- Chopra says she was shocked at the attention her wedding to pop star Jonas got and she could feel the love and affection at two cultures coming together
- She is currently working on The White Tiger, a Netflix film set in India, with actor Rajkummar Rao and director Ramin Bahrani
When Priyanka Chopra, one of the most influential and most beautiful women on the planet, married American pop star Nick Jonas last year, the wedding caused the kind of media frenzy that's usually only associated with the nuptials of British royals.
However, the Indian actress, who at this year's Marrakech Film Festival in Morocco was honoured for her contribution to cinema, says she was surprised by the attention her marriage in Jodhpur, Rajasthan received a year ago.
"It was shocking," says the 37-year-old in an interview with the Post. "There were no cameras at our wedding and we only put out a few pictures the day after. So I don't know how it became so public," she chuckles. "I feel there was so much love and affection to the fact that two completely different cultures can come together in a very harmonious way."
Following our interview, Chopra introduced her 2015 epic historical romance, Bajirao Mastani by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, to an ecstatic crowd of 30,000 Moroccans on the Jemaa El Fnaa square.
"I love Morocco, I love Moroccan food, I love the Moroccan people," she says, "but I didn't know they can speak Hindi so well. I meet so many people who have conversations with me in Hindi. Some words in Arabic are similar.
"Next year it's going to be 20 years for me in the entertainment business, so I guess the tribute feels a little appropriate that it's happening right now. My 16-year-old self could never have imagined that I would be honoured in that way, or that I would have been able to have a career that has been prolific, or that people recognise my influence in the world of philanthropy."
At the age of 13, Chopra moved from India to live with her aunt and uncle in America. She says her parents, who are both doctors, had been accepting of this decision.
"I (told them I) wanted to experience this. I love experiencing different cultures; I love meeting different people. I feel in our world today, sometimes we're scared of difference. As soon as someone different comes in front of us we'd rather not offend them, so we create a sort of distance when we should create curiosity " especially in our kids. If you see something different, ask about it.
"I've always had this inquisitiveness, even if when I moved to the US it wasn't easy. I felt very different and I was bullied when I was at school. I went back to India because of it, and then my career started. Looking back now, maybe because I'm in my 30s and I'm more mature, I can see it taught me so much. When I came back to America this time I could understand the people and the culture much better because I went to school there."
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Other than Shonali Bose's The Sky Is Pink last year, the star of US TV series Quantico says that she hasn't worked a lot in Bollywood of late.
"Now, I'm shooting a Netflix film in India, The White Tiger with Rajkummar Rao and director Ramin Bahrani," she says of the film on which she is also an executive producer.
"It's based on Aravind Adiga's Man Booker Prize-winning bestseller. Nick (Jonas) flies down whenever he can. He loves coming to India, but because he's on tour right now he can't come for too long. So it's a lot of air miles and a lot of jet-lag," she says.
This year, Chopra has also filmed Robert Rodriguez's We Can Be Heroes, which co-stars Pedro Pascal of Game of Thrones and Narcos fame.
"Pedro and I had such fun. We had two days of working together and all we did was laugh. It's set in the world of kids and is a kids' superhero movie, like Spy Kids. I can't speak about my part so much but I don't play a superhero. I play the opposite of one."
A villain, maybe?
"A nemesis, let's say."
Chopra's honour at the film festival comes on the heels of her being awarded Unicef's Danny Kaye Humanitarian Award for her work as a Goodwill Ambassador for the organisation " a position she had held for more than a decade.
"I like doing a lot of field trips, and we're talking about where the next trip is going to be. I want to do one in India eventually, but we're also doing one somewhere else, maybe South America this time."
What is her most important concern? "I feel like it's education for the children of the world. There are so many displaced kids right now. There's a whole generation of children who will not have a chance at a future and (being displaced) makes them vulnerable to extremists and to radical ideas.
"We have to care about the children who are born into war, who are born into violence, even poverty and give them the opportunity to have a future."
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