Hindi Film 101: Priyanka Chopra and Shahrukh Khan

Apparently, this is going to be a story again.  So I will try to address it again.  The first time I tried, I got so much anger in the comments (by Priyanka defenders who misread it as the strawman version below) that I had to pull down the post, but maybe it will be better now.  Mostly because I will try to be more clear in my writing.

Usual Disclaimer: I don’t know these people, I have no special knowledge, this is just the story as it looks from the outside based on publicly available sources.

 

 

 

 

There’s no easy “truth” to this story.  I can start by giving the basic facts, and then the best I can do is the competing versions of what happened.

 

Priyanka Chopra and Shahrukh first officially costarred in Don in 2006.  At that time, Priyanka was only 3 years past her debut film, she had already interacted with Shahrukh at awards shows and so on, most actors past a certain level do interact, but there was no major story of them as close friends. The rumor that was dogging Priyanka at the time was that she had an affair with frequent co-star and married man Akshay Kumar until his wife put an end to it and forbade them from working together again.  Don was a hit and Priyanka and Shahrukh’s performances were appreciated, and their chemistry was noticed, but no more than that.  They continued to interact at the general industry events and share a group of friends, no more roles together and no rumors.

Image result for shahrukh priyanka don

Shortly after, Priyanka was widely rumored to have started a relationship with her co-star in Love Story 2050 (2008) and What’s Your Raashee?, failed producer’s son Harman Baweja.  After those relationship rumors died down, Priyanka was next rumored to have a relationship with her co-star in Kaminey (2009) Shahid Kapoor.

After Kaminey, Priyanka and Shahrukh began working on Don 2 (2011), which highlighted their chemistry in a way Don 1 did not.  And during the promotion tour, suddenly rumors started flying of an affair between them. An affair which caused his wife Gauri to blacklist her from the industry events, and Gauri’s good friend Karan to confront her, and so on.

Image result for shahrukh priyanka don

(They really did have phenomenal chemistry, on a whole other level from Don 1)

Shahrukh, whatever the reality is of his life, has never been rumored to have cheated on his wife.  Even with co-stars like Kajol or Juhi with whom he shared strong chemistry both on and off screen, the media has stuck with the narrative that he loves Gauri and only Gauri.  It is a basic part of his star persona, and what makes him popular with the public, especially women.  That he is a man who respects and loves his modern, working woman, doesn’t-know-how-to-cook wife.  That he is part of a marriage that has lasted and adjusted itself over decades.  That Gauri is his first, last, and only.  For an affair rumor to suddenly be so prevalent was shocking.  Especially as Priyanka and Shahrukh continued to appear together in public as though nothing was wrong, Priyanka even did a cameo in Shahrukh’s movie Ra.One.

In 2012, in the midst of all of this, Priyanka began making movements into the American entertainment world with the release of her songs “In My City” and “Exotic” which had varying success, the first doing well in India and terribly in America, and the second doing well in India and through out Asia, and slightly better in America.  Her third song, in 2014, was “I Can’t Make You Love Me”.  In 2015, she started working on her American TV series Quantico, while her last two Hindi films came out, both ensemble pieces, Dil Dhadakne Do and Bajirao Mastani, both major hits.  In 2016, her final Hindi film came out, Jai Gangajaal which was a Priyanka starrer with no other big names and which had terrible box office and critical reception.

 

In 2013, Gauri and Shahrukh had a third child by surrogate, AbRam Khan.  That same year Priyanka’s father died and Shahrukh attended the funeral, which was much noticed.  Shahrukh also went through a rough patch, including getting into a physical fight with Shirish Kundar at a party and a coolness with his old friend Karan Johar.  And rumors began to start again of a Priyanka-Shahid romance fueled by their new movie together, Teri Meri Kahaani (2012).

From 2014 to today, there was minimal discussion of a Priyanka-Shahrukh affair in the press.  Instead, the focus was on Priyanka’s American success, and Shahrukh’s various other controversies, his falling box office, his political statements, etc.  The only time it consistently came up was in stories revolving around the possibility of a third Don film, which the director/writer/producer Farhan Akhtar has always said is planned.  Buried in those articles would usually be an acknowledgement that there would have to be a new heroine for the film, since Priyanka and Shahrukh no longer work together.

