Priyanka Chopra

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Priyanka Chopra
Priyanka Chopra looking towards the camera
Chopra at the Hindustan Times Mumbai's Most Stylish Awards 2014
Born (1982-07-18) 18 July 1982 (age 32)
Jamshedpur, Bihar
(now Jharkhand), India
Ethnicity Punjabi
Occupation Actress, singer
Years active 2000–present
Relatives
Website
iampriyankachopra.com

Priyanka Chopra (pronounced [prɪˈjaːŋkaː ˈtʃoːpɽaː];[1] born 18 July 1982) is an Indian film actress and singer, and the winner of the Miss World pageant of 2000. Through her successful film career, Chopra has become one of Bollywood's highest-paid actresses and one of the most popular celebrities in India. She has received numerous awards and nominations, including a National Film Award for Best Actress and Filmfare Awards in four categories.

Chopra was born in Jamshedpur to parents who were both physicians in the Indian Army, causing the family to move frequently during her childhood, but she considers Bareilly her real home. As a teenager she lived for some years with an aunt in the United States. In 2000, her mother entered her into the Femina Miss India contest, in which she finished second and took the Miss India World title.[a] She was then entered into the Miss World pageant, where she was crowned Miss World 2000 and Miss World Continental Queen of Beauty—Asia & Oceania, becoming the fifth Indian to win the competition.

Although Chopra at one time aspired to study engineering or psychiatry, she accepted offers to join the Indian film industry, which came as a result of her pageant wins, making her acting debut in the Tamil film Thamizhan in 2002. The following year, she starred in The Hero, her first Hindi film release, and followed it with the box-office hit Andaaz, which won her the Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut and a nomination for the Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award. She subsequently earned wide critical recognition for the role of a seductress in the 2004 thriller Aitraaz, winning her the Filmfare Award for Best Performance in a Negative Role. By 2006, Chopra had established herself as a leading actress of Hindi cinema with starring roles in the highly successful films Krrish and Don. After receiving mixed reviews for a series of unsuccessful films, she received critical acclaim for her versatility in portraying a range of unconventional characters, including a troubled model in the 2008 drama Fashion, a feisty Marathi woman in the 2009 caper thriller Kaminey, a serial killer in the 2011 neo-noir 7 Khoon Maaf, an autistic woman in the 2012 romantic comedy Barfi!, and a boxer in the 2014 biographical sports drama Mary Kom. She starred in the action thriller Don 2 (2011), and featured briefly in the revenge drama Agneepath (2012) and the superhero film Krrish 3 (2013), all of which rank among the highest grossing Indian films of all time.

In addition to acting in films, she participates in stage shows, has hosted a reality show on television, and has written columns for India's national newspapers. Chopra has engaged in philanthropic activities, and was appointed as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for Child Rights on 10 August 2010. She released her first single "In My City" in 2012. Her second single "Exotic" debuted in 2013, and charted in countries such as the United States and Canada.

Early life and background

Priyanka Chopra was born on 18 July 1982 in Jamshedpur, Bihar (now in Jharkhand), to Ashok and Madhu Chopra, both physicians in the Indian Army.[2][3] Her father was Punjabi, while her mother is from Jharkhand.[4] She has a brother, Siddharth, who is seven years her junior.[5] Actress Parineeti Chopra, Meera Chopra and Barbie Handa are her cousins.[6] Due to her parents' occupations the family relocated to a number of Indian cities, including Delhi, Pune, Lucknow, Bareilly, Ladakh, Chandigarh and Ambala.[7] Among the schools she attended were La Martiniere Girls' School in Lucknow[8] and St. Maria Goretti College in Bareilly.[9][10] In an interview published in Daily News and Analysis, Chopra said that she did not mind travelling regularly and changing schools; she welcomed it as a new experience and a way to discover India's multicultural society.[11] Among the many places that she lived, Chopra has fond memories as a child of playing in the valleys of Leh, in the cold northwestern Indian desert region of Jammu and Kashmir. She has said, "I think I was in Class 4 when I was in Leh. My brother was just born. My dad was in the army and was posted there. I stayed in Leh for a year and my memories of that place are tremendous ... We were all army kids there. We weren't living in houses, we were in bunkers in the valley and there was a stupa right on top of a hill which used to overlook our valley. We used to race up to the top of the stupa".[12] She now considers Bareilly her home town, and maintains strong connections there.[13]

At the age of thirteen, Chopra moved to the United States to study, living with her aunt, and attending schools in Newton, Massachusetts, and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, after a stop in Queens, New York, as her aunt's family also moved frequently.[14][15] While in Massachusetts, she participated in several theatre productions and studied Western classical music, choral singing and Kathak dance.[16] Chopra was the only Indian in her class to have been selected at the state level for the National Opus Honour Choir.[17] However, by sophomore year, she was keen on becoming a software engineer or a criminal psychologist, rather than a performer.[17] During her teenage years in America, Chopra sometimes faced racial issues and bullying. She has said, "I was a gawky kid, had low self-esteem, came from a modest middle-class background, had white marks on my legs ... But I was damn hard working. Today, my legs sell 12 brands."[18]

