If anyone thought they could catch Priyanka Chopra playing a mentally challenged girl in Anurag Basu's Barfi, they are in for a disappointment. Priyanka is much too nervous to perform in front of onlookers. She has made it clear she needs optimum privacy for this part. For an actress who has braved through the toughest sequences of love-making and violence in Saat Khoon Maaf in the presence of a full crew, this need for seclusion is a startling departure from the norm.
But this is no ordinary role of a mentally challenged girl. Priyanka took extra time to prepare. Those close to her say she has been withdrawn tense and edgy for the last two weeks.
Says Priyanka's business manager, "She has been tense lately. She has not been going out or entertaining friends."
The pall of silence apparently fell on Priyanka after she began meeting people suffering from the mental condition that her character in Barfi suffers from. Says a source from the team, "It freaked Priyanka out. She simply stopped meeting her friends. She first had to digest the enormity of the mental condition and then understand how to project it without seeming to act."
Most of her recent roles have required Priyanka to get into an aggressively performing mould for the camera. For Barfi she needs to go the other way. Says the source from Burfi, "She needs to look like she is not acting. That is the brief from Anurag Basu."
No one will be allowed on the set when Priyanka Chopra starts shooting for Barfi in Mumbai. Only the skeletal crew will be present when she does her first scene with Ranbir for Barfi.
Known to play audacious never-done-before characters, Priyanka Chopra suddenly got cold feet about her role of a physically challenged woman in Barfi.
For the first time in her career Priyanka has cancelled shooting to give herself more time to prepare for the very complicated part. The shooting was to commence on March 11 but then got pushed to March 24.
Says a source, "No one except leading man Ranbir Kapoor, director Anurag Basu and the cameraman will be allowed to be around when Priyanka begins shooting on Thursday.
Says a source close to Barfi, "It's very strange. But the first stint of Priyanka's two new films Agneepath and now Barfi both got cancelled. In the case of Barfi, she personally asked director Anurag Basu to postpone the shooting. She was that nervous about it. She has never been this way about any of her roles before."
Apparently, the shooting was to begin with a very complex sequence for Priyanka on March 11.
Priyanka just didn't feel she was prepared for the part.
Says a source, "Priyanka just didn't want to play the mentally challenged girl by using the normal tools of self-expression. As Anurag has written the part, the girl Priyanka plays suffers from a very subtle psychological disorder. It took Priyanka some time to understand her character's mental disability. She needed more time to get into character. She asked for the shooting to be postponed."
According to sources she still doesn't feel she's ready. But Barfi can't wait any more.
After the first day's shooting, Siddharth Roy Kapoor of UTV, who is producing the film exulted, "It was great, super-charged atmosphere. Both Ranbir Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra were really enthusiastic. And Anurag Basu was happy to be back shooting. We all think we're on to something special."
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