In May of 2017, the rumors started up again partly because of a talk show Priyanka appeared on in which she showed a jacket from an “ex” that the Indian press identified as matching one that Shahrukh is often seen in.  And now, in June of 2018, the American press is reporting that Priyanka has just started a relationship with 12 year younger pop star Nick Jonas, while the Indian press is reporting that Priyanka’s relationship with him is only because she is unable to be with the unnamed man she truly loves.

Image result for priyanka jacket

(Jacket.  Incontrovertible proof!  Or else it is Ranbir Kapoor’s jacket, or Shahid Kapoor’s, or some random non-famous person)

 

 

So, what does all this mean?  Well, there are a few versions of the narrative that are accepted:

Version 1: No affair, Priyanka unfairly punished

In this version, the affair rumors sprung up merely based on the chemistry between them due to their friendship and enjoyment of each other.  But because of the rumors, while Shahrukh’s career was not hindered, Priyanka’s was damaged and she was unfairly excluded from parties and industry social life.  The moral of this story is the small mindedness of the public (and/or Shahrukh’s wife Gauri) that can’t accept a man and woman as friends and equals and nothing more.

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Version 2: Affair, Priyanka unfairly punished

In this version, Priyanka and Shahrukh fell in love because they have chemistry and excitement and so on.  And then Shahrukh was drawn back into his marriage, had a “bandaid” child to save the marriage, and bowed to his wife’s wishes in cutting Priyanka from his life with much angst.  Priyanka, meanwhile, was unfairly blamed as the “other woman” by the industry while Shahrukh got off scot free.  The moral of this story is that the industry is ruled by powerful men who seduce and then discard women.

Image result for priyanka shahrukh

 

Version 3: Affair, Priyanka ended it (the most recent version)

In this version, Priyanka and Shahrukh have been in love and seriously together for 7 years without stopping, despite all the “haters” and ups and downs.  But now Priyanka is bravely moving on with Nick Jonas, because she wants marriage and children which Shahrukh cannot give her.  The moral of this story is the tragedy of true love which is unfulfilled because of circumstances.

Image result for priyanka nick jonas

(But, why would you want Nick Jonas’ children?????)

 

Strawman Version: Priyanka is an Evil Seductress and Shahrukh is Innocent

This is the version that is sometimes held up as a strawman argument, that is, an argument that is imagined purely in order to be destroyed.  I don’t think I have ever read anything that says this, that Priyanka is evil and at fault and destroying marriages while the men are innocent.  But any discussion of this topic will come around to this, that she is only being criticized because of an outdated view of morality and Shahrukh should be blamed more than her.  Which is not actually what anyone is saying or why anyone is criticizing her. The moral of this story is “you are a bad person and a bad feminist for criticizing Priyanka while saying Shahrukh is blameless even if no one is actually saying that”.

 

(the remaining versions are NOT supported by leaks or anonymous sources or interviews, they are just things said in response to those, if that makes sense.  No one seems to be crafting this narrative on purpose, it just happens)

Version 4: Priyanka Has a Thing for Married Men

This is a thing people actually say.  Priyanka was with Akshay until his wife put a stop to it, and then moved on to Shahrukh.  Not that the men were blameless in the situation, but that it is a pattern with her.  The moral of this story is that wives should beware and keep their husbands away.

Image result for priyanka akshay kumar

 

Version 5: Priyanka is Obsessed

In this version, Priyanka and Shahrukh either did or did not have an affair, but it resulted in Priyanka being unhealthily obsessed with him, and therefore continuing to drop hints in her interviews and create stories about him loving her.  The moral of this story is that Shahrukh is so desirable, he can drive women MAD.

Image result for priyanka shahrukh

 

Version 6 (my preferred version): Priyanka is Using This for Personal Publicity

In this version, again Priyanka and Shahrukh either did or did not have an affair.  But for the past 7 years, Priyanka has been dropping subtle and not-so-subtle hints as needed in order to keep the rumors alive.  The moral of this story is…..well, there isn’t actually a moral.  Which is what makes me think it is true.

 

Gossip news thrives on the clean ending, the “moral”.  The public wants to be scandalized, and then wants to be reassured with a lesson.  The created narratives, they always come back to the moral.  But the truth is messy and complicated with no clean answers.  So, knowing no details of the situation, here are some options for the “truth”.