After three years, Chopra returned to India, finishing the senior year[14][15] of her high-school education at the Army Public School in Bareilly.[19][20] During this period, she won the local "May Queen" beauty pageant,[21] after which she was pursued by admirers, leading her family to equip their home with bars for her protection.[15] Her mother then entered her in the Femina Miss India contest of 2000;[22] she finished second,[a] winning the Femina Miss India World title.[25] Chopra then went on to the Miss World pageant, where she was crowned Miss World 2000 and Miss World Continental Queen of Beauty—Asia & Oceania at the Millennium Dome in London on 1 December 2000.[23][26][27] Chopra was the fifth Indian contestant to win Miss World, and the fourth to do so in seven years.[23][28] She had enrolled in college, but left after winning the Miss World pageant.[10][21] Chopra said that the Miss India and Miss World titles brought her recognition, and she then began receiving offers for film roles.[16][29]

Chopra has maintained a strong relationship with her family, including her younger brother, Siddharth, and lives in an apartment on the same floor as her family.[2][30] She was especially close to her father, who died in June 2013;[31] in 2012 she got a tattoo reading "Daddy's lil girl", in his handwriting.[20][32] Having not come from a film background, she describes herself as a self-made woman.[33] Her mother, a well-established gynaecologist in Bareilly, gave up her practice to support Chopra as she embarked upon a film career.[34][35]

Acting career

Debut and breakthrough (2002–04)

After winning Miss India World, Chopra was cast as the female lead in Abbas-Mustan's romantic thriller Humraaz (2002), in which she was to make her film debut.[29] However, this fell through for various reasons: she stated the production conflicted with her schedule, while the producers said they re-cast because Chopra took on various other commitments.[36][37] Her screen debut occurred in the 2002 Tamil film Thamizhan as the love interest of the protagonist, played by Vijay. The film was praised for its wit and dialogue, although Chopra's character was seen as lacking in depth;[38] Indian news and entertainment portal Rediff.com asserted that she showed "no promise".[39]

In 2003, Chopra made her Bollywood film debut as the second female lead opposite Sunny Deol and Preity Zinta in Anil Sharma's The Hero: Love Story of a Spy.[3] Set against the backdrop of the Indian Army in Kashmir, the film tells the story of an agent and his fight against terrorism. The Hero was one of the highest-grossing Bollywood films that year, but received mixed reviews from critics.[40][41] Later that year she appeared in Raj Kanwar's box-office success Andaaz with Akshay Kumar, again sharing the female lead (this time with the debuting Lara Dutta).[40] Chopra played a vivacious young girl who falls in love with Kumar's character. Her performance earned her the Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut (along with Dutta) and a nomination for the Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award.[42] The Hindustan Times noted the glamour that she brought to the role;[3] Kunal Shah of Sify praised her and stated she had "all the qualities to be a star."[43]

Chopra's first three releases in 2004—Plan, Kismat, and Asambhav—performed poorly at the box-office.[44] Chopra was typically cast during this earlier period as a "glamour quotient", in roles that were considered "forgettable" by film critic Joginder Tuteja.[44][45] Later that year she starred with Salman Khan and Akshay Kumar in David Dhawan's romantic comedy Mujhse Shaadi Karogi, which became the third-highest-grossing film of the year in India and emerged as a commercial success earning INR570 million (US$9 million) globally.[46] In late 2004, she starred opposite Kumar and Kareena Kapoor in Abbas-Mustan's thriller Aitraaz. Chopra considers her first role as an antagonist, portraying Soniya Roy, an ambitious woman who accuses her employee of sexual harassment, as the "biggest learning experience of her career."[20] The film was moderately successful at the Indian box-office,[47] and Chopra's performance was critically acclaimed.[45] Author Rini Bhattacharya credited her for bringing back the seductress to the silver screen.[48][49] The Hindustan Times cited it as the film that changed her career significantly.[3] A reviewer writing for the BBC said, "Aitraaz is Priyanka Chopra's film. As the deliciously wicked, gold digging, scheming seductress, she chews up every scene she is in with her magnetic screen presence."[50] She earned a Filmfare Award for Best Performance in a Negative Role (also known as the Best Villain Award),[3] becoming the second and final actress to win the award after Kajol (the category was discontinued in 2008). Chopra also received another nomination for the Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award for her performance.[42]

Early success and setbacks (2005–08)

In 2005, Chopra appeared in six films. Three of them—Blackmail, Karam and Yakeen—were commercially unsuccessful.[51] Shilpa Bharatan-Iyer of Rediff.com considered Blackmail to be a very predictable film and believed that her role as a police commissioner's wife was very limited from an acting viewpoint.[52] On her performance in Yakeen, Taran Adarsh wrote that Chopra "is bound to win laurels yet again ... the actor is emerging as one of the finest talents in these fast-changing times".[53] Chopra played the wife of Akshay Kumar in Vipul Amrutlal Shah's family drama Waqt: The Race Against Time, the story of a small businessman (played by Amitabh Bachchan) who, hiding his illness, wants to teach his irresponsible son some lessons before he dies. During production, Chopra revisited Leh, a favourite childhood haunt, for the shooting of the song "Subah Hogi".[12] She suffered an accident during the filming for the song "Do Me A Favour Let's Play Holi" when she electrocuted herself, spending a day recovering in hospital. The film was a moderate box-office success.[51][54] Her next release was Suneel Darshan's romance Barsaat, co-starring Bobby Deol and Bipasha Basu. The film was a critical and commercial failure in India[51] but fared better in the overseas market.[55] Chopra's performance received mixed reviews, with Taran Adarsh describing it as "mechanical".[56] However, Rediff.com considered Chopra to be an "epitome of calm intelligence, who underplayed her role to perfection".[57] Later that year, Rohan Sippy cast her with Abhishek Bachchan, Ritesh Deshmukh and Nana Patekar in the comedy Bluffmaster! Chopra played independent working woman Simran Saxena (Bachchan's love interest). According to critic Subhash K. Jha, "Chopra has little to do. But she does it with eye-catching aplomb."[58]

