Actor Priyanka Chopra in a new interview reflected on playing a ‘sexual predator’ very early in her career, in the hit film Aitraaz. She also admitted that in hindsight, a culturally appropriate actor should have played boxing icon Mary Kom in the biopic.

In the latest edition of Vanity Fair’s ongoing video series in which actors dissect their careers, Priyanka spoke about the most pivotal moments in her professional life, from winning the Miss World pageant as a teenager to appearing in The Matrix Resurrections.

Her first Hindi film was Aitraaz, a ‘remake’ of the Hollywood hit Disclosure, and the actor said that not everybody was on board with her decision to play a negative role so early in her career. She said, “At that time, big heroines who’d be in the mainstream commercial movies, had to be a lot more coy, pure, good girls. Versus my character in Aitraaz, who was a bad b**ch. At that time, it was a lot.”

She continued, “Because my character was a sexual predator, and I was 21 or 22, and people were like, ‘If you play such a sexually charged character, I don’t know if your audience will be able to see you as the dream girl’.” Priyanka described her character as ‘the girl you want to take to your parents versus the one you want to take to your bed’. She said that she was ‘shocked’ with the kind of positive reception that she got after the movie, and was particularly surprised when all the attention was on her after the premiere, despite the film featuring bigger stars than her.

Priyanka Chopra described working with Mary Kom and boxing coaches from Manipur as fun.

About Mary Kom, Priyanka said that the film still holds a special place in her heart because of the time she got to spend with the boxer. But she admitted that she looks nothing like her. “In hindsight,” Priyanka said, “The part should have probably gone to someone from the Northeast. But I was just greedy as an actor to get a chance to tell her story, because as a woman, she inspired me so much.”

Priyanka’s casting in the film was controversial even back then, and in recent months has been criticised by her co-star in the film, Lin Laishram.

Priyanka broke into Hollywood with a starring role in the ABC series Quantico. She will next be seen in the romantic comedy Text For You, and then in the Amazon Prime Video series Citadel. She will make a comeback to Bollywood in the upcoming Jee Le Zaraa.

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