 

 

Truth 1: Midlife Crisis Embarrassing Affair Turns Nasty

Shahrukh was going through a lot around the same time as the affair rumors.  He had a coolness and a distance from his oldest friend Karan Johar (which Karan acknowledged in his book), his mentor/father figure Yash Chopra died, he was down right feuding with his other oldest friend Farah Khan culminating in physically attacking her husband at a party, and his feud with Salman had reached its peak.  And he got into an angry screaming match at Wankhede Stadium with a guard after a cricket match.  Also, his very ambitious and expensive film Ra.One flopped.  And, we later learned, he and Gauri were trying to have another child and finally opted for surrogacy.

Image result for shahrukh wankhede stadium

(Not someone at a stable time in his life)

All of these facts would fit with the possibility of Shahrukh, for once, stepping out on Gauri either for the first time ever or for the first time to the degree that it got in the press.  Who knows, maybe he even briefly considered leaving her for Priyanka.  That would match with his coolness with Karan (who is even closer to Gauri than he is to Shahrukh), and the same personal turmoil evidenced in other behavior could easily lead to him having an affair, or be the result of him having an affair.

However, since AbRam’s birth, all of this has greatly settled.  Shahrukh and Karan are closer than ever, so are he and Farah, and even he and Salman have reached peace.  There are no more stories of insane fury coming out, everything appears peaceful and happy.  Shahrukh’s life, as tracked and documented obsessively by the press, revolves around his children, his friendship with Karan, and his work.  There is not one moment of his life that cannot be related to one of these 3 factors, he is either with his family, or Karan, or working.

And therefore the idea of the affair continuing past the messy 2012-2013 era, the same era in which Priyanka was still active in the Bombay film industry and they could have easily met without being noticed, seems impossible based purely on the publicly available incontrovertible facts.  Unless Shahrukh hired a body double to cover his absences while he flew to New York or Toronto or LA to secretly meet with Priyanka, there is no other way they could have been together.

Image result for shahrukh orlando

(Shahrukh in America for work, this is one of many many photos of him tracking his exact progress and location at all times)

And so this version is possible, an ugly messy midlife crisis driven affair that lead to hurt feelings all around and a (justifiable) attempt to blacken his name on the part of the woman scorned, that slowly grew until it threatened all of Shahrukh’s relationships.  He has remained mostly silent and let the stories continue to swirl as an acknowledgement of his ultimate guilt in the matter, and the stories have fed on the truth at the heart of the situation.  There is no moral and no one looks good here, just a lot of hurt feelings and sadness.

 

 

Truth 2: Complete Made Up Just Because the Time was Right, Media is Keeping it Alive

Priyanka and Shahrukh really do have a great chemistry together.  And any story involving Shahrukh will sell papers.  And in 2011-2013, with the rise of social media and Shahrukh’s personal breakdowns, it was the perfect time to spread a rumor about him and watch it catch fire.

Priyanka’s previous relationship rumors were tied pretty closely to the release of films.  Which could be because they were onset relationships, or could be because it was standard policy to float relationship rumors in order to promote movies.  So the same thing was tried again with Don 2, and it caught fire.

Shahrukh had one previous affair story published in his entire career, back when he was starting out and making Maya Memsaab, the Madame Bovary movie in which he played the young innocent lover and Deepa Sahi played the bored doctor’s wife.  There was an anonymous story published in CineBlitz saying they were “rehearsing” their love scenes off set.  Shahrukh thought he knew who wrote the article, left abusive messages on his answering machine and went to his house in the middle of the night and threatened his life.  And also refused to give access to CineBlitz for years after that.  It wasn’t a very admirable response, but it did the job of successfully shutting down this story.

Image result for shahrukh deepa sahi

(Shahrukh and Deepti Sahi also had great chemistry)

But in 2012, the story was everywhere, there was no one person to threaten in order to kill it, or even one magazine to punish by lack of access.  And Shahrukh was distracted, he had so much else going on in his life just then.  And so there was no way to kill the story and suddenly it grew and grew and grew.

Perhaps this would have just been the first of many affair stories for Shahrukh, like many other stars the rumors would fly with every co-star.  But his co-stars after that were more careful and publicity was more circumspect.  Actresses were beginning to publicly acknowledge relationships (unlike Priyanka who followed the common policy of never confirming any relationship, scandalous or respectable), an affair rumor would mean not just that Shahrukh was cheating on his wife, but that Anushka Sharma (for instance) was cheating on Virat Kohli, or Deepika on Ranveer/Ranbir, or Kareena Kapoor on Saif.  Shahrukh also began to work with only a limited number of actresses, those who were unlike to spark such rumors because of their public personas, even besides their public relationships.