Priyanka Chopra and Shah Rukh Khan in 2006
Chopra with co-star Shah Rukh Khan at the film premiere of Don

After starting 2006 with special appearances in three films, Chopra starred in Rakesh Roshan's superhero film Krrish (a sequel to the 2003 science-fiction film Koi... Mil Gaya). Co-starring with Hrithik Roshan, Rekha and Naseeruddin Shah, Chopra played a young television journalist who schemes to take advantage of an innocent young man with remarkable physical abilities, but eventually falls in love with him. The film was the second-highest-grossing film of the year in India and grossed over INR1.17 billion (US$19 million) worldwide attaining a blockbuster status.[59] Her next film was Dharmesh Darshan's romantic comedy Aap Ki Khatir, co-starring Akshaye Khanna, Ameesha Patel and Dino Morea. Neither the film nor Chopra's performance were well received.[60] Sukanya Verma of Rediff.com stated that Chopra's portrayal of Anu was "erratically sketched" and that her character was never consistent: "first flaky, then cool, and later, sensitive".[61]

Chopra's final release of 2006 was Farhan Akhtar's action-thriller Don (a remake of the 1978 film of the same name), with Shah Rukh Khan. Chopra portrayed Roma (played by Zeenat Aman in the original film), who joins the underworld to avenge Don for killing her brother. Chopra received martial-arts training for her role in the movie, and performed her own stunts.[62] The film was declared a box-office success in India and overseas, with revenues of INR1.05 billion (US$17 million).[46] Raja Sen of Rediff.com believed that Chopra convincingly portrayed Roma, "looking every bit the competent woman of action".[63]

In 2007, Chopra had two leading roles. Her first film was Nikhil Advani's Salaam-e-Ishq: A Tribute to Love, a romantic comedy in six chapters with an ensemble cast. She was featured opposite Salman Khan in the first chapter as Kamini, an item girl and aspiring actress who tries to land the lead role in a Karan Johar film with a publicity gimmick.[64] Film critic Sukanya Verma praised her flair for comedy, especially her impressions of Meena Kumari, Nargis and Madhubala.[65] Both Salaam-e-Ishq: A Tribute to Love and her next film, Big Brother, proved unsuccessful at the domestic box-office.[60]

In 2008, Chopra starred opposite Harman Baweja in his father's Love Story 2050. Chopra played a double role, so she coloured her hair twice; once red to portray the girl from the future and then black for the girl of the past.[66] Her performance was poorly received; Rajeev Masand was unimpressed with Chopra's chemistry with her co-star, remarking that her character "fails to inspire either affection or sympathy".[67] She next appeared in the comedy God Tussi Great Ho, portraying a TV anchor opposite Salman Khan, Sohail Khan and Amitabh Bachchan. The film was generally perceived to be plagiarised from the Hollywood comedy Bruce Almighty,[68][69] although writer and director Rumi Jaffrey claimed it to be "a village folk tale about a Brahmin".[70] Chopra next starred as a kindergarten teacher in Chamku opposite Bobby Deol and Irrfan Khan, and played the role of Sonia in Goldie Behl's fantasy superhero film Drona opposite Abhishek Bachchan and Jaya Bachchan. Drona, widely criticised for its extensive use of special effects, marked Chopra's sixth film in succession which had failed at both the box-office and critically, although Sukanya Verma of Rediff.com stated that Chopra displayed convincing action heroine skills.[60][71] Critics generally perceived at this time that her career was over.[60]

Critical acclaim (2008–11)

The string of poorly received films ended when Chopra starred in Madhur Bhandarkar's Fashion, a drama about the Indian fashion industry which followed the lives and careers of several fashion models. Chopra portrayed the ambitious supermodel Meghna Mathur, a role which she initially thought was out of her depth, but after six months' consideration she accepted the role, inspired by Bhandarkar's confidence in her.[72] During production, the media spread rumours that she was starving herself to reduce her weight to that of a supermodel. Chopra stated that she had to gain 6 kilograms (13 lb) for the role and steadily shed the weight during the production as the character progressed in the film,[73] and claimed that her physique was achieved by two months of training on the beach and a disciplined diet:[74]

I always like to work on my character. That's why I work on one film at a time. For Fashion I opted for a toned body. I went on a health-conscious diet, though I didn't cut down on my food or anything ... It isn't about getting thin at all. It's just about toning my body. I don't think you need to be reed-thin to be beautiful. I think Indian women look terrible when they try to get anorexic. We (Indian women) are naturally healthy. And by that I don't mean voluptuous ... But, yes, we've been given a certain kind of figure. We're well proportioned and aesthetically endowed in all the right places. And by getting exceptionally thin, we're going against nature.

