Priyanka Chopra: ‘Indian Actors Are Not A Joke’

Priyanka Chopra is making great strides for herself and paving the way for other Indian actors to take on more serious and less stereotypical roles in Hollywood, but the Quantico actress feels there’s still much more work to do in bringing true diversity to Hollywood. In making her acceptance speech at the International Indian Film Academy, where she won the award for Best Supporting Actress, Priyanka expressed her gratitude but also suggested that she had hoped to see change happen faster in Hollywood.

Priyanka Chopra Says She’s Still Very New To Life As A Hollywood Star

Ms. Chopra isn’t just speaking of her hope for diversity when she says there’s still a long way to go in Hollywood. The Quantico actress points out that she’s only been a part of the Hollywood filmmaking industry for a little over a year.

“I may be on the cover of Time [Magazine] because of 100 most influential, People’s Choice Awards, Teen Choice Awards but I think there is such a long way to go,” says Priyanka.

Chopra isn’t alone as an Indian actress breaking barriers in mainstream Hollywood -Deepika Padukone will make her Hollywood debut alongside Vin Diesel in xXx: The Return of Xander Cage– and Priyanka couldn’t be happier about it. She says that she hopes to see many more performers casting aside their misconceptions in favor of exploring career options on a more global scale. That means Priyanka would like to see as many American actresses in Bollywood films, just as she hopes for more Indian actresses in American cinema.

That being said, however, Ms. Chopra doesn’t want to see Indian actors cast in stereotypical roles.

“To convince another part of the world that Bollywood is not just jokers who break into song and dance was very difficult,” says Ms. Chopra. “I’m literally ploughing the ground and making people understand that Indian actors are not a joke.”

Baywatch Actress Priyanka Chopra Says Indian Films Are Ready For Global Competition

The Baywatch actress may be experiencing a thriving Hollywood career, but that doesn’t mean she’s turned her back on the Indian film industry. To the contrary, Ms. Chopra still maintains a prolific career in India as well, and she proudly touts the achievements of the Indian filmmaking industry to the rest of the world. During her International Indian Film Academy acceptance speech, Priyanka drew attention to the fact that 40 percent of the Bollywood film business comes from outside the country.

“We want our brains to be stimulated, we want to be entertained, otherwise we’ll not watch it,” says Ms. Chopra in pointing out that India’s population constitutes a large percentage of the world’s movie-going audience. “So now content is king, content is most important because now Indian films are also competing with content from around the world.”

She adds that big studios, like Walt Disney, Twentieth Century Fox, and Warner Bros., are all doing business in India, so that should be an encouragement to Indian filmmakers to expand their horizons as well. Chopra says that such collaborations won’t mean an end to locally produced Hindi films, but, instead, can only add to the wealth of talent and art in her homeland of India.

As for herself, Priyanka says she still wants to maintain a presence in India, as well as in America, hoping to do another film in Hollywood, before returning home to India, where she hopes to make another film there. Of course, that all depends on whether or not Ms. Chopra can find a role that appeals to her interests.

“I always look for the same thing which is a story that I would want to go watch and a character that would inspire me and women around the world,” says Baywatch‘s Priyanka Chopra.

Baywatch will premiere in theaters on May 19, 2017.

[Image by IIFA – Pool/Getty Images]