Image result for shahrukh kareena

(No one is going to say Shahrukh and Kareena are having an affair, she is too smart for that and too young for him.  At least, in the mind of the public)

And so in order to gain clicks and ratings and sell papers, the media is left to fall back again and again on the one same old tired affair story that falls in the gap after the era when such a story would result in immediate punishment, but before the era when Shahrukh (and others) had learned how to play the game and avoid the possibility of such a story even appearing.

And so it comes up again and again, so long as Priyanka is working in India and a big name, it will be brought up.  She leaves and goes to America, and it is forgotten.  Priyanka signs a bunch of movies and her name is in the news in May 2017, and it is tied back to Shahrukh to give a new angle to the stories.  She starts a relationship with Nick Jonas, and it is tied to Shahrukh because no one in India cares about Nick Jonas.

There is no moral here either, not even something about the ammorality of the press.  The press has always been amoral, it’s just a function of timing that this particular story hit and keeps hitting right now instead of another one.  If Shahrukh had worked with Preity Zinta in 2011 right as the social media boom hit instead of Priyanka, it would have been her that was picked for the affair rumors (also mature woman, also single at the time, also with great chemistry).

Image result for shahrukh preity zinta

 

 

Truth 3 (my favorite truth): Priyanka’s team is spreading the rumors to help her career

This is kind of a contination of the previous two.  First, maybe they did have an affair.  Shahrukh was publicly spinning out at that time, an affair is less impossible to imagine then, than at any other point in his life as a star.  And maybe Priyanka (justifiably) thought she had a right to at least hint at the truth in the press.

Or, maybe the media picked up on the chemistry between them and took advantage of this perfect moment to sell a story.

But however it started, Priyanka is the one who continued it.  I’ve heard arguments of “how can you blame her? She’s just an actress, she has no control over her publicity.”  But, that’s just not true.  First because Priyanka does have control, the Indian celebrities have always had greater control over their public images than in other industries.  Maybe her personal PR team is crafting the story, but she is the one going on talk shows and so on and supporting it, and greenlighting their version.  And second, it’s certainly not a temporary PR team for one of her projects because she has been going project to project this whole time, there is no consistency within the story besides herself.

Image result for shahrukh priyanka

The other possibility, that it is just the media doing it with no support, seems unlikely in this case.  First because there is support, very very subtly but there, in what Priyanka is doing and saying.  Like, for instance, covering the song “I Can’t Make You Love Me”.  And second because it is not just the gossip media that is reporting or hinting at these stories.  They are appearing in sites that are slightly more cautious, that would be unlikely to take a risk on such a scandalous thing without something to rely on, some actual source (fake though the info the source is feeding them may be).

And of course the biggest support for this is that all the information that is “leaked” and the narratives created end up making Priyanka look good.  She is being unfairly punished by the powerful in the industry for speaking her truth.  Or, she is just a girl in love who can’t help herself.  Or, no one understands that she is capable of a deep non-romantic bond with a man because she is just that special.  Or, more recently, she is a traditional girl who is nobly giving up the man she loves because she wants a traditional marriage.

There are never any leaks or rumors about this that make Shahrukh look good.  I have never seen even a hint of a story of “married man trying to resist temptation, heartbroken and noble” or “victim of crazed obsessive, trying to protect his family” or even “guy just trying to be a gentleman and therefore unable to directly contradict story”.  Everything is spun from the Priyanka side, not his.

Image result for shahrukh priyanka

 

 

Now, let’s go to the only true absolute of how I feel about this situation:

Whoever is spreading these stories, over and over and over again, is in the wrong for spreading them.  Even if they are all true, there is no reason for them to be said.  For 3 reasons:

1.Shahrukh’s public persona as a happily married man with a non-traditional family (wife works, daughter wears revealing clothing, 3rd child by surrogate, no living elders in the household to guide them, interreligious love marriage, and so on) is an important public message for India.

  • That marriages can be what you want them to be, can work however you want them to work.
  • That women can expect more from their husbands,
  • That husbands should do more for their wives.

