It was immediately after I got a call saying, ‘Call Priyanka Chopra in five minutes’ that I sat down in front of my laptop and searched for the Taurus (that’s my sign) and Cancer (that’s Priyanka’s) compatibility for Sunday the 6th of September 2009. This is what it read: ‘The Cancer adds to this union more sensuality and imagination. Both are passionate and do not need any extraneous help to be pleased by each other. The Taurus is capable to understand changes in the mood of the Cancer, and can help to smooth the problems, if such appear. The Taurus is usually an attentive person. The Cancer is responsive. The understanding of each other problems will help the existence of pleasant connection. A successful marriage.’
Now that’s something which I couldn’t have imagined in my wildest dream. But after reading this, I imagine. I imagine a world turning upside down, butterflies walking the road, cars flying across the sky and I cooking some lovely scrambled eggs with toast and freshly squeezed orange juice for my imaginable wife Priyanka Chopra. My phone rings again and a voice shouts, ‘Call Priyanka Chopra now.’ For a second I imagine, ‘I ain’t that lucky one nor a star….it’s her.’ UK’s Harrow Observer columnist and Bollywood Hungama‘s London correspondent Devansh Patel gets talking to the statuesque starlet Priyanka Chopra on her twelve diverse roles in a film which questions – What’s Your Raashee? which may re-define the word ‘acting’.
Are you ready for the not so clichÃ© questions?
(Laughs) Hoping so. You can keep on asking the questions and I’ll tell you if I’ve heard it or not.
So let’s start with a clichÃ© then. What’s your star sign Priyanka?
(Laughs) I’m a Cancerian.
How does your horoscope read today?
It says that my next week is going to be very good and I’ll be travelling. Today it says that I will be more relaxed which is far from what I’m feeling at the moment (laughs).
How do you make someone fall in love with a Cancerian woman?
You just have to get along.
Oh! Is that a hint?
Yes it is, to all the Baxter boys out there (laughs).
People increasingly comment on what strange times we are living in. Do you have any thoughts, from an astrological point of view, on why things seem to be more harried or crisis-oriented than the usual?
I think times are such that we complicate our own lives. Life has become very fast and from a logical point of view, I’ve certainly not become an astrologer post this film. I don’t know much about star signs. I’ve reached a point in life where I have to keep pace with life itself. I’m constantly running around and you can see that. Life is complicated a bit (laughs).
I’ve reached a point in life where I have to keep pace with life itself
When you won Miss World, there were more fireworks seen in the sky than the stars. From that day on, do you think stars have got a special place in your life?
Well, I’m constantly surrounded by them in the film industry (laughs). Besides that, while I was filming for What’s Your Raashee, I did start thinking about and believing in the zodiac signs.
Were you given any research material to work on?
I wasn’t given any sort of research material but I did land up buying a book in October 2008 by author Linda Goodman titled Sun Signs and Love Signs for my research. I play twelve different characters and I do feel that the responsibility is mine. A lot of the research was done by Ashutosh Gowariker but once the script is given to me, it depends a lot on me to add more to it.
Come to think of it, this film is going to appeal a lot more to all the communities as they will find their answer – a perfect bride.
(Laughs) The film is about a Gujarati world and it’s real. It’s about an NRI boy who comes into India and is forced to marry in ten days. Arrange marriages happen in India almost everyday. So if some find their answers, good for them.
Is this Ashutosh’s biggest gamble?
I think with every film he feels that. I remember when Ashu sir told me, ‘It’s my most difficult film ever.’
How much of Mr Yogi has influenced your film?
Mr Yogi was also derived from a book called ‘Kimball Ravenswood’ written by Madhu Rye, a Gujarati US based citizen and when Ashu sir saw a Gujarati play titled ‘A Suitable Bride’, is when he got inspired to do the film. So he went back to the source and started to adapt both, the book and the play, into the film. That one book has actually been a source of theatre, book and a film now.
When Ashu sir saw a Gujarati play titled ‘A Suitable Bride’, is when he got inspired to do the film
Darshan Jariwala quotes, ‘Priyanka has surpassed her previous best, Fashion, in What’s Your Raashee‘ How diversely challenging was it to play the twelve different characters?
What’s Your Raashee has been the most difficult film in my career so far. You know when people play multiple characters, they have structures, they are from different parts of the world, sometimes they are a twenty year old and then become a forty year old in the same film, some with eyes small, etc. I have no clutches. All the girls I play in the film are in the age group of eighteen and twenty four. Only one of my role is shown where I play a fifteen year old. None of them are caricatures and all of them are Gujarati’s by caste and are marriage material. Besides that, everything else is modulation, body language and performance. That is the most challenging part.
What’s Your Raashee has been the most difficult film in my career so far
There are also five different styles of dancing in the film, right?
Yes, there are. I had to learn Jazz because my character of Mallika Desai who plays the Leo girl is a trained dancer. I had to even look as a formal dancer. There is also garba. There are various dance forms to suit the flavour of many of the girls in the film.
During Fashion, you said that you will never be able to surpass the kind of role you’ve played. Now comes What’s Your Raashee where people are talking about your performance. Anything going to surpass this one?
Every time I say that it won’t I end up surpassing my previous best (laughs). I’m actually looking forward to one film in particular which releases next year which may surpass my What’s Your Raashee? role. The film is still not finalised.
Will the film break even?
Of course it will, and even better I hope. Every character comes from a certain type of Raashee, a zodiac sign. This is a story of a common man and his problems. It’s a story of how he chooses girls. There is nothing heavily oriented in the film. It’s a light hearted breezy flick which you can watch with your grand parents, girl friend, boy friend or family.
Have you ever been insecure promoting any of your films?
Never, because once it comes on board, every film of mine is a Mughal-E-Azam, whether it does well or not, I stand by it.
Once it comes on board, every film of mine is a Mughal-E-Azam
What words would you like to leave our readers with?
Well, the fact that I’ve put my blood and soul into What’s Your Raashee (laughs). The film is very entertaining. I’ve represented twelve different Raashee’s in a correct and a good way. I honestly want to know the feedback on that.
Let me finish with a clichÃ© one too. Do you believe in Astrology or Tarot, etc?
(Laughs). I don’t believe in them nor do I follow them. But for the pure fun of it, yes. My scientific mind does not allow me to believe that how can the entire human species be divided into twelve parts or twelve different kinds of people? There are thousands of them who are brought up in the most remote places of the globe and you’re telling me that all the Cancerians are alike. I don’t buy that.