Aage Se Right
Why I am not celebrating Priyanka Chopra's engagement to Nick Jonas
Hasn't Bollywood already lost many of its talents to marriage?
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Don't get me wrong.
Priyanka Chopra getting married to American singer Nick Jonas should be an occasion to celebrate for all Indians. Please go ahead and do some 'Balle Balle' on her hit songs. But don't expect me to join you.
I would rather recoil in some dark corner of my apartment with a glass of dark wine and shed a tear or two because Bollywood might be losing one of its greatest talents... to marriage.
This is perhaps the story of every married girl in India; the only difference is that we don't really talk about it. But today, we are discussing about Priyanka Chopra and we really cannot shove this topic under the carpet.
Why should I celebrate the fact that Priyanka Chopra will become Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Bollywood would see less of her?
For me, Priyanka Chopra as an actress is more important than a certain Mrs Jonas who will be the primary attraction at the party circuits of Los Angeles. If Bollywood loses her, then it is a tragedy and no amount of Shaadi Ka Shehnai can drown that grief.
Don't get me wrong. Please allow me to explain my point.
Priyanka Chopra is undoubtedly one of the best acting talents that Bollywood has produced so far and the scores of awards, including National Awards (and a Padma Shri), bear testimony to it. As a student of cinema, I am not really bothered about her marriage. What bothers me is that she should not stop or even slow down in her career after her marriage.
But keeping the current pace of work is not only impossible, but it requires extra-human capabilities. No one has done it before her.
When your workplace is halfway across the globe, it is absurd to expect you to come to your workplace often.
We last saw Meenakshi in Ghatak (1996) after which she settled in the US.
Several talented actresses settled abroad after their marriages, like Meenakshi Sheshadri, Pooja Batra, Sonu Walia, Mumtaz etc. None of them could carry forward their Bollywood careers and the film industry ultimately bid them adieu.
Some actresses chose to bend it like a Ninja. Like Madhuri Dixit and Shilpa Shetty. They decided to shift back to India.
In both these cases, the husbands decided to come back and settle in India to enable their spouses to continue their careers in Bollywood. Both these actresses travel abroad frequently, but their primary homes (including their children) remain in Mumbai.
Why did they come back?
I remember I asked Madhuri Dixit this question when she decided to shift with her kids and husband to Mumbai permanently. The conversation took place more than a decade ago, but is still relevant today. Madhuri admitted that life in the US wasn't good after a point and she started missing Mumbai and work. At one point, she started discussing it with her husband, who was very receptive about it.
"It was an ongoing discussion between us. We kept on discussing about the opportunities in India and the US. We wanted our children to come back to our roots. At one point, we arrived at a conclusion that we are not missing much or sacrificing much if we come back to Mumbai. In fact, the tangible and intangible benefits are many. One of the tangible benefits was that I will be able to restart my career. I was not doing anything there other than playing a housewife (in the US). It is not easy to work when all your colleagues are sleeping and you are up and about (she was referring to the time difference). At one point, Dr Nene agreed to shift to Mumbai along with his whole family. It was a difficult decision, but I am glad that we took it," said Madhuri.
Life has taken an unexpected turn for the better for Madhuri, who is one of the most sought-after faces on Indian television today and has several brands to endorse. She and Dr Nene were proved right. They have not lost anything by shifting back to India. The gains, on the other hand, are tremendous.
If you ask Shilpa Shetty the same question, perhaps you will get the same answer.
Shilpa Shetty came back to India and restarted her journey in Bollywood.
It's really tough to work from the US, when you cannot attend any meeting, have to travel for 20 hours to shoot in Mumbai and every producer will have to adjust the entire shooting schedule of their crew, because you are sitting thousands of miles away, in a timezone that is almost 24 hours ahead of you.
Trust me, it doesn't work that way.
Producers start replacing you, because the projects become untenable and unviable with you. The projects continue as usual with another heroine. Nobody loses except the heroine and her fans.
I would hate to see Priyanka Chopra bid adieu to Bollywood after her marriage.
Life in the US was not easy for Madhuri Dixit.
I know it's a very Indian thing to let go off your career after your marriage and accept your husband's home as your home.
But then, a lot has changed in India since. Today, the NRI husbands are leaving their successful careers to follow their wives to India.
Why would Priyanka Chopra be any different from them?
I will only celebrate when I see that the Indian film industry hasn't lost Priyanka Chopra even after her marriage. Or, Sonam Kapoor.
Till then, kindly excuse me from the party.