Image result for shahrukh family

(Shahrukh and AbRam visiting Gauri at her store, happy happy, working Mom and husband picking up the childcare slack, it’s all good)

Throwing in this affair story distracts from the greater message and leaves open the implication

  • That a working wife is a “cold” wife with an unsatisfied husband,
  • A marriage with no elders or other traditional factors is an empty marriage,
  • You should be happy with your ungiving unsupportive husband because at least he doesn’t cheat.
  • You can do the bare minimum in your marriage because at least you don’t cheat and therefore are still better than Shahrukh.

Image result for shahrukh family

(Evil modern family with no morals, bad bad, we are better than them)

 

2. Priyanka’s public persona could be so much more for Indian women, but this story avoids that.

  • Priyanka could be an example of a successful working woman who is single and happy
  • She could be best known for her admirable professional achievements, instead of her personal life

But with the affair as a main part of her Indian public persona, instead

  • Priyanka’s persona continues the story of a woman always needing a man, pining away despite all her success
  • Any story of her professional accomplishments comes with this odd footnote of her personal drama
  • Worst of all, she becomes another example of a woman who is not an ally with other women, the stories go around of her fighting with Gauri over Shahrukh and so on, instead of women uniting

Image result for priyanka gauri

(Even the Suzanne-Mehr friendship survived the Arjun affair rumors without turning into a woman against woman story.  An affair story doesn’t have to focus on wife as enemy of the mistress)

 

3. Mostly I want to focus on the public lives of these people, because their private lives are beyond my understanding and knowledge.  But unless Shahrukh and Gauri and their three children are all complete sociopaths, some version of these stories is going to hurt them.

  • Shahrukh as a public figure did not give permission for his public life to be hijacked in this way
  • Gauri is only a semi-public figure and certainly did not give permission to be painted as the cruel cold wife keeping apart true lovers.
  • If at all possible, a child should not have to hear these things about their parents’ marriage.  Especially AbRam, being called a “bandaid” to fix a failed marriage, suggested to be the illegitimate child of his father and his mistress, even the constant stories that his mother doesn’t “really” love him because she is cold and incapable of love.

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(I guess because she wears sunglasses and doesn’t smile at him constantly it makes her a “cold” mother?)

 

So, that is my punishingly detailed take on the situation.  There is a convenient narrative being sold us, there are several possible complicated truthful versions, and no matter what is actually the case, it is an ugly story that does a lot of harm.

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42 thoughts on “Hindi Film 101: Priyanka Chopra and Shahrukh Khan

  1. Did you see the latest?

    I think Priyanka is thirsty and calculating and her machinations are way too obvious. Like the build up to the Royal wedding where she kept talking to the media about Meghan. The stunt with the supposed Shahrukh jacket. And now this ridiculousness.

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    • Remember when Taylor Swift went to England to meet Tom Hiddleston’s parents? I always felt bad for them. Best case scenario, his Mom and Taylor just exchanged knitting tips or something while Tom did whatever in the other room. And hopefully she brought a really nice hostess present.

      I have much lower expectations for Nick Jonas’ behavior in India.

      On Thu, Jun 21, 2018 at 10:03 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • Btw, this should show you what Priyanka’s PR is like. India’s biggest paparazzi, Viral Bhayani, posted on Instagram two or three days ago that Priyanka was going to come to India today with Nick Jonas and that she will be throwing a housewarming party. The media picked up that bit of “news” from him and wrote up articles wondering if Nick was actually coming with her.

      This means PC and her PR tipped off the paparazzi about her arrival with the time and date and even dangled Nick for them. On top of that, they have been provided another date to go hang out outside her house due to her upcoming party. And yet, here she is pretending to ward off the paps, trying to “hide,” she is just super-famous and can’t get away from chasing cameramen ya’ll, when it’s obvious that it was well planned. But for the general public, what it looks like is that PC is being chased by photographers even though she is trying so hard to be private and secretive about her love life.

      This is one of the reasons I find the SRK affair so hard to believe. There is no way this woman wouldn’t have tipped off the paps and gotten “caught” by the paps if she was meeting up with SRK anywhere. His interest would be in keeping it a secret but her best interest would be in revealing it and letting the world know. If he was only staying in his marriage for image purposes, ruining his image would be the best way to get him since there would be nothing left for him to protect. It would also provide the heft that rumors alone cannot.

