Priyanka Chopra: From Reluctance to the Pinnacle of Success
Priyanka Chopra the 'desi girl' of Bollywood and a versatile actress of the film industry, well it doesn't end here, she is a singer, film producer, philanthropist and the Miss world 2000 pageant. priyanka Chopra is one of India's highest-paid actress and also she is the most popular celebrities, Priyanka has received numerous awards, including a National Film Award and Filmfare Awards, for her amazing role and superb acting in five categories. In 2016, the Government of India honoured her with the Padma Shri, which is the fourth highest civilian award. Forbes listed Priyanka among the World's 100 most powerful women in 2017.
People who heard her sing thought she had the talent, but she was also afraid of attempting to become a singer, especially at a time when her acting career was slowly taking off. Perhaps it went back to her childhood fear of being picked to sing often. “I was always one of those students in the class who would be asked to go and sing in front of the class to entertain everyone whenever a teacher was not around,” she said in an interview.
There were other offers for her to sing, but Priyanka always seemed shy. One of the major Bollywood music personality who heard Priyanka’s voice and realized that she definitely had something in her was her friend and composer/singer Vishal Dadlani.
“Priyanka is someone who goes above and beyond, with sheer determination and hard work,” Vishal says. “She can do anything she chooses to, and singing is just one among her facets. She has a natural gift, a smoky, husky tone of voice. We recorded her for a song—that eventually wasn’t used because she didn’t feel ready—in Bluffmaster! in 2004 or 2005. It was a jam in the studio, with Shekhar (Vishal’s partner Shekhar Ravjiani) and I composing/producing on the fly, and Priyanka dropping her vocals in, quite effortless, really. It was a song of love and loss, and the lyrics were mine. Between Rohan Sippy, Shekhar and I, we convinced her to do it over a few days of insisting that only she would sing that one.”
Flash forward to 2010 and in California, Anjula (Acharia, celebrity manager) was trying to explore on her own whether Priyanka Chopra could be made into a global singer. She called her contacts in India only to discover that Salim and Sulaiman Merchant had also recorded a demo with Priyanka. And she got a copy of that recording and played it for Iovine and David Joseph, Chairman, and CEO of Universal Music UK. The group decided to go to India to meet Priyanka. "Priyanka is an idea,” Iovine later told The Los Angeles Times. “You get it within 30 seconds.”
At first, Anjula tried calling Priyanka Chopra. When she was filming 7 Khoon Maaf and she was not sure if she took her first call seriously she says. “I had to stalk her for months because she would not take my call. I love to tease her about it now, but she really made it hard.” Later speaking to HuffPost Live.
Priyanka laughed and responded to the stalking part by saying, “In my defense, I was in a really intense movie at that time and actors get like that sometimes.” The truth is that if Anjula had not been persistent, there would have been no Quantico, none of this media hype, talk show appearances, magazine cover stories, red carpets, appearances at the United Nations, invites to powerhouse galas, no listings of Priyanka as a powerful, influential woman, the hottest next thing. She would still be in Bollywood doing her regular work. She would have perhaps reached the peak of her career like several actresses before her—Juhi Chawla, Rani Mukherjee, Madhuri Dixit, Preity Zinta, Karishma Kapoor—married now, with children, but desperately hoping for a big break to make a comeback in an industry that is not too kind to actresses who cross the mid-30 age cut-off point.
In February 2012, Priyanka signed up with Creative Artists Agency—one of Hollywood’s leading talent agencies. She was represented by David Tagioff who was earlier a director at DesiHits.com. Three years later, a little after Priyanka’s TV show Quantico was launched, she switched to William Morris Endeavor Entertainment.
Some years ago, it would have been hard to imagine an Indian actor making it this far in the US market. In this new journey, there have been some major misses and the road was initially rather choppy for Priyanka Chopra, but there were also some hits, and then it seemed there was no looking back for her. Despite the news on May 11, that Quantico has been cancelled, she still has a solid chance to make a comeback in the West. As Karan Johar says, “She is our hugest crossover success story. I think with everyone else when they cross, it is over only.”