‘I was scared to do Fashion’

As Madhur Bhandarkar’s much awaited film Fashion premieres in Dubai tonight, we catch up with Priyanka Chopra for an exclusive tete-a-tete

By Vijay Dandige

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Published: Wed 29 Oct 2008, 8:17 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 3:45 PM

She was never a model. She had never walked the catwalk. She came into limelight by winning beauty contests, first the Miss India World and later the Miss World itself. Then she became a Bollywood actress. Now seven years after her film debut, Priyanka Chopra plays the role of a model in her latest movie, Fashion.

Fashion carries the stamp of a typical Madhur Bhandarkar film: focusing on some aspect of real life. The film takes a peek at the goings on in the fashion industry. Those who have seen the film’s preview have heaped unstinted praise for Priyanka Chopra’s acting.

“When Madhur came to me with Fashion I really liked the concept. It seemed the ideal script for me,” Priyanka Chopra told City Times in an exclusive telephonic interview on the eve of the film’s release.

Still, she said she didn’t plunge headlong into the role. She had some reservations about it. “It took a while for me to understand what I wanted to do because it takes a lot of responsibility for a female actor to take this kind of film on her shoulders,” she said. “I knew I had to do this film but I was just scared: would I be able to do this film? There’re a lot of ups and downs in my character; there’s a lot of graph. So it took some time to convince myself. But once I was convinced so we just started.”

Model ambition

In the film Priyanka plays a small town girl named Meghana Mathur who has a burning ambition: to become a model. She comes to Mumbai and starts her journey. The film is about the rise and fall and re-birth of India’s number one supermodel, set against the glittering backdrop of the glamorous but ruthless world of haute couture fashion. The small town girl reaches the pinnacle of success only to realise, after her first brush with compromise, that success was the end of a tunnel that had asked for one price: herself. The film seeks to drive home the point: Be careful of what you wish for!

“In the film I myself wanted my character to look very different physically. When I actually came in the industry and now if you see my pictures, you’d see a lot of metamorphosis in me. So I wanted the same thing for my character,” the actress explained. “Experience teaches you everything. I had to lose around 5-6 kgs. It was easy for me to understand Meghana Mathur because Madhur very well knew what he wanted.”

It was Priyanka Chopra’s first film with Madhur Bhandarkar. She said she had met the director a couple of times and wanted to feature in his film. And during the filming they got along well with each other. “We’re very different from each other. He keeps joking and laughing on the set and I like a serious atmosphere. So in the beginning we had a bit of problem but we both understood our way of working after a point of time. We both compromised a bit with our ways of working,” she pointed out. “But it was great working with him. I don’t know why he’s making such serious films. Actually I think Madhur should make comedy films. He’s incredibly talented; he manages to get all kinds of emotions. He knows the pulse of the story and that’s what makes his films relate with the audience. He was a great driving force on the set.”

‘Kangana and Mughda are lovely girls’

Fashion is a women-oriented film and features three actresses, Priyanka Chopra, models Mugdha Godse and Kangana Ranaut. A surfeit of actresses in a movie can be a recipe for conflicts and catfights.

When asked about any disputes on the set, Priyanka Chopra laughed heartily. “Not at all. In fact, I got to know both Mughda and Kangana through the film. Both are such lovely girls. I also learnt Marathi from Mugdha who used to always correct my diction. Half of the crew including Mugdha and Madhur were Maharashtrian, so they used to help me with Marathi. Mugdha helped me a lot to shape my character: she taught me how to walk and she explained to me a model’s point of view.”

But what surprised Priyanka Chopra was that she got along well with Kangana, who plays the role of Sonali in the movie. “Kangana is very outlandish kind of a girl. But there is no doubt that she is very talented. She is pure raw talent,” the actress said. “She has got the right body structure of a model. I really had to work hard to get it but she just had it. And her wild mane and her style was just fantastic. People will find her performance mind blowing.”

Fashion also features Arjan Bajwa who plays a romantic lead opposite Priyanka Chopra. “He’s a typical Punjabi boy, as Punjabi as they come. He’s funny but a very good actor,” said the actress. “He knew his character very well. And more than anything else, he’s extremely focused and dedicated. Very professional. He used to sit with Madhur all the time and try to understand each and everything. It was great working with Arjan. As an actor I’m sure he'll do very well.”


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