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      • And again, I am thinking about Kangana and Hrithik. It’s so strange to me how anyone believes Kangana’s version because there is no way they could have been serious enough to be engaged without there being any photographs of them at all, or even something like separate photos of them arriving at the same place at the same time. At least Priyanka has given herself the cover of saying that it was a secret affair, and now that they have broken up. Which is still a weak excuse for there being no photos at all, but is better than Kangana’s “he wanted to marry me, but there are no photos or records of us ever meeting outside of parties”

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        • You must have missed out on the wedding articles because that happened too. There were several articles that came out in 2013 that SRK and Priyanka had gotten married secretly and in each article the location would keep changing. Sometimes, it would be Dubai, sometimes it would be Toronto and so on.

          In early 2013, they had been signed on as hosts for an award show. It was related to Don being broadcast on that channel so I think it was a required part of the contract. They had rehearsed for it at the Red Chillies office and bam, paparazzi pics had come out of them walking out the building along with a salacious article to go with it. Strangely enough, a few days later, the same thing had happened when Priyanka went to Salman’s house in the middle of the night with again a salacious article about how Priyanka was changing sides and might be preferring Salman over SRK. This ended up making Salman annoyed enough that he told a reporter in a video interview that Priyanka is calling the photographers for publicity since she has a movie out and that she was not visiting him but had come to see his sister and he just came to drop her outside. So this ‘calling the pap’ business is something Priyanka has done for a long time and yet no actual ‘couple’ pictures in spite of spreading this affair story for years. I wonder why.

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          • I remember that! Okay, I don’t really remember the wedding rumors, or the Shahrukh/Priyanka photos, but I remember the Salman story. I was just thinking about it again with this new movie with the two of them.

            The funny thing is, besides her PR attempts, it seems like she is pretty easy to work with. I don’t really hear of onset drama (beyond the Anjaana Anjaani whatever it was, and the occasional issue of her tweeting too many photos). So, like, I can believe that she was perfectly pleasant and professional in the award show hosting job with Shahrukh, and perfectly pleasant and friendly while visiting with Salman’s family, the only downside was tipping off the photographers as she left the building.

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    • Agree 100%. She is a sociopath. No one matters to her but her. This is obvious by her actions during the time of this alleged affair and ever since. Whatever happened or did not happen between her and SRK she is continuing to use his destruction and that of his entire family to get revenge~ all the while playing the victim card. She was not a child in 2012~she was 30. Old enough (and apparently experienced enough) to a) know better than to get involved with a married man and b) to get over it and move on.

      I despise her. She has had what really amounts to pretty minimal success in her career and in her personal life and seems determined to blame SRK forever for her unhappiness. I especially hate it that AbRam (whose existence is the only good thing to have come out of this whole mess) will be forever tainted by it. I’ve said it before but I think it bears repeating: Neither Gauri nor Priyanka is the love of SRK’s life: it is plain to anyone with eyes and a heart that AbRam is the love of his life. The true love he had always longed for.

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  2. SRK likes black. But the town seems to paint him in shades of grey. Looks like they too started loving him, hence the shades are turning darker and darker 😜

    The entire episode reminds me of a dialogue from a Tamil film called Aaranya Kaandam (recommended if you find the uncensored version): “The best thing about being a woman is that it’s a man’s world.”

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  3. Pingback: Hindi Film 101: Priyanka Chopra and Shahrukh Khan — dontcallitbollywood – elunarcom

  4. Wait, is the implication of some of these versions that Priyanka went to find work in the US because she was shut out of the Indian industry by Gauri/SRK? Like, she just had to go work on Baywatch and Quantico because no one would call her in India?

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    • Yep! Which is maybe kind of true, just in that she had become a bit of a toxic entity in terms of gossip, it would be hard to promote your film if all the questions were directed towards PC-SRK.

      There’s also another discussion to be had about how, in general, there isn’t much for an actress over 30 to do in India unless she is really really really popular, or really really really talented. Plenty of reasons for PC to start looking overseas just in order to continue her career, without the SRK factor. But the SRK factor was a tiny hindrance if she wanted the usual career path at this point in India, of marrying a connected wealthy guy and solidifying her social station before launching into a new career phase as a producer or a “serious” actress (Kareena, Aishwarya, Lara Dutta, Shilpa Shetty, it’s what they all do). And having these stories around might make her less viable as a “respectable” wife for the kind of public figure who could help her make that career shift.

      On Fri, Jun 22, 2018 at 1:02 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • But she wasn’t boycotted. Her PR spread stories about evil Gauri doing that to her but it wasn’t true in practicality. During that period she did movies with everyone from YRF to Zoya Akhtar to Sanjay Bhansali, the biggest names in the business. How was she being boycotted? It seems more like she was very keen to portray herself as a victim of evil power-hungry people who tried to stop her but she triumphed from her sheer grit and talent.

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  5. I’m pretty good, if not very good at being a crazy fan, but still understanding as you do that we really don’t know these people at all even though sometimes we think they do. This story is the ONLY one that hurts me in the pit of my stomach. It is so unfair. Shah Rukh will NEVER do what Hrithic did to defend himself against an similar character in Kangana. I don’t blame Hritihik for doing it, I just know (as much as we know anything) that Shah Rukh won’t. So these horrible rumors persist; his kids have to hear them etc etc. Even as you said (which I am with you, I do not believe) they had even an emotional affair way back, they haven’t been near each other in years. That he went to her father’s funeral is not proof of his infidelity, it is proof of his fidelity to friends, co-actors. He knows how hard it is to lose a parent so he went to the funeral. EVEN THOUGH he knew that terrible things would be said. That’s bravery and kindness. It kills me the unfair treatment he gets.

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    • Even Hrithik could barely do what Hrithik did! It’s such a tricky situation, there are so many reasons that it’s just not right to address this kind of a rumor directly, if you are a powerful famous man, from social to moral to ethical to just practical (ignoring it usually makes it go away). So all you can do is ignore it and not fight back, which must be so difficult. Especially for the kind of in control powerful personality that a powerful man would have.

      On Fri, Jun 22, 2018 at 5:12 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Hrithik also got dragged in without really meaning to. Initially he had sent her a legal notice to make her shut up and stop talking about him. It was something done privately to show her he was serious about this. I feel like most normal people would have gotten the message and let it go at that point but Hrithik miscalculated the whole thing. Kangana isn’t the type to let anything go and she went so crazy in the media that he had no option but to talk and hit back publicly.

        I don’t think it helped him. A minor gossip story ended up becoming huge prime time news and was discussed by everyone whereas the original dumb hints Kangana was giving out would have disappeared within gossip blogs. Clarifying doesn’t help either because people still believe whatever they want to no matter what explanations are provided to them.

        I’m sure SRK would have learned from this incident with Hrithik and would not allow it to get any attention from his side. Him saying anything, even denying, will just make it a much bigger story and even then nobody will change their minds.

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        • Interesting, I saw it the other way. That Hrithik learned from Shahrukh, when the rumors started he contradicted very specific things, and then said nothing in order not to feed the story, and after a year or so it more or less died down. But Kangana was having an actual psychotic break (I think) not just looking for publicity, so saying nothing made no difference.

          Really I think both angles are right, Hrithik learned from Shahrukh how to react at first, and Shahrukh is learning from Hrithik that the big confessional clear and evidence based interview makes no difference. Just shows how these stories come in cycles.

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  6. I’m gonna go with your Version#1, don’t know if SRK is completely innocent in this fiasco.. https://www.indiatoday.in/movies/bollywood/story/shah-rukh-khan-wants-priyanka-chopra-in-farah-khans-happy-new-year-124521-2012-12-17
    The KwK episode with Priyanka & Shahid – KJo brought up SRK needlessly which makes me think that it was a ploy to generate some kind of buzz abt SRK as those days there were far too many rumors of SRK n KJO. Add to that Priyanka accompanying him for all the KKR matches in 2008 time frame, and it feels like its pretty calculated by both parties.
    It probably went out of hand and onto the press at some point. But yes Priyanka should really stop going back to it, because she’s much better than this. And the jacket-gate was just cringeworthy!

    Also, AB and Rekha were spotted together on a flight sitting very closely to each other. around 2013, you can google their pictures.

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    • She went to only 1 or 2 games with him and definitely not in 2008! It was when they were promoting Don 2. He always took everyone to those games. For example, when Priyanka went to the game, Ritesh Deshmukh (Don producer) was also with them and his usual friends like Sanjay Kapoor were always there. He took Deepika during one of their movies too. Even Kriti Sanon during Dilwale time. Hrithik, Varun, Arjun, Sushmita, Raveena and so many others have attended his team’s cricket matches. It’s just free and easