She remembers being bullied as a “brownie” in her teenage years in the US. But now, Priyanka Chopra, who has landed a key role in American thriller show Quantico, hopes her new endeavour opens more doors for Indian actors to be taken seriously in the west.
“The fact that Quantico happened was a big win. I just hope it is successful because I really think that it would make a dent in Indian actors being taken seriously,” says Priyanka. Commenting on her debut in the US TV series, the 32-year-old says that she agreed to work in the show only on a condition.
“The fact that she is an Indian should have nothing to do with the story. ‘I am an actor, so cast me as an actor’ (was my point)… They indeed found me a part where I play a half-Indian, half-Caucasian FBI agent. I play an American girl, I have an American accent, and it’s nothing related to the stereotyped image of Indians. We are beyond the exorcism, spirituality and yoga … it’s there, which is great, but that’s not it,” says the actor.
Some of her past memories of the US, when she went to study there, are sour. “I was bullied a lot when I was in school in America. A lot of racism happened with me… which is why I came back. I was in high school, only 16 years old. I was called ‘Brownie’ and they said ‘Brownie, go back on the boat you came from’ and things like that,” she says, adding, “So, when the opportunity of working in the west started coming in, starting with my music, I really wanted to try and bring relevance to Indian talent,” she adds. The actor says it is important for her that Indian talent be recognised.
“Our accent is made fun of, and we all do not speak like that! We all do not smell of curries, we all are not just nerds who are ugly looking, sitting behind computers… Why do we have Indians stereotyped? We are very proud of our big families, but that doesn’t mean that you will see 15 people coming out of one car. My point is that in global pop culture we are represented like that. I wanted to break that stereotype.