talk to them a lot, giving them physical and psychological information on the roles they play,” says Jha, explaining that he worked on the internal challenges and undercurrents of Chopra’s role with her. “Priyanka was a revelation. She understands the economy of acting. She works intuitively on the character formation in her mind, she feels the moment,” he adds.

Even those who are not fans agree that Chopra is a versatile actor. Be it a self-serving, “sexually harassing” rich wife in Aitraaz, the saucy and wicked protagonist in 7 Khoon Maaf, the gritty Manipuri star boxer, other feisty characters in Kaminey and Dil Dhadakne Do or Kashibai in Bajirao Mastani, the characters she played have kept her in the big league. Anurag Basu’s Barfi!, in which she has played Jhilmil, an autistic yet sensitive girl, underlined the fact that she was a bankable star who could act.

“I rely on my team and it’s incredible having their support all these years, but I respond to opportunities instinctively,” says Chopra, on her choice of roles and assignments. “You have to believe a hundred per cent in what you do but instinct can go right or wrong in the end,” she says.
Pal says Chopra’s instinct reflects her “creative pulse”. “Once a decision is taken in her mind, the team steps in to weigh in all the details. Priyanka is a thorough professional and every commitment she makes is treated with the same seriousness to ensure that she can deliver as promised,” she says.

Chopra’s army background (her father, the late Ashok Chopra, was a doctor in the Indian Army), would have contributed to a certain work ethic. Saran adds that “Priyanka kept herself untouched by scandal for the longest time”. The naming of a road leading to her house in Mumbai as Lt Col Ashok Chopra Marg in 2014 raised questions that her celebrity status had influenced the decision. She managed to duck the protests in the print and social media.

Social media is, in fact, Chopra’s ally, and she uses it adroitly. She has 4.8 million followers on Instagram and more than 12.4 million on Twitter. “I am honest. I don’t plan what to say and I don’t bastardize the digital components of social media,” she insists. She tweets avidly and Instagrams bits and pieces of her life—photographs with her co-stars, her mother and brother, making faces, wishing friends, putting her world view out there. Her Instagram feed is curated to have her followers believe that she may be flying high, but that at heart she is a no-nonsense feminist. One quote she posted there reads: “Treat your daughters to worry less about fitting into glass slippers and more about shattering glass ceilings.”
This very Instagram account also reveals a more vulnerable, wistful side. “Her heart was a secret garden and the walls were very high,” she posted once. And at another time, “Sing me no songs of daylight, for the sun is the enemy of lovers, sing instead of shadows and darkness. And memories of midnight”, quoting the Greek poet Sappho.

So what’s “Daddy’s li’l girl” really like? Someone vulnerable needing nurture or someone who becomes a protector herself? “A little bit of both,” she says, taking her “all-is-good” guard off for a moment. Prodded upon her inner life, she admits she doesn’t like silences, and that she loves to be surrounded by “hundreds of friends and family all the time”.

Whether Chopra will be able to script the saga of celebrity strategy into a best-selling memoir will depend to a large extent on how she hones her multiple talents, rather than going with a finger-in-many-pies game plan. “I am not exhausted with any aspect of my life. I love being in front of the camera, before an audience. But yes, between music and acting, I think I am driven more towards acting at the moment,” she concedes.


Filmmaker Prakash Jha is all set to make his acting debut with the upcoming, ‘Jai Gangaajal’. The filmmaker is full of praise for actress Priyanka Chopra whom he has directed in the film, as well as acted alongside.

Speaking to Filmfare, Jha said, “Working with a seasoned actress like Priyanka was enjoyable because she readily accepted me as an actor. She made me feel easy. Sometimes things do get tiring – being behind the camera and in front of it. But I had planned things out in advance.”

Chopra too spoke of her experience acting with the director, saying, “I’d coax him to rehearse his lines. We also bonded because I’m half bihari and half Punjabi. He’s a revelation considering how cultured and well-informed he is. I’ve begun reading Hindi literature because of him.”

‘Jai Gangaajal releases on 4th March 2016.


Priyanka Chopra, 33, is totally our new girl crush. Quantico is a must-see and so are Priyanka’s red carpet beauty looks! Copy her hot hair here!

