Never mind if her last release Salaam-e-Ishq didn't quite rock the box-office and never mind if she's still not snagged an assignment with the coveted YRF banner despite "bumping into the Chopras often", the erstwhile Miss World still has plenty to celebrate as she turned 25 on July 18. For she is the only female actor to seal a three-film contract with UTV and win herself corporate approval. Priyanka Chopra is back in the reckoning...Togged in a black shirt and denims when she meets us at a five-star restaurant on a wet, windy evening, she reveals her plans for the next 25 years of her starry life...
Why indeed should boys have all the fun, Priyanka! You seem to be having some good fun yourself with this three-film contract with UTV. What does that translate to?
I feel lucky, I feel great, for not too many female actors have had the opportunity to sign multiple-film deals with a corporate house. This contract gives me the creative liberty to participate in the conceptual stages of all the three projects. Although there is no clear outline about how I will participate, all I know for now is that my opinion will count.
Have you finalised any script, genre, cast or crew for any of the three films you will be featuring in?
Not yet, we are still talking...the discussion is pretty much in the formative stages.
Your endorsements will be looked after by Percept Talent Management(PTM), how many ads have you done with them so far?
PTM manages my endorsements and so far I have done a couple of commercials through them.
Did PTM make you the Lux girl?
The Lux campaign has been long overdue, we have been in talks since three years. I am proud to be a part of the Lux lineage, it has such a great heritage.
Doesn't all this corporate contracting come in the way of creativity? After all, we believe that best creative work emerges from chaos!
Quite the contrary, corporate management has brought in more professionalism to filmmaking. There has never been any dearth of talent or technique, where we lagged behind was in the money. With corporate funding, the budgets have increased manifold. While I agree with you that the birth of creativity takes place in chaos but for the execution of a creative idea - corporate discipline is required.
Were you disappointed with the outcome of your only release so far this year, Salaam-e-Ishq?
I was certainly taken by surprise because it was a very good film with great music. I am very proud of one-sixth of the film - I was in the film for that long only! Jokes apart, I feel Nikhil Advani is a very talented director and a great guy, I really wish for his sake that the film had been a big hit.
Any regrets about the first quarter?
None whatsoever! I want to do films that mean a lot to me, in the process I have been thumbing down too many scripts...I am going to regret some of that later, I am sure.
What's your best birthday gift?
I was only seven when I got the best birthday gift of my life, I had prayed for a younger brother and then he was born. Siddharth, my younger brother, turns 18 this year. It's an important year for both of us.
Hasn't your 18-year-old birthday gift grown horns by now? Younger brothers can be particularly pesky.
(Laughs) Oh yeah, he's pretty annoying at times but then I thought younger brothers were meant to be annoying. But he's very efficient in what he applies himself to, for instance he's very helpful in getting my gizmos working, he also very good with travel and bookings - he handles all of it for me. He's also very good at music and procures the best tracks for me.
Last time we spoke, you were shooting for Goldie Behl's Drona in Kuchamand Fort, Bikaner. Has the film been put on the slow burner?
We have an extended schedule coming up in September and October. I play Abhishek (Bachchan)'s bodyguard in it. It's a fantasy film, like a comic book coming alive.
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