It’s been a bumpy year for Priyanka Chopra. While she was on a roll professionally with box-office bonanzas like Don 2 and Agneepath, personally she came under a cloud. A spate of malicious articles in the tabloids insinuated that none of the heroes wanted to work with her; that she had antagonised their wives. Reams of purple prose was churned out when Karan Johar made a jibe on Twitter. The knives were out. However, matters were resolved and the warring duo kissed and made up and danced together at his 40th birthday party. But clearly the damage has been done. While innuendos still abound, Priyanka looking like a zillion bucks, plays it cool. Purposefully editing every word she says, it’s interesting to discern what lies beneath. Between text and subtext, I attempt a conversation. Excerpts:
Q. The media went to town about Shahid and you, was it awkward shooting with him in Teri Meri Kahaani?
A Well, according to reports, we make up and break up a lot of times, there is a completely different screenplay going on in their minds and in a parallel world, Shahid and I are happily shooting for the film. I don’t live my life according to people’s perception. I’ve never given it importance. Shaks and I know the truth, we might fight because he ordered a cold coffee and didn’t ask me for one, we fight for whatever issues we have between us and not because what the media writes. You are under constant public scrutiny and it’s difficult to live in a safe and private zone.
Q. A tabloid recently carried a story about actors’ wives being insecure and not wanting their husbands to work with you. How do you react to it?
A Look, if an actor doesn’t want to work with me, he won’t. I don’t want to get into whether he won’t because his wife or director has warned him against it or he himself is averse to it. I’m a self-made girl, I am a complete outsider, I’ve never been recommended by anyone. I’ve made a career for myself. I’ve never had my father or friends make a movie for me, I didn’t have any brother, sister, friend, boyfriend or anyone else to show me the way. I’m extremely thankful to the industry for giving me a chance to be here and grow. I take immense pride in the way I’ve led my life so whatever issues other people have, are their problems. If it affects my career so be it but that’s not going to change the way I lead my life. I take pride in the woman I am, I’ll never do anything that I can’t stand by and say, “Ya I did it. So?” I’ll never do a film thinking, “Arre yaar bada banner hai, I don’t like the role but I’ll still do it.” If someone doesn’t want to work with me, it’s okay. I’ll find a smaller film to do, I’m a heroine and I’m small compared to all the big heroes. I conduct myself with dignity and that’s what matters.
Q. After all that’s been written about the mutual admiration Shah Rukh Khan and you share, do you hesitate before saying something about him?
A Definitely. Now I don’t talk about him at all. I’ve always respected, emulated and idolised him but I don’t like to talk about it anymore.
Q. Is there any tension between the two of you?
A None whatsoever. SRK is as heart-warming as ever. He recently came on my show on a public platform. He was fun like he always is.
Q. Tell us something about Barfee.
A It’s a tough role but an easy film. It’s such a light film, it didn’t feel like I was working hard. Anurag Basu (director) and Ileana (D’Cruz) are so cool to work with. Also, I love shooting with Ranbir (Kapoor). We hang out and shoot.
Q. Barfee has been long in the making. What’s holding it up?
A Barfee was to be made in three or four months but then the dates of RK, Ileana and me got jumbled up as some of our films got delayed. That was a bit of a mess. But it was always to release this year. It’s just that it’s now coming later in the year. This is one role I can’t wait to hit the screen. I have never seen anyone do something like this before.