Both the film and her performance were appreciated by critics, and earned Chopra several awards, including the National Film Award,[75] the Filmfare Award, the IIFA Award, the Screen Award, and the Apsara Award for Best Actress.[42][76] Rajeev Masand wrote, "Priyanka Chopra turns in a respectable performance, one that will inevitably go down as her best."[77] Kriti Verma from Headlines India noted "Priyanka Chopra simply rocked. Her transformation from a simple Chandigarh girl to an ambitious super model to an apologizing girl is excellent and beyond imagination."[78] Fashion proved to be a turning point in Chopra's career.[45] The film had net earnings of INR600 million (US$10 million)[79] and was noted for being a commercial success despite being a women-centric film and the absence of a male lead.[80] She said in retrospect, "I think actually Fashion kick started ... the process of female dominated films. Today you have so many other films which have done well with female leads."[20]

Priyanka Chopra in 2008
Chopra at the Filmfare magazine launch in November 2008

Chopra's final film of the year was Tarun Mansukhani's romantic comedy Dostana, with Abhishek Bachchan and John Abraham. Set in Miami, the film tells the story of a friendship between her character and two men who pretend to be gay to share an apartment with her. Chopra played a stylish young fashion-magazine editor Neha, who is trying to deal with professional pressures in her life. Produced by Dharma Productions, the film was a financial success with worldwide revenues of over INR860 million (US$14 million).[46] Chopra's performance and look in the film were praised.[81][82]

The following year Chopra played a feisty Marathi woman named Sweety in Vishal Bhardwaj's caper thriller Kaminey (co-starring Shahid Kapoor), about twin brothers and the journey in their life in a span of 24 hours linked with the underworld. Although she appeared in only eight scenes,[83] her role earned her several awards and nominations, including a second Filmfare Award for Best Actress nomination[84] and an Apsara Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role (her second consecutive win in that category after Fashion).[85] The film received critical acclaim and became successful at the box-office with the worldwide gross earnings of INR710 million (US$12 million).[46] Nikhat Kazmi of The Times of India thought that Chopra's role completely reinvented her,[86] and Rajeev Masand wrote: "Springing a delightful surprise in a smaller part is [Chopra], who sprinkles her lines with a smattering of fluent Marathi and emerges one of the film's most lovable characters."[81][87] Chopra subsequently appeared in Ashutosh Gowariker's romantic comedy What's Your Raashee?, based on the novel Kimball Ravenswood by Madhu Rye. The film depicts the story of a US-based Gujrati NRI in search of his soulmate among 12 girls (all played by Chopra) associated with the 12 zodiac signs. She was considered for inclusion in the Guinness World Records book for being the first film actress to portray 12 distinct characters in one film.[88] Chopra's heavy workload—filming for several productions, travelling for endorsements and performing at live shows (including the Miss India pageant)—took its toll; she fainted during filming, and was admitted to hospital.[89]

In 2010 Chopra starred with Uday Chopra in Jugal Hansraj's unremarkable romantic comedy Pyaar Impossible! as Alisha, a beautiful college girl (and later a working mother) who falls in love with a nerdy boy. Later that year, she co-starred with Ranbir Kapoor in Siddharth Anand's romantic comedy Anjaana Anjaani. The film, set in New York and Las Vegas, follows the story of two strangers, both trying to commit suicide, who eventually fall in love with each other. The film was a moderate commercial success,[90] and her performance received mixed reviews from critics. Sarita Tanwar of Mid Day wrote, "Priyanka Chopra is at her casual and spontaneous best. She embraces the character completely and makes it totally believable",[91] while Anupama Chopra dismissed her acting as "artificial".[92]

Priyanka Chopra in a light pink dress smiling towards the camera at a press event
Chopra at the audio release of 7 Khoon Maaf (2011); her performance in the film received critical acclaim and (among other wins) gave her a Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actress.

Chopra turned down the role of Phaedra in Tarsem Singh's Hollywood fantasy film Immortals because it conflicted with the shooting schedule for her first film of 2011, Vishal Bhardwaj's black comedy 7 Khoon Maaf.[93] Based on the short story "Susanna's Seven Husbands" by Ruskin Bond, 7 Khoon Maaf centres on Susanna Anna-Marie Johannes, an Anglo-Indian woman (played by Chopra) who murders her seven husbands in an unending quest for love. Chopra's performance earned her the Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actress and a third Filmfare Award for Best Actress nomination at the 57th Filmfare Awards.[94] Nikhat Kazmi remarked, "7 Khoon Maaf would undoubtedly end up as a milestone in Priyanka Chopra's career graph. The actor displays exquisite command over a complex character that is definitely a first in Indian cinema."[95] Aniruddha Guha of Daily News and Analysis wrote: "Priyanka Chopra takes on a character that most of her contemporaries would shy away from and enacts it in a way that only she possibly can. For a woman with as many shades as Susanna, Chopra gets a crack at a role of a lifetime and she sparkles like never before."[96]

Commercial success (2011–13)

Chopra's final release of the year saw her reprising her role as Roma in the second part of the Don film series, Don 2. Although the film received mixed reviews,[97] Chopra's performance earned positive feedback from critics. According to The Express Tribune, "Chopra ... seems to be the perfect choice for an action heroine. As you watch her effortlessly beat up some thugs in the movie, you come to the realisation that she may be the first proper female action hero in Bollywood."[98] Don 2 was a major success in India and overseas, earning over INR2.06 billion (US$33 million) worldwide.[99][100] Don 2 was showcased at the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival[101] and (with Don) at the 2012 International Film Festival of Marrakech, in Morocco.[102]

In a 2012 interview with The Times of India, Chopra professed to have always "wanted to be the sum of more than just my movies" and said that she aspires to acquire a persona like Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. She remarked that "I imbibe from people I work with and I want to be like them",[35] and cited Mumtaz, Marilyn Monroe, and Audrey Hepburn as fashion inspirations.[103] Chopra's first film of 2012 was Karan Malhotra's action drama Agneepath, in which she starred with Hrithik Roshan, Sanjay Dutt and Rishi Kapoor. Produced by Karan Johar, the film is a remake of his father's 1990 production of the same name. In one of several accidents to happen during production, Chopra's lehenga (a traditional skirt) caught fire while filming a sequence for an elaborate Ganpati festival song.[104] She featured briefly as Kaali Gawde, Roshan's loquacious love interest in the film. Mayank Shekhar noted how much Chopra stood out in her extended cameo in the male-dominated film.[105] Agneepath broke Bollywood's highest opening-day earnings record, and had a worldwide gross of INR1.93 billion (US$31 million).[99][106] Chopra next co-starred with Shahid Kapoor in Kunal Kohli's romance, Teri Meri Kahaani. The film relates the stories of three unconnected couples (each played by Kapoor and Chopra), born in different eras. The film opened to mixed reactions from critics, but Chopra's performance was generally well received.[107]

