Worked very hard to get the extra zeroes on my pay cheque: Priyanka Chopra

Priyanka Chopra at the Penguin Annual Lecture in New Delhi on Tuesday Photograph:( Twitter )

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Dec 27, 2017, 12.03 PM (IST) Written By: Shomini Sen

She is an inspiration to many, but she wears her many achievements lightly on her shoulders. On Tuesday, as Priyanka Chopra took center stage as a speaker at The Penguin Annual Lecture, crowds cheered, applauded and hung on to every word that she said. And she spoke about her career, her journey to the top, how she took risks to get Hollywood projects and why she chose not to make a public statement on Padmavati controversy in India.

The lecture that Priyanka Chopra delivered was motivational as the actress gave pointers on how to become a better version of one's own self. The lecture was followed by a chat session where a senior journalist asked her point of view on raging issues of 2017. 

Here are the highlights of the evening: 

On racism

Priyanka studied in America for a brief period and stated that she did face racism back in school. "Racism exists in a big way all over the world. Yes, I faced it in a big way when I was in high school. People used to me 'brownie'. They used to call me 'curry'. When I used to pass by they used to say 'can you smell the curry?'At that age you are vulnerable and you wonder what is wrong with me. 

Priyanka Chopra gave a motivational lecture on Tuesday in the capital. (Twitter)


On more South-Asian representation in Hollywood

Priyanka believes that there should be more South-Asian representation in the International entertainment industry. "South-Asian actors in international entertainment are still a novelty. At the after party at Emmys this year Riz Ahmed, Aziz Ansari and I were standing in one corner and eating. There were around 400 people in the room and we just realized that there were only 4 of us, South-Asians there. Aziz pointed out that 8 years earlier there was just one." Priyanka said, "We are making steps., .whether it's me, Riz, Aziz, Anil Kapoor, Irrfan- all the people who have gone out there and been successful with their work internationally, I pray and hope that that work bursts open the door for more talents from South-Asia. Because we deserve it. We are 1/5 the of the world's population and we should have better representation."

On Harvey Weinstein's of Bollywood

Steering clear of taking names, Priyanka admitted that she had lost out on projects because she never succumbed to power. "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."

On doing Hindi films again

"My last releases -Bajirao Mastani and Jai Gangajal- were two and a half years back. When did Hrithik's last film release? Why aren't the boys asked such question, why only actresses?" said Priyanka when she was asked why she is not featuring in Hindi films anymore. "I am still working. I need time to take up the right project- just like actors. Actors tend to take long breaks before signing new films, they aren't asked so much,"pointed out the actress. 

On being the only woman on Forbes Top 10 power list.

"I am very proud that I have reached a position where I can stand shoulder to shoulder with my male counterparts and feature in a Top 10 list in India but why aren’t there other women on that list?" asked the actress. "There are very few females, not just in India, but all over the world, who get to break that glass ceiling and get duly compensated for their work. Which comes as a certain entitlement for men," she added. 

Actress Priyanka Chopra on Tuesday said she was proud to "stand shoulder to shoulder with her male counterparts" as the "Baywatch" star weighed in on the gender pay gap in Bollywood during an event in New Delhi. (Reuters,ANI)


For not making any public statement on the raging Padmavati controversy

Priyanka said she had spoken to both Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Deepika Padukone when the controversy broke out but did not want to make a statement publicly about it because she felt her statements would be misconstrued. "I can have an opinion but I should not be pushed to a corner and made a scapegoat (for it)." The actress also pointed out that in America, actors like Meryl Streep could speak against the country's President because it was 'culturally different' from India. "We have certain boundaries here and we must respect that."

On marriage

'Mere layak ladka milna chahiye (I need to find a man who deserves me)" the actress quipped as she was asked about settling down. "My mother told me this long back that I should only be with a man who respects what all I have accomplished in my life.But I do want to get married and have cricket team of children."

Priyanka speaking at The Penguin Annual Lecture in New Delhi on Tuesday evening. (Twitter)


On the importance of training our boys right

"We live in patriarchal societies all over the world. We as citizens need to change our mindsets and teach our sons that respecting a woman makes you a real man, not when you tease one. When our sons know that, is when the generational change will come. It won't happen overnight, though. There shouldn’t be a world where women survive, there should be a world where women thrive."

On being unapologetic about her pay scale

Priyanka said she was very proud of the extra zeroes on her pay cheque. "I have worked very hard to get the extra zeroes on my pay cheque," said the actress and demanded the women need to be given the right remuneration for the work they do. "The boys are never asked this question. Their zeroes are ridiculous. Have you ever seen the zeroes that they get on their cheques? We should be celebrating that at least there's one girl who has gone out there,"pointed out Priyanka. "It was funny because there are so many people who talk about the kind of numbers that I apparently get for certain minutes of my time," she said, taking a dig at reports that she charged Rs 5 crore for her five-minute performance at the Zee Cine Awards earlier this month in Mumbai.

Hollywood vs Bollywood

Priyanka pointed out that culturally the two industries are different but the passion is the same. "We have the same producers, ADs working on the set. But culturally they are very different. They are very punctual. Everyone comes to the set on time, which I have a problem with," the actress added. 

On being a 'desi girl' at heart

Priyanka pointed out that it is very important for every individual to know his roots. "Always remember where you came from. I am a proud Indian, an Army ki beti, daughter of two Doctors with middle-class upbringing and ginormous families. We've seen good and bad times and that is what made me who I am," said the desi girl.