She once said that she wants the world, and it seems 2016 helped her get a few steps closer to her dream. The year saw Priyanka Chopra becoming the first South Asian to win a People’s Choice Award, followed by presenting Oscar and Emmy awards, being invited to the annual White House Correspondents Dinner and was also conferred India’s fourth-highest civilian honour, the Padma Shri.
“I feel that I am destiny’s favourite child,” Priyanka told IANS in an interview earlier this year. And she didn’t mean it for nothing.
Priyanka’s journey in showbiz started when, at 17, she was crowned Miss World — a title that no other Indian girl has brought back to the country. The Bareilly-born talent forayed into Bollywood in 2003 with “The Hero: Love Story of a Spy”. After that, there was no looking back as she kept delivering the unexpected.
The year 2016 started for the actress on a brilliant note when she won the People’s Choice Award for her international acting debut as FBI agent Alex Parish in American TV thriller series “Quantico”. She is said to be the first South Asian actress to win the honour. The actress is also part of the second season of the show and also landed the big ticket to Hollywood with a negative role in “Baywatch”, which stars Dwayne Bravo and Zac Efron.
She again grabbed the headlines when she was named one of the presenters at the 88th Academy Awards and gave away the award in the Best Editing category. She also took to the Emmy stage as a presenter for the first time, and her red carpet statements this year have found mentions in leading international portals’ best-dressed lists too.
Her growing popularity in the US took her to chat shows with Jimmy Fallon, Ellen DeGeneres and Seth Meyers. Her name was also featured in Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World list alongside Oscar-winner Leonardo DiCaprio, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and singer Nicki Minaj, among others.
Priyanka’s humanitarian work also led her to be appointed a Unicef Global Goodwill Ambassador, and one of her biggest moments of fame was to be invited to the annual White House Correspondents Dinner with US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.
Being a person who is close to her roots, and who swears by her “Desi girl” tag, Priyanka never let the foreign sunshine in her life take light away from her career and life back home.
“India has always given me the opportunity on a global stage to represent the country — be it in Miss India or Miss World, when I was working in films, or at the international level.
“But I will say my evolution has happened along with the people I’ve met, the people I’ve spent my time with during the journey of my career. I won’t say I have transformed by going international, or because I have seen the world (as) evolution can happen anywhere.
“But the true evolution is that of the mind; so I think I’ve always wanted to do that,” Priyanka told the media recently when she was appointed brand ambassador of Assam Tourism here.
She was honoured for a supporting role in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s “Bajirao Mastani”, but it was the Padma Shri that she received from President Pranab Mukherjee which stood out.
Her mother Madhu Chopra, who plays a big role in her career and also partakes in the functioning of their home banner Purple Pebble Pictures, says she is “proud” of the fact that Priyanka achieved everything on her own.
“It’s all her own individual achievement and she has reached there with sheer dedication. She is recognised for her passion and dedication. Hard work is something everybody does, but not everyone is lucky enough to get recognised the world over,” Madhu told IANS.
As a mother, she is happy that her daughter is going places, but she hopes Priyanka also finds some time to enjoy herself in between her busy schedules.
“I hope she finds some time for herself now, take some time out to meet her friends, have a holiday and enjoy herself. I want to hear her laughter… It’s been very long that I have heard it. She had a bindass laughter once upon a time. Now she is so busy that she barely has time for herself,” she added.
The life of a star, as they say…
(Nivedita can be contacted at Nivedita.firstname.lastname@example.org)