Priyanka Chopra in 2012
Chopra at a promotional event for Barfi! in 2012

Anurag Basu's Barfi!, with Ranbir Kapoor and Ileana D'Cruz, was her final appearance of 2012. Set in the 1970s, the film tells the story of three people, two of whom are physically disabled. Chopra played Jhilmil Chatterjee, an autistic woman who falls in love with a deaf, mute man (Kapoor). Rituparno Ghosh, an acclaimed director, considered it a "very, very brave" role to accept given how demanding it is for an actor to convincingly portray a woman with autism.[108] To prepare for the role, Chopra visited several mental institutions and spent time with autistic people.[109] The film received rave reviews from film critics[108][110] and was a major commercial success, earning INR1.75 billion (US$28 million) worldwide.[111] Chopra received unanimous praise for her portrayal, which several reviewers regarded as her best performance to date.[112] The Indo-Asian News Service review said, "Priyanka Chopra as the autistic Jhilmil steals the show from Ranbir, if that's possible. Her inherent glamorous personality simply disappears into her character. We don't see the actress on screen at all! We see only Jhilmil who reminds us in a very pleasant way of Sridevi in Sadma. This is one of the most flawless interpretations of a physical-psychological disability seen on celluloid."[113] Pratim D. Gupta of The Telegraph noted Ranbir and Priyanka turn in two of the finest performances seen on the Indian screen.[114] Chopra received another nomination for the Filmfare Award for Best Actress.[94] The film was screened at the Busan[115] and Marrakech International Film Festivals,[102] and was chosen as India's entry for the 85th Academy Awards.[116] Don 2, Agneepath and Barfi! rank among the highest grossing Bollywood films of all time.[99]

Chopra's first release of 2013 was K. C. Bokadia's much-delayed Deewana Main Deewana, which had been filmed nearly a decade earlier. It received lacklustre reviews, primarily due to its aged look and feel.[117] She agreed to a special appearance in Shootout at Wadala in a song called "Babli Badmaash Hai", which was her first item number.[118] Music composer Anu Malik and director Sanjay Gupta thought Chopra would be able to "recreate the magic of Zeenat Aman or Parveen Babi"; Chopra, however, was reluctant to do so, agreeing only after six months of persuasion.[119][120] In choosing her first item song, Chopra was strict over the lyrics and footage, in that she frowned against the use of vulgar words or skin on show, and rejected the songs of various composers before deciding upon an appropriate number.[119] She next lent her voice to the character of Ishani, the reigning Pan-Asian champion from India and the love interest of the main protagonist in the Disney Animation Studios's film Planes, a spinoff of the 2006 film Cars and its 2011 sequel Cars 2. Chopra (who described her character as good hearted) kept the accent very real and Indian to avoid an exaggerated Indian accent.[121] The film performed well at the box-office, grossing approximately US$220 million worldwide.[122] She played an NRI girl in the Apoorva Lakhia's bilingual action drama Zanjeer (Thoofan in Telugu), a remake of the 1973 Hindi film of the same name, which met with poor reactions from critics and was unsuccessful at the box office.[123][124]

Chopra next reprised her role of Priya in Rakesh Roshan's Krrish 3—a sequel to the 2006 superhero film Krrish—with Hrithik Roshan, Vivek Oberoi and Kangana Ranaut. The film earned positive reviews though critics opined that Chopra's role in the film was small. Writing for Daily News and Analysis, Sarita A Tanwar commented that "Priyanka is saddled with a role that doesn't do her justice. She deserved a meatier role."[125] Komal Nahta however noted that though Chopra gets limited scope, "she acts with a lot of sincerity and does a truly fine job."[126] The feature became a major box office phenomenon, earning over INR3 billion (US$49 million) worldwide, to become Chopra's biggest commercial success till date and her fourth major hit in the last two years.[127][128] She also appeared in an item number titled "Ram Chahe Leela" for Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela. The song, which took four days to rehearse, saw Chopra execute a contemporary mujra, that incorporated complicated dance steps.[129]

2014 onwards

In 2014, Chopra played the lead female role in Yash Raj Films's romantic action drama Gunday directed by Ali Abbas Zafar, alongside Ranveer Singh, Arjun Kapoor and Irrfan Khan. She portrayed Nandita, a cabaret dancer in Calcutta. Set in the 1970s, the film tells the story of two best friends, who fall in love with Chopra's character. Her performance was appreciated by critics; writing for India Today, Rohit Khilnani said that Chopra "continues to surprise with another brilliant performance."[130] Gunday proved to be a box-office success, grossing over INR1 billion (US$16 million) worldwide.[131] She next featured in the Sanjay Leela Bhansali- Viacom 18 Motion Pictures produced Mary Kom, a biographical film of the five time world boxing champion and Olympic bronze medalist Mary Kom.[132] To prepare for the role, she spent time with Kom and received four months of boxing training.[133] The film premiered at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival, received positive reviews from critics, and Chopra's performance was singled out for praise.[134][135] Anupama Chopra of Hindustan Times felt that Chopra's performance helped empower the film, and CNN-IBN's Rajeev Masand wrote that she "she transforms herself physically, and also skillfully conveys both the rage and vulnerability that the part required."[136][137] Mary Kom was a commercial success, earning INR1.04 billion (US$17 million) at the global box-office.[138][139]

