Priyanka Chopra, a well-known actor who debuted in the Hindi film industry in 2002, is determined to bring about change and steer things in the right direction. She quickly rose to fame and became one of the most prominent female stars of her generation, but eventually felt “cornered” in Bollywood and transitioned to pursuing a career in the West.
Recently, she spoke out about facing opposition in the Hindi film industry, which led to her being excluded from movies and ultimately pushed her towards pursuing opportunities in the West. This has reignited discussions about the film industry’s politics, nepotism, gatekeeping, and cliques.
In an interview with indianexpress.com, Priyanka Chopra shared her thoughts on how to create a safe space for outsiders in Bollywood, particularly those without a film family as a safety net. She believes that change begins with dismantling internal politics that often influence casting decisions in movies. Currently, she is awaiting the release of her upcoming mega series Citadel on Prime Video.
“I think having conversations around opportunity and merit is important. Now that we are living in the world of streaming, there is so much more. The Hindi film industry has changed so much in the last five to ten years. You have so many talent – writers, directors, actors that come from outside the industry. When I first started, that was not the case, at all. So I think having conversations around the fact that the workplace should be merit based, that the workplace should be a positive environment, that casting should be a casting director’s job instead of the politics and the drama,” Priyanka stated.
Priyanka Chopra, who shifted to the US and secured roles in popular projects such as the TV series Quantico (2015) and movies like Baywatch and The Matrix Resurrections, emphasized the importance of merit over favoritism for creating a safe work environment in the industry. She pointed out that the influx of outsiders in the industry today is the result of her generation of actors’ fight for equal opportunities based on talent.
According to Priyanka, it is crucial to acknowledge that everyone deserves an equal chance to succeed, regardless of their background or connections. She believes that talent and hard work should be the only criteria for success in the industry, and casting decisions should not be influenced by internal politics or personal biases.
“I think having those conversations is really, really important so that there are no camps that actually rule casting and it is done because of merit and because of audiences wanting to watch people. I am so excited to be able to see so many new faces from outside (of the film industry) and different parts of the country who have come in to mainstream Hindi language entertainment. It gives me such a joy, to be able to see that in my own career. And that happened because my generation of actors fought for it,” the actress added.
During a previous appearance on the Armchair Expert podcast with Dax Shepherd, Priyanka had disclosed that she felt “cornered” in Bollywood and had some unresolved issues with certain individuals in the industry. While she did not mention any names, her claims were significant, as she stated that she was “not good at playing that game” and was exhausted by the “politics” involved.
Priyanka’s comments shed light on the negative aspects of the industry, such as the presence of internal politics and the pressure to conform to certain norms to succeed. Her candid admission reflects the need for systemic change in the industry to create a more inclusive and fair work environment for all aspiring actors.
“I was being pushed into a corner in the industry (Bollywood). I had people not casting me, I had beef with people, I am not good at playing that game so I kind of was tired of the politics and I said I needed a break. This music thing gave me an opportunity to go into another part of the world, not crave for the movies I didn’t want to get but I would require to schmooze certain clubs and cliques of people. It would require groveling and I had worked a long time by then that I didn’t feel like I wanted to do it,” she had stated.
Starring Priyanka Chopra as the skilled spy Nadia Sinh and Game of Thrones alum Richard Madden as Mason Kane, Citadel is an upcoming globe-trotting series. Produced by AGBO, owned by filmmakers Joe and Anthony Russo, and helmed by showrunner David Weil, the highly ambitious spy thriller is scheduled to premiere on April 28th.
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