Priyanka Chopra is not Bollywood’s first ‘export’. Why is she being slammed for quitting ‘Bharat’?
We have carefully chosen when to feel proud about Priyanka Chopra's Hollywood career and when to slam it.
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Actor Priyanka Chopra walking out of Salman Khan-starrer Bharat and Katrina Kaif replacing her has raised many eyebrows. If reports are to be believed, Chopra has bagged a role opposite Chris Pratt in Cowboy Ninja Viking. The film will be helmed by none other than Michelle MacLaren, the director of Game of Thrones.
This comes just weeks after the 36-year-old actor hogged the limelight over the news of her engagement with singer-songwriter Nick Jonas.
Chopra recently had the nation in a tizzy over her engagement with Nick Jonas. (Photo: Reuters)
Let me rewind a little in my own style.
It was in the year 2000 that a small-town girl from Bareilly was crowned Miss World in London, and made India proud. Chopra was the fifth Indian to bag the coveted title, and the fourth to do so in a span of seven years. The country welcomed her with thunderous applause for winning an international contest for India.
We have also been welcoming of artistes from other countries who choose to work in Bollywood.
UK-based actor Katrina Kaif and Sri Lankan beauty Jacqueline Fernandez are doing exceptionally well in Indian films, and have been gracefully accepted by our audiences. Fernandez was a successful TV anchor, journalist, and model in Sri Lanka before stepping into Indian films. I do not think their countrymen have ever accused them of ditching their country to carve a niche in Bollywood.
Then why is Pee Cee — as Chopra is fondly addressed— being called “anti-Indian” and being accused of quitting Bollywood offers midway to cement her place in Hollywood? Why do we create a fuss if an actor grabs an opportunity ‘again’ to represent him/herself on an international podium?
On one hand, we talk of being a tolerant nation, but on the other, we are judging our own people and their Indianism? Instead of slamming them, we need to applaud and value every single talent all set to add another feather in his or her cap.
Talent knows no boundaries, no barriers. Whosoever wishes to learn, to better their art, should be allowed to move to a place of their choice. In the past, a bag-full of Bollywood actors have showcased a slice of their cinematic brilliance on the global platform. Priyanka Chopra is no exception.
Why can't we cheer our desi girl as she tries to make it big in Hollywood? (Photo: screengrab)
Frieda Pinto, an Indian actor who originally hails from aamchi Mumbai, has appeared in many British and American films. Slumdog Millionaire is one of Pinto’s best works so far.
Late veteran actor Om Puri’s work and contribution to the art of cinema is recognised worldwide. The actor was the recipient of both the OBE (Order of British Empire), and the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award of our country.
Jhakkas actor Anil Kapoor has garnered justifiable praise with his remarkable performances abroad, in movies such as Slumdog Millionaire, a TV show 24 and a major studio franchise Mission: Impossible.
Without giving a second thought to whether she would be accepted globally or not, and keeping faith in her Indian fans intact, Deepika Padukone, our beloved Rani Padmavati, said yes to an American film, xXx: Return of Xander Cage, opposite Vin Diesel.
An actor par excellence, Irrfan Khan, is also a well-known name abroad. The Warrior (2001), The Namesake (2006), The Darjeeling Limited (2007), Academy Award-winning Slumdog Millionaire (2008), New York, The Amazing Spider-Man (2012), Life of Pi (2012), Jurassic World (2015) and Inferno (2016) are just a few of the actor’s finest works.
Internationally acclaimed Bollywood actor Naseeruddin Shah has won the hearts of millions of viewers for his stellar performances in various Hollywood projects. From Such A Long Journey to Mango Dreams, Shah has delivered scintillating performances in a plethora of movies in the West.
Many other Indian actors have made a mark internationally. (Photo: Reuters)
And, above all, the megastar of Indian cinema, Amitabh Bachchan, managed to earn accolades not only from his country but also from US reviewers for just a blink-and-miss role of a Jewish gambler in The Great Gatsby. Nobody slammed him, or questioned his patriotism or Indianism. In fact, I am sure all of us wanted to see more and more of the pride of Indian cinema, our Shehanshah, our Big B, on the global platform.
Even with Chopra, the Indian audience had initially backed her to the hilt. Despite it receiving poor reviews in the US, Indians were all praise for Priyanka Chopra’s Hollywood debut — Baywatch — alongside Dwayne Johnson.
Nobody then knew that the actor would bag another chance overseas, which she did by acting in TV series Quantico. Though Chopra was slammed for the TV drama’s “Hindu terror” episode, she apologised, and did so in her inimitable andaaz: “I am a proud Indian and that will never change”.
Is it right to target somebody if he or she quits a project and jumps to another? The reasons to do so may vary, from a better opportunity to monetary gains to date problems. This can easily happen within Bollywood itself. In fact, several times in the past, one actor has replaced another in a big project because of date issues, health issues or payment issues.
Interestingly, Chopra’s replacement in Bharat is UK girl Katrina Kaif. So, if a London girl can be a part of an Indian project, whose very title is “Bharat”, why can’t an Indian actor feature in an international project? Kaif, aka Chikni Chameli, has learnt Hindi and internalised Bollywood’s latke jhatkes to fit in. Then why can’t our desi girl Chopra make it big in Hollywood, and have the Indian fans cheering her on?