As of September 2014, Chopra has completed work on Zoya Akhtar's Dil Dhadakne Do, a family drama alongside Farhan Akhtar, Ranveer Singh and Anushka Sharma.[140][141] She is filming Bhansali's period romance Bajirao Mastani, co-starring Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone, in which she plays the supporting role of Kashibai.[142] She will also play the character of a dancer-turned-politician in Madamji, a political drama by Madhur Bhandarkar, which will also mark her production debut.[143] Other film roles include a biopic on poet-lyricist Sahir Ludhianvi, in which she will play poet-writer Amrita Pritam opposite Irrfan Khan,[144] and the lead role in Bhansali's untitled next.[145]

Music career

Priyanka Chopra talking to a microphone, in 2012
Chopra promoting "In My City" at the Reliance Digital Store in Mumbai

Chopra's main vocal influence was her father, who she said was "an incredible singer", and helped develop her interest in singing.[146][147] She used her vocal talent early in her pageantry career.[148] Her first recording, the song "Ullathai Killadhe" in the Tamil film Thamizhan (2002), was made at the urging of her director and co-star, Vijay (who had noticed her singing on the set).[149] She declined to sing playback for "Tinka Tinka" in her film Karam (2005), preferring to concentrate on her acting career, but later sang the song live on the television programme Sa Re Ga Ma Pa.[150] Chopra recorded an unreleased song for Bluffmaster! (2005).[151] In August 2011, Universal Music Group signed Chopra to a worldwide recording agreement with DesiHits. The deal indicated that her first studio album would be released by Interscope Records in North America and by Island Records elsewhere.[152] Troy Carter, CEO of Atom Factory (which also manages Lady Gaga), was signed by Chopra to manage her music career.[152] Her first song as a playback singer in Bollywood was "Chaoro" from Mary Kom (2014).[153]

In July 2012, Chopra became the first Bollywood star signed by Creative Artists Agency, an entertainment and sports agency based in Los Angeles.[154] Travelling to the United States to work on her album, Chopra collaborated with Sam Watters, Matthew Koma and Jay Sean. The album, produced by RedOne,[155] is scheduled for release in 2013.[156] Her first single, "In My City", debuted in the US on 13 September 2012 in a TV spot for the NFL Network's Thursday Night Football, 12 hours after the full song debuted in India;[157] a shortened version of the song was used to open each show of the season. "In My City" features rapper will.i.am; according to Chopra, a co-writer,[156] the song was inspired by her unsettled childhood and her journey from a small-town girl to a celebrity.[7] "In My City" trended at number one on Twitter several minutes after release.[158] The song received mixed reviews from critics, and was a commercial success in India; it sold more than 130,000 copies in its first week, topped the Hindi pop chart and was certified triple platinum.[156][159] In the United States the single was unsuccessful, with 5,000 digital downloads in its first week on iTunes according to Nielsen SoundScan, and did not receive radio play.[156] In October 2012, the single won her the Best International Debut award at the People's Choice Awards India.[160] In December 2012, she received three nominations: Best Female Artist, Best Song and Best Video (for "In My City") at the World Music Awards.[161] She also received the Trailblazer Award from the South Asian Media, Marketing and Entertainment Association for becoming the first Bollywood actor to win a major record deal in the U.S.[3] Chopra was also a featured artist on "Erase", an EDM song produced by the American DJ and producer duo The Chainsmokers.[162][163]

In April 2013, Chopra filmed the music video for her single "Exotic" featuring American rapper Pitbull in South Beach, Florida.[164] The song was released on 9 July 2013, and quickly went to number one on iTunes India, followed by video release on 11 July.[165][166] "Exotic" debuted at number 16 on the Billboard Dance/Electronic Songs and number 11 on the Dance/Electronic Digital Songs chart in 27 July 2013 issue.[167] The single also entered at number 74 on the Canadian Hot 100 chart. "Exotic" debuted at number 44 on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs chart and peaked at number 12.[168] Her third single, a cover of Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me" was released on 22 April 2014,[169] and is her debut song release in the United Kingdom.[170] The song's accompanying video was released on 30 April 2014.[171] Chopra also lent her voice for a music video of John Lennon's "Imagine". The video was created as part of a global campaign by UNICEF to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and features other singers, including Katy Perry, Idris Elba, Nicole Scherzinger, The Black Eyed Peas ,will.i.am and Rumer Willis.[172]

Other works

Television and stage performances

Priyanka Chopra dancing on stage with a group of men
Chopra performing for the fifth season of the Indian Premier League in Chennai

In 2007, Chopra was on the judges' panel of the Miss India pageant. She stated, "Miss India will always remain special. That's where it all started for me. And maybe that's where it would've ended if I hadn't won the crown."[173] She also performed at Miss India in 2009 and 2013, and was a judge at Miss World 2009.[174][175][176] In 2010, she hosted the third season of the reality show Fear Factor: Khatron Ke Khiladi on the Colors channel, taking over from previous host Akshay Kumar.[177] According to contestants, in hosting the series, Chopra had "transformed into quite a whip-wielding dictator", relentlessly pushing the contestants to work.[177] She performed most of her own stunts, adamant to prove that she could rival Akshay Kumar, who had hosted the previous two seasons.[177] The opening ratings of the show topped those of the two previous seasons.[178] The show was praised by critics,[179] and earned the Indian Telly Award for Most Impactful Debut on Television.[180] She visited Jawan troops in Tenga, in eastern India, for a special episode of the NDTV show Jai Jawan celebrating the 60th anniversary of India's independence.[181]

