Priyanka Chopra: Truly love Indian cinema, missed it while in US
The actor-producer tells us about her character in The Sky Is Pink, the real-life emotions behind the film, her return to Hindi films, and her upcoming wedding comedy with Mindy Kaling
Priyanka Chopra Jonas is excited about her return to Hindi films. In The Sky Is Pink, she plays Aditi Chaudhary, the mother of author and motivational speaker Aisha Chaudhary, who passed away aged 18 in 2015. The film is directed by Shonali Bose, and also stars Farhan Akhtar and Zaira Wasim.
Priyanka’s last Bollywood appearance was in Jai Gangaajal. She played the lead in the American drama series Quantico (2015-18) and acted in the Hollywood films Baywatch, A Kid Like Jake and Isn’t It Romantic?
In this interview, Priyanka chats with us about her character in The Sky Is Pink, the real-life emotions behind the film, her return to Bollywood, and her upcoming wedding comedy with Mindy Kaling.
When did you first discover the story of Aisha Choudhary and her family? What inspired you the most about their lives?
The script of The Sky is Pink came to me when I was in New York. What inspired me was the way they went about their lives, knowing their child is not going to survive and trying to celebrate the life that she lived. I’m not a mother so I cannot imagine what that would be like.
Everything in the film is an embodiment of how they are in real life — the tonality, the humour. To get to know and be able to tell their story is an amazing feeling. My character, Aditi, in real life, is a ferociously protective mother and I thought if I was ever in a situation like this, that’s the kind of mom I would want to be.
The trailer presented a happy snapshot of the Chaudhary family, despite the imminent tragedy.
The film and the real-life story of Aditi and Niren shows you how someone can deal with death or loss — not by mourning it, but rather celebrating the life lived before. I’m hoping after watching the film, people feel like calling their kids or their parents to tell them they love them.
The Sky Is Pink is your first Bollywood release since Jai Gangajaal. How does it feel to be back?
It feels amazing. I truly love Indian cinema and I did miss it while I was in the US. I couldn’t do a Hindi film earlier because with Quantico, I didn’t have the time or the bandwidth. I love the new wave of cinema in the country and how people are reacting to it.
Farhan had directed you in the Don franchise. Was it different co-starring with him in The Sky Is Pink?
It’s always great working with Farhan because I admire his sensibility. This film has been an emotional journey for all of us. I remember when I got the call for Don, I was physically doing cartwheels around my room but I was also very intimidated by him as a director. Farhan can do anything I feel — as an actor, director, musician — and he excels at it. It is his excellence that I admire the most and he really has the best jokes.
You’ve also co-produced The Sky Is Pink…
As an actor, after you make the movie, you just need to promote it. But as a producer, the responsibility of what you make matters. I was very clear that I wanted this to be Purple Pebble Pictures’ first Hindi co-production, and I’m very proud to have made this.
Zaira announced her departure from acting recently. Do you stand by her decision?
Her decision is a personal choice. She is an amazing actor and we will always wish her the best.
Your upcoming project with Mindy Kaling looks exciting. Tell us more about the outing.
I’m very excited about this one, I’m a huge huge Mindy Kaling fan and we had an interesting conversation over lunch. Somewhere my wedding and her connect with India came up and just like that it developed into a project. It is a comedy about the big fat Indian wedding and all that it brings with it, kind of inspired by my own wedding.