Bollywood’s global icon Priyanka Chopra has definitely made her mark both on the national and international platform with a bevy of films, shows, brand endorsements, commercials to her credit. She has won multiple awards for her performance in Bollywood films as well as for her successful stint on ABC’s hit show Quantico.
The actress was at the Penguin Annual Lecture in New Delhi on 26 December when she spoke about a number of topics ranging from pay disparity, casting couch and sexual harassment in Bollywood to her dreams, upcoming projects etc.
But when asked about her opinions on the outrage that Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavati faced this year, Chopra simply veered away saying, “Why aren’t these questions asked to politicians? What can I do as an actor?”, reports The Print.
That was a rather conflicting move by the actress who strongly spoke about her being fearless and demanded her fans to be feisty as well.
“I am very fierce. People are a little bit scared of me. When I walk into a room, I make sure that no one can… Yes, I have had situations when I have been thrown out of films because someone else was recommended… A girlfriend was recommended after I was signed for a movie. So, that’s an abuse of power… Girlfriend of the hero or girlfriend of the director. I couldn’t do anything about it. I was removed last minute from many such situations because I never catered to the whims and fancies of powerful men. I only cater to my colleagues and friends who give me respect.”
“I was treated in a different way because I commanded that, and it was because I had the strength and support of my family,” said the 35-year-old actress, whose last Bollywood appearance was in Bhansali’s 2015 film Bajirao Mastani.
She further spoke about how her dream has always been about achieving the intangible joy of leaving behind a legacy.
“It’s not about whether I want a car or want so many zeros on my cheque. For me, it has always been bigger than that… There’s a bigger picture,” she said.
So, do those zeroes matter? “Yes. Because I work very hard for them. And I wasn’t born with a silver spoon, though my parents always gave me one. I always worked very hard to be where I am and I think each one of us deserves to be compensated for it,” says Chopra who was recently featured on Forbes’ Top 100 Celebrity List. She was the only woman in the list of Top 10 Indians.
“But it was funny because there are so many people who talk about the kind of numbers that I apparently get for certain minutes of my time,” she said, taking a dig at reports that she charged Rs 5 crore for her five-minute performance at the Zee Cine Awards earlier this month in Mumbai.
“The boys are never asked this question. Their zeroes are ridiculous. Have you even seen the zeroes that they get on their cheques? We should be celebrating that at least there’s one girl who has gone out there.”
Raising a question on gender pay gap, the UNICEF goodwill ambassador said: “I am very proud of myself that I have had the ability to work so hard that I can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with my male counterparts in the top 10 of India, but at the same time, there’s a question — Why is there just one of me when there are so many of them in that industry.”
Chopra looked bright and lovely in a shocking pink jumpsuit, delivered a motivational lecture at the Siri Fort Auditorium, which had full attendance. She received a standing ovation for being what she called her “witty and sassy” style of interacting with people.
During her lecture, she shared “PC’s 12 rules of being the best version of yourself”, urging fans to be greedy for ambitions, to not compromise, to fail and rise like a phoenix and to always remember where you came from, among other things.
Speaking about sexual harassment in the movie industry, Chopra said, “I think it has struck a chord with everyone in the world. You have all seen what happened with the Me Too hashtag. It was not just restricted to the US… It went all over the world.
“Different countries have different cultural boundaries. Meryl Streep can stand up and talk against the President over there (in US). They can sell anti-Trump memorabilia outside his house. It’s just a different way we live in our nation and we need to respect it.”
Chopra further said the situation will change in India when the next generation is taught to respect a woman.
“I wouldn’t call women victims, I would call them survivors. But there shouldn’t be a world where women have to survive, there should be a world where women thrive.”
When the anchor pointed out to the National Award-winning actress that author Shobhaa De commented that “look at how many (Weinsteins) there are in Bollywood”, the actress said in a witty way: “She seems to know a lot about it more… Why are you asking me?”
(With inputs from IANS)