Chopra has participated in a number of concerts and award ceremonies. She took part in a world concert tour, "Temptations 2004", and performed with other Bollywood actors (including Shah Rukh Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Rani Mukerji, Preity Zinta and Arjun Rampal) in 19 stage shows.[182] In 2011, she participated (with Shahid Kapoor and Shah Rukh Khan) in a concert in Durban, South Africa celebrating 150 years of India–South Africa friendship.[183] In 2012, she performed at M. A. Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai in the opening ceremony of the fifth season of cricket's Indian Premier League with Amitabh Bachchan, Salman Khan, Kareena Kapoor and international pop star Katy Perry.[184] Chopra also performed with other Bollywood divas in the opening ceremony for a new IPL franchise at the Sahara Stadium.[185] In late 2012, she delivered a tribute to late filmmaker Yash Chopra at the People's Choice Awards India,[160] and performed at Dubai Festival City's Ahlan Bollywood Concert with Salman Khan, Zarine Khan, Sophie Choudry, Rahat Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Sohail Khan.[186]

Column writing

Chopra began writing an opinion column, "The Priyanka Chopra Column", for the Hindustan Times in 2009. She said after her first year of writing: "I'm a private person and never thought that I could express my feelings. But strangely enough, whenever I sat down to write this column, my inner most thoughts came to the fore."[187] In March 2009, she met several readers who had submitted feedback on her weekly column.[188] As of 2012, Chopra was still writing sporadically for newspapers. In August 2012 she wrote a column published in The Times of India titled "No woman in Mumbai feels safe any longer", discussing the murder of 25-year-old Pallavi Purkayastha,[189] whom she met while working on Don.[20] In the article, Chopra expressed her views about the safety of women in cities.[189]

Philanthropy

Manish Malhotra standing beside Priyanka Chopra at a charity fashion show
Chopra with designer Manish Malhotra at CPAA charity fashion show in July 2012

Chopra often speaks out on women's issues: against female infanticide and foeticide, and in support of education for girls.[190] In 2006, a "day with Chopra" was auctioned on eBay; the proceeds were donated to an NGO, Nanhi Kali, which helps educate girls in India.[191] In 2010 Chopra was one of several celebrities who created promotional messages for Pearls Wave Trust, which campaigns against violence and abuse of women and girls.[192] Chopra also appeared at the launch of a campaign called "Save Girl Child", which aims to change the attitudes of Indians towards girls.[193] She has worked with UNICEF since 2008, recording public-service announcements and participating in media panel discussions promoting children's rights and the education of girls, and also participated in celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.[194] She was appointed a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for Child Rights on 10 August 2010.[195][196] UNICEF Representative Karin Hulshof said of the appointment:[197]

Priyanka Chopra ... is equally passionate about her work on behalf of children and adolescents. We are proud of the work she has done with us so far on child rights, and, we are thrilled about all what we will be doing together so that no child gets left behind.

In 2012 Chopra spoke at the launch of Awakening Youth, an anti-addiction programme.[198] Chopra is a supporter of environmental charities and is brand ambassador for NDTV's Greenathon, an initiative to support eco-friendliness and improve electricity supplies to rural villages.[199] She appeared with children in an animated video to support the cause,[200] and removed rubbish from the banks of the Yamuna river in Agra to increase awareness of environmental issues.[201] Chopra "adopted" a tigress in 2011 and a lioness in 2012 at the Birsa biological park, paying for both animals' upkeep for a year.[202]

Chopra has made appearances in support of other charities, such as the 2005 HELP! Telethon Concert to raise money for the victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake.[203] In 2009, she shot a documentary for the organisation Alert India to increase understanding of leprosy.[204] She modelled for designer Manish Malhotra and Shaina NC's charity fashion show to raise funds for the Cancer Patients Aid Association (CPAA) NGO.[205] To promote organ donation, Chopra pledged to donate her own organs after death[206] and was co-keynote speaker at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Bollywood-themed 20th-anniversary celebration of its liver-transplant programme in 2012.[207] In 2013 she provided voice-over in English and Hindi for the documentary film Girl Rising for the organisation of the same name.[208]

In the media

Priyanka Chopra in 2011
Chopra at the Big Star Entertainment Awards in 2011

Chopra is one of Bollywood's highest-paid actresses,[209] and considered by the media one of the most popular Bollywood celebrities in India.[2] After playing strong, independent characters in Aitraaz (2004), Fashion (2008), Kaminey (2009), What's Your Raashee? (2009), 7 Khoon Maaf (2011) and Barfi! (2012), she gained recognition for her versatility in portraying a range of unconventional roles, leading CNN-IBN to describe her "as one of the most powerful actresses in the current lot and someone who doesn't shy away from experimenting with roles within the realms of popular cinema".[210] Analysing Chopra's career highlights, Bollywood Hungama noted: "Despite a career that has seen a constant flip-flop .... [the] performer in her has seen a constant growth with every passing year."[44] In 2012, film critic Subhash K. Jha labelled her "the best actress in the post-Sridevi generation" and listed her character in Barfi! as being "one of the finest inwardly ravaged characters in Bollywood."[211] Chopra has often featured on Rediff.com's annual listing of "Bollywood's Best Actresses".[212] She was ranked second in 2006 and 2008,[213][214] and number one in 2009;[215] she was in its list of "Top 10 Actresses of 2000–2010".[216]

