Bollywood's Priyanka Chopra targets stereotypes in Hollywood

Thu Aug 1, 2013 8:57pm EDT
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By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra has a higher mission than just making it in Hollywood: she wants to break down stereotypes of Indians in Tinseltown's eyes and maybe make things easier for her compatriots who live in the United States.

Here's her first lesson: "We don't travel on elephants, there aren't any snake charmers on the side of the road, everybody doesn't talk like Apu from 'The Simpsons,'" the actress says, with a bit of a laugh.

Chopra, 31, is one of the biggest stars to emerge in Indian film in recent years, alongside Bollywood heavyweights Shah Rukh Khan and Hrithik Roshan, with big budget franchises such as "Krrish" and "Don." She has also won plaudits for taking on unconventional roles, most recently playing an autistic woman in 2012's "Barfi!"

But in her latest role as an eye-catching animated racing airplane in Disney's global adventure "Planes," Chopra said she is hoping to cross the boundaries of Bollywood to Hollywood.

"This is a very global movie. You have characters from all across the world, and I think for kids, it's great to understand that there's so many different kinds of culture and people out there," the actress told Reuters on Thursday.

Chopra first rose to fame in 2000, winning the Miss World beauty pageant and transitioning into Bollywood film. But the journey has not come easily for the actress, who said she had to learn the ropes of acting.

"I was 17 years old, I didn't know anything. I just went with my gut and I wanted to take a chance," she said, adding "I've made so many mistakes along the way."

Chopra is currently in production on a biopic about Indian Olympic boxing champion Mary Kom, and learning to box herself, Chopra said the role was "the most difficult film I've ever done."   Continued...

Cast member Priyanka Chopra poses during a photocall to promote the movie "Don - The King is back" at the 62nd Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin February 10, 2012. REUTERS/Thomas Peter