Priyanka Chopra exclusive interview
The 28-year-old admits this is what her typical day is like and that she sometimes works for 20 hours a day without a break. All that hard work may be paying off as Chopra is one of Bollywood’s most successful heroines today, bagging prime projects and carrying films on her own shoulders.
Chopra spoke to Reuters about her new film “Saat Khoon Maaf”, roles for actresses in Bollywood and why she doesn’t mind male actors getting paid more in the film industry.
Q: Traditionally, leading ladies in Bollywood are pretty strait-jacketed. What made you want to play a woman who marries seven times and then kills all her husbands?
A: “Because I pave my own path and I don’t like following rules. I don’t like convention. I want my own space. It’s a small space, but I’m very possessive about it.”
Q: Do you think roles for actresses in Bollywood are changing?
A: “I hope so and I am hoping that I have something to do with it.
That’s what people say -- that I spearheaded it with ‘Fashion’ where a film with a heroine in the lead took a good opening. I’m so glad that films like ‘No One Killed Jessica’ did so well, because it shows that good movies are appreciated and the gender of the protagonist doesn’t matter at all.”
Q: But no matter how well these films do, male actors do get paid a lot more than female actors do. Do you grudge that?
A: “But their films also make that kind money. I don’t grudge them that at all. Their films make 150 crores, 300 crores, so they deserve to get paid what they get. The day my films start making that kind of money, I will also get paid that much. I have started slowly and my films are creating a niche of their own. At least we are getting opportunities now, so we have to make the best of them and learn to accept that we are in a male-dominated society. We live in a male-dominated country, forget the film industry. So, the fact that we can create a space of our own is good enough.”
Q: When you are playing a woman who kills her husbands, what is the toughest part about a character that seems so negative?
A: “That, at heart, she is a good girl. She’s a good girl. You feel bad for her, for her life. To convey that was difficult for me.
‘Saat Khoon Maaf’ is not a thriller -- it’s a black comedy thriller.
It’s not a ‘Dostana’ or a ‘Golmaal’ -- it’s a sinister comedy, which is a space India is not familiar with, which is why everyone is slotting it. So you may not guffaw with laughter, but you will come out thinking ‘they deserve to die’. That’s the quirkiness of the film.”
Q: Can you think of any other contemporary actress playing this role?
A: “Umm…I really can’t. For me, Susanna’s me. I can’t imagine her as anyone else. Actually, maybe… I have absolutely no idea. You should ask Vishal (Bhardwaj) this.”
Q: You recently had income-tax raids at your house. Why aren’t financial dealings in Bollywood transparent as yet? Have things changed since the time you came in?
A: “I don’t know. But yes, things have changed. We have become more corporate. But film stars do make news, we are always spoken about. We earn above a certain line of income, so it is natural that we attract attention. But there is a lot of transparency now, because you cannot be any other way.”