Chopra is described as a sex symbol and a style icon.[217] Her figure, eye colour and lips have been cited by the media as her distinctive physical features.[218] Designers Falguni and Shane Peacock wrote, "She is comfortable in her own skin and looks ravishing in whatever she wears, be it a bikini, short or long dress or even a sari."[219] Chopra has embraced the fashions of international designers such as Jean Paul Gaultier and Alberta Ferretti, and brought attention to young Indian fashion designers, by wearing their garments.[220] She ranks high on lists of the most powerful, popular and attractive Indian celebrities. In 2006 and 2012, the UK magazine Eastern Eye placed her first on their "World's Sexiest Asian Women" list,[221][222] and she was featured on Verve '​s list of most powerful women in 2009 and 2010.[223][224] Chopra was ranked first on the Times of India '​s list of the 50 most-desirable women in 2008, and third the following year.[225] Chopra was named "India's Best-Dressed Woman of the Year" by People, and Maxim selected her as "Hottest Girl of the Year" in 2011.[3] The following year, she was declared the most influential Indian on the social-media circuit in a survey conducted by Pinstorm.[226]

Priyanka Chopra in 2012
Chopra on the ramp for Mijwan fashion show in 2012

Chopra was declared queen of brand endorsements in India, ranking second in on the list of brand ambassadors of 2008 (after Shah Rukh Khan) in a survey conducted by AdEx India.[227] Manish Porwal of Alchemist Talent Solutions said in 2012 that Chopra was a stable and dependable brand endorser, and many brands renewed their contract with her.[45] Chopra has represented many brands, including Pepsi, Nokia, Garnier and Nestlé; she was the first female representative of Hero Honda.[45][228] Like several popular actresses, she featured in advertisements for Lux soap.[229] Chopra was criticised for her involvement with Saif Ali Khan and Neha Dhupia in a 2008 advertisement for Pond's "White Beauty" cream that shows Chopra losing Khan's affections to paler-skinned Dhupia, but winning him back after with the use of the cream that whitened her complexion.[230] Chopra appeared on the inaugural cover of India's edition of Maxim,[231] and she and three other Bollywood actors (Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol and Hrithik Roshan) had their likenesses made into a series of miniature dolls for Hasbro and the UK-based Bollywood Legends Corporation.[232] In 2009, Chopra became the first Indian actress to cast a foot impression at the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum in Florence, Italy, and she received custom-designed shoes from the Ferragamo house.[2] In 2013, she became the first Indian model to represent Guess, whose CEO Paul Marciano called her "the young Sophia Loren".[233] She later on collaborated with rapper-producer Dr. Dre to promote Beats Pill XL portable Bluetooth speaker with her third single "I Can't Make You Love Me".[234] Chopra later on teamed-up with Nokia MixRadio to promote her third single video and to back the global music streaming service in India.[235]

Chopra became the first Indian actress to feature in a school text book. Her life is described in a chapter of Roving Families, Shifting Homes, a book taught at Springdales School. The book also includes pictures of her family and the moment she was crowned Miss World in 2000.[236]

Chopra is particularly known in the Indian media and film industry for her professionalism[237] and is often referred as "Piggy Chops", a nickname given her by co-stars on the set of Bluffmaster! in 2005.[238] Although she is known for her media-friendly attitude, Chopra is reticent to discuss details of her personal life in public.[20][239] She has had a Twitter account since January 2009, and has the greatest number of followers of any Indian actress;[45] her website, iampriyankachopra.com, went online in August 2010.[239]

According to her former secretary Prakash Jaju, Chopra signed an agreement a month after winning the Miss World title in which she agreed to pay him 10 per cent of her fee for every film, stage show and advertisement.[240] Chopra terminated her contract with him in 2003, because of negative interference in her life.[241] In 2004, Jaju allegedly filed a case in a Mumbai court against Chopra, demanding INR13.7 million (US$221,940) for outstanding fees and threatening to expose aspects of her private life.[240][241] After several years of complaints being filed by both parties, Jaju was arrested in 2008 for allegedly sending Chopra obscene messages and the High Court cleared Chopras of the charges.[242]

Filmography and awards

Selected filmography

Awards and nominations

Among Chopra's film awards are a National Film Award for Best Actress for Fashion (2008)[75] and four Filmfare Awards: Best Female Debut for Andaaz (2003), Best Performance in a Negative Role for Aitraaz (2004), Best Actress for Fashion[42] and Critics Award for Best Actress for 7 Khoon Maaf (2011).[94]

Discography

As lead artist
Title Year Peak chart positions Certifications Album
CAN
[243]
US
Dance Club

[243]
US
Dance Elec

[243]
"In My City"
(featuring will.i.am)
2012  — N/A
"Exotic"
(featuring Pitbull)
2013 74 12 16
"I Can't Make You Love Me" 2014 28
As featured artist
Title Year Album
"Erase"
(The Chainsmokers featuring Priyanka Chopra)
2012 N/A
Other appearances
Track Year Album Notes
"Ullathai Killathe" 2002 Thamizhan Tamil song
"Chaoro (Lori)" 2014 Mary Kom Hindi song

Footnotes

  1. ^ a b At the time, the second place contestant of Femina Miss India was given the title "Miss India World" and sent to the Miss World competition, whereas the first place contestant was sent to Miss Universe, and third place to Miss Asia Pacific International.[23][24]

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