Shekhar Kapoor, by far the most well-known Indian filmmaker outside India, is full of praise for what Priyanka Chopra has achieved in the West. When I caught up with the self-proclaimed gypsy, Shekhar enthused wholeheartedly on the topic of Ms Chopra’s international success.
“It is fabulous! What she has done in the West is broken through the glass wall of prejudice and cynicism to prove that an Indian actor need not settle for the second-best. She was very clear from the beginning that if she was going abroad she wasn’t going to settle for leftovers. A number of Indian actors have done whatever has come their way, and that’s fine. It’s good to broaden one’s horizon even in a limited space. But for Priyanka, that limited space was not enough,” says Shekhar as he once again gets ready to travel out of India.
A true global citizen, Shekhar has seen and experienced first-hand the prejudices that Asians have to face in America and Europe. “I remember when I first went to England to make a film they weren’t even sure I could speak English. Now, look at her! She plays roles that do not play on her Indianness. And she doesn’t have to speak in a singsong accent.”
Shekhar is impressed by Ms Chopra’s swift strides across West. “She is in it for the long innings. Her serial…what is it called? Quantico features her as a main lead. The films that she’s doing also give her ample room to make her presence felt. Like I said, she was very sure of what she wanted and she remained steadfast and focused, accepted only those projects in the West that allowed her to grow. I admire her grit and determination. I don’t think any other Indian actor has made the impact that she has in the West.”