“I was never going to choose between the two,” said Priyanka chopra, a Bollywood and Hollywood star, as we tape an episode of Hollywood journalistof Chatter Rewards Podcast.
Chopra, which can currently be seen in Ramin bahraniOscar nominated Netflix movie The white tiger, of which she was also an executive producer, and whose memoir Unfinished is now a bestseller, adds: “My career in India will always be a big part of who I am, it’s my identity but I don’t think they are mutually exclusive.”
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You can listen to the episode here. The article continues below.
Former guests include Steven spielberg, Oprah winfrey, Lorne michaels, Barbra streisand, George clooney, Meryl Streep, Robert De Niro, Jennifer lawrence, Eddie murphy, Gal gadot, Warren beatty, Angelina Jolie, Snoop dogg, Jessica chastain, Stephen colbert, Reese witherspoon, Aaron Sorkin, Margot Robbie, Ryan reynolds, Nicole kidman, Denzel Washington, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Matthew McConaughey, Kate winslet, Jimmy kimmel, Natalie Portman, Chadwick boseman, Jennifer lopez, Elton john, Judi Dench, Quincy Jones, Jane fonda, Tom hanks, Amy schumer, Justin timberlake, Elisabeth moss, RuPaul, Rachel Brosnahan, Jimmy fallon, Kris jenner, Michael moore, Emilia clarke, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Helen mirren, Tyler perry, Sally Field, Spike lee, Lady Gaga, JJ Abrams, Emma Stone, Al Pacino, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Jerry Seinfeld, Dolly parton, Will smith, Kerry Washington, Sacha Baron Cohen, Carol burnett, Norman Lear, Keira knightley, David Letterman, Sophia loren, Hugh jackman, Melissa McCarthy, Chris Evans, Carey mulligan, Seth MacFarlane, Amy adams, Ben affleck, Julia robert, Jake gyllenhaal, Glenn Close, Will ferrell, Cate Blanchett, Sacha Baron Cohen, Greta Gerwig, Conan O’Brien, Jodie Foster and Kevin Hart.
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Born in Jamshedpur to military medics, Chopra was raised all over India before moving to America at the age of 12, without her parents, to live with an aunt. She intended to stay in the United States in college, but encountered “toxic” bullying and racism that led her to return to India at the age of 17. “I kind of broke with America at that point,” she says. “My heart was aching.”
In less than a year, the blossoming beauty was submitted, by her mother and brother, as a candidate for the Miss India beauty pageant. She was accepted and won, catapulting her to the Miss World pageant, which she also won. It was a remarkably fast-paced series of events which meant, as she puts it, “suddenly having to grow up and navigate an industry that isn’t easy.”
Chopra had planned to become an engineer, but was now inundated with offers to appear in Hindi films and quickly became a star, anchoring both blockbusters and prestige productions, including one for which she won the equivalent. Indian Oscar for Best Actress. She also got into singing, which caught her attention from the American music mogul. Jimmy iovine. “Jimmy was a big, big reason and a motivation for me to try and work in the United States,” she says.
Although her musical career in America never really took off, her acting career quickly did. Keli lee ABC’s, seeking to increase its network’s diversity and international appeal, asked Chopra if she was considering working on American television. “The only thing I wanted to be a part of was mainstream pop culture,” says Chopra, “and I didn’t see a lot of people who looked like me being part of mainstream pop culture. So she signed a talent contract that ultimately saw her become the first Indian chief of an American prime-time network show, Quantico, which lasted for three seasons. “I played an Indo-American whose ethnicity was not defined by the series,” she emphasizes. “I was just an FBI agent. For me, it was extremely liberating and exciting.”
Chopra is not yet as big a star in Hollywood as she is in Bollywood, but with The white tiger a film with an all-Indian cast that has become Netflix’s most watched offering, for a while, in 161 countries it is certainly making headway. “I was a big fan of the book,” she said, referring to Aravind AdigaNovel winner of the 2008 Booker Prize on Class Tensions in Modern India. “I absolutely didn’t want this movie to be put in an independent cinema box. It’s a mainstream story, and it deserved that kind of attention, and I really wanted to use my platform to be able to do that.”
Chopra, who married the singer Nick jonas in 2018, rethought his life at this point to Unfinished, but she’s looking forward to doing enough big new things in India and America to possibly warrant another book. “I feel very privileged to be able to straddle the two worlds,” she says. “The only other person I [know of] who had already done that was Sophia loren, and I admire him immensely. “Most importantly,” she adds, “there is a responsibility to represent an audience that consumes this entertainment, and I hope I can do it. “
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