Celeb hairstylist Castillo used the brand new StriVectin HAIR products that just launched at Sephora.

He told “The StriVectin HAIR Max Volume Root Lifting Spray worked perfectly on the look I did last night on Priyanka Chopra. It helped create major volume and lift around the crown area, without adding any unwanted weight or product build up. I coated the mid-shaft and ends of her beautiful locks with StriVectin HAIR Max Volume Bodifying Radiance Serum to finish the look with shine.”

Her hair was pulled to one side and looked seriously gorgeous.

Her makeup was stunning as well. She rocked a pretty, berry lip that looked flawless against her blue dress.

Her brows were big and bold. As far as her flawless skin, she told us EXCLUSIVELY: “The one thing I definitely do is before I go to bed — no matter how tired — I have to cleanse my face. I have to. It keeps your skin going forever, as long as it can.” She’s right — it’s so important to wash your face at night. Otherwise, dirt, makeup, pollution and bacteria can seep into your pores. Gross!


“It was miserable!” Priyanka Chopra announces in that should-be-trademarked Indian-Anglo–accented husky voice of hers. “It was brutally cold and apparently winter’s not even here yet, but we braved it and did lots of pull-ups and push-ups in the rain.”

The “globalization of popular culture” is a mouthful, and it’s a theme that has doubtless inspired a million high-minded essays. But know that its most perfect real-world manifestation may be ABC’s Quantico, one of three breakout hits on network TV this season (along with Blindspot and Supergirl), which not incidentally features the ravishing 33-year-old Bollywood star Chopra as a driven FBI recruit going through basic training at the bureau’s academy in Quantico, Virginia—and which is filmed, for reasons of network economy, in chilly Montreal. Her character, as we learn in an elaborate nine-month-later flash-forward sequence in the pilot, is also being framed for the inside-job bombing of Grand Central Station. The show is, to be sure, over the top—watch her character, Alex Parrish, kick ass in hand-to-hand combat, and bed the cute guy with whom she shares a dorm bathroom, and elude capture with a bag of high-tech counterintelligence tricks, all in about five minutes’ worth of small-screen jump cuts. But it’s intensely watchable TV thanks to Chopra, who radiates megacharisma (the show’s “strongest human asset,” according to the New York Times) and whose well-toned physique looks as natural doing trainee calisthenics as it does moving through the elegant gyrations of Bollywood’s new eighteenth-century epic drama Bajirao Mastani. “It’s popcorn television,” she breezily says of Quantico. “And I’m a big fan of pop entertainment—I watch Castle! I believe as an actor I can create anything into my own form of art.”

She would know. A veteran of some 50 Indian films—classic song-and-dance fests as well as serious Hindi-language films in which she’s played, among other roles, an autistic woman and a boxer—Chopra first came to the attention of her country via the venerable route of the beauty pageant. At 17, she was Miss India; at 18, Miss World. “That happens in India a lot,” she says. ” ‘[Let’s] launch her as a movie star. Who knows, she might click!’ ”

Over the course of the next 15 years, Chopra, the daughter of two Indian Army physicians, evolved from Miss World to Miss World Domination. She stars in movies with audiences that can be reckoned cumulatively in the billions, watched not only in India but throughout Southeast Asia, the UK, Australia, Germany, and Canada. That economic clout has allowed her to launch her own company, Purple Pebble Productions, and create a foundation that ensures that the children of her 200-plus employees receive health care and an education if their parents can’t afford it. “Hard work can never be denied,” is how she describes her philosophy, with the kicker, “unless you’re, like, a bungling fool.”

All of which is to say that when American television began to assiduously court her two years ago, she was “a little skeptical.” Chopra was one of those fortunate few for whom accepting a lead role on a network TV show would mean a significant pay cut. And to the degree that she had a coherent plan to take on the West, music was supposed to be her beachhead: She signed a deal with Interscope Records that to date has translated into a couple of singles, including a semiautobiographical duet with Pitbull titled “Exotic” (per his rapped lyrics, “Bollywood to Hollywood, it’s all about the money”). Instead, ABC sold her on Quantico, a project she picked from the 26 that the network dangled before her. She dazzled in the pilot, ABC got another diversity feather in its cap (see Black-ish, Dr. Ken, and How to Get Away With Murder), and this Bollywood superstar just bought herself nine months of the year shooting in mostly cold weather. “I do love a challenge,” she says, explaining the logic. “It’s my folly, and it will be my downfall someday.” Consider the notorious 14-hour-a-day shooting schedule common to hour-long dramas as TV’s own form of boot camp. “It’s a beast,” Chopra says. “I did freak out a little bit at first.” (For those first few months, she’d fly back to India on the weekends to finish Bajirao Mastani.)

The pace exacts a price—for instance, in the romantic department. As breathlessly chronicled in the Indian tabloid press, over the years Chopra has been involved with at least two of her costars in India, but she’s currently single. “Why should a woman have to pick between global domination and having the love of her life?” she asks rhetorically, if wistfully. Still, she’s determined to carry an American TV show and maintain a workload back home, shuttling back and forth the way Sophia Loren did between Hollywood and Rome, a comparison that doesn’t displease her. “Exactly,” she says. “It’s about getting on a 16-hour flight, reading a book, and arriving.” Smitten American colleagues can’t help but project. Says Josh Hopkins, late of Cougar Town and now her FBI handler on Quantico, “The other day I was doing a scene with her, and I had this realization that I’m going to be buying tickets to see her in Hollywood movies for years to come. She’s just got it.”

This article originally appeared in the February 2016 issue of ELLE.


Bollywood actor Priyanka Chopra – who has acquired international recognition through American TV series Quantico – has now turned co-producer for a mobi-series entitled It’s My city. The show has been made by celebrity digital network Fluence, in collaboration with video entertainment mobile app nexGTv.

The series is specifically being launched for mobile users and depicts the story of four girls – Manika, Sonali, Tina and Nikki – on a journey of love and lunacy. They live together in a flat in Mumbai and mirror the reality of everyday life in India’s city of dreams. Much like Priyanka once did, the four characters are shown struggling to fulfill their ambitions in the metropolis as the series aims to capture their ups and downs. It’s My City will be a bi-weekly, 14-part series that commences this Friday. New mobi-sodes will be released every Tuesday and Friday.

Priyanka announced the new project via Twitter yesterday and even shared a sneak-peak video. “It’s here! @ItsMyCity_ @PurplePebblePic’s first mobi-series with @nexgtv_mobileTV, on Jan 22. Got newbie producer jitters,” she tweeted. Speaking in her capacity as a mentor and co-producer, Priyanka – who also sang a song called In My City – released a statement regarding the venture. “Digital is the new frontier of content and I’m diving right in,” she said. “It’s a super exciting world which I find myself equally fascinated with and immersed in completely.” Her private production company, Purple Pebble Pictures India, has produced the venture, along with Endemol-Shine India.

An actor, singer and a former Miss World, Priyanka is a jack of all trades. Her success in Quantico and powerful performances in recent Bollywood films like Mary Kom and Bajirao Mastani have cemented her hold over the spotlight. She claimed that the inspiration behind It’s My City is very progressive. “The aim is to go where the young audience has moved towards, to connect with them in a style that they can identify and for me, personally, to engage with them in a whole new way,” said Priyanka.

Captured in a light-hearted manner, the sitcom also offers a unique and real insight into the lives of Indian girls residing away from their families in pursuit of their dreams. Priyanka will appear as herself, assuming the mantle of an official landlady, unofficial guardian and protective friend. “There is a huge parallel that can be drawn to my own reality of a young girl coming to Mumbai to literally make my dreams come true,” she said. “I hope the stories are something the audience will identify with.”

According to Abhesh Verma, chief operating officer of nexGTv, Priyanka was his only choice for the role. “She has challenged and redefined the status quo numerous times over the years. She epitomises the young, Indian woman of today and is therefore, the perfect match,” he said. Rishi Negi of Fluence was all numbers, saying that, “This collaboration will draw audience subscriptions and views for the show and the platform via social media, by engaging Priyanka’s close to 35 million fans and followers in a new and highly compelling way.”


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