WION New Delhi, Delhi, India
Dec 26, 2017, 07.58 PM
Dressed in a red jumpsuit, Priyanka Chopra looked every bit of a superstar as she took center stage to speak at Penguin Annual Lecture on Tuesday evening in the capital. The actress spoke about breaking the glass ceiling and how she chased her dream and became a successful global star.
While the night was mostly about how her successful career and she being able to challenge a whole lot of stereotypes, the conversation also veered towards the raging issues of this year- the Padmavati row and the 'Me Too' movement.
Priyanka mostly played safe while commenting on the issues and even explained that why Indian celebrities choose to keep mum about such things.
When a senior journalist prodded her to comment on the controversy around the release of Padmavati, PC stated that she supported Sanjaya Leela Bhansali and Deepika Padukone and hoped that the film would release. “ I did call them up and speak to them,” Priyanka said and added, "I hope that the film releases. And can be viewed by everyone else.”
When she was asked why she chose not to make a statement publicly on the issue, Priyanka said, “Because I as an individual feel used when my quote is run as a ticker on news channels. Have you not seen? The polarisation that happens not just in terms of religion but gender as well in this country- why are such questions asked to only actors and not to government authorities and politicians? What can an actor do to change what’s happening in the country? I am as much a member of this civil society as you.” Priyanka was referring to the whole anti-National debate that had ensued in 2016 against Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan for commenting on the polarisation that has taken place in the country.
“I can have an opinion but I should not be pushed to a corner and made a scapegoat for it," the actress said.
When she was reminded how in Hollywood, actresses have come forward to speak out on issues- Priyanka said that there is a cultural difference in America which allows one to speak out. “Meryl Streep could speak out against Trump because that’s how the culture is. In India, we are very different. There are certain cultural boundaries here and we must respect that.”
The actress also believed that the ‘Me Too’ movement did not just cater to Americans but had an impact globally. Did she ever face anything similar here in India? “I am very feisty. People get scared of me,” the actress said but admitted, “Yes I have been thrown out of films because someone else has been recommended. A girlfriend of the actor or the director was recommended instead- that’s an abuse of power. I couldn’t do anything about it because I did not have the power nor did I cater to the whims and fancies of certain powerful men, so I did lose out on projects."
The actress pointed out that often women who have faced sexual harassment cannot speak out because they do not have enough support. “I urge such women to have someone who can stand with them at corner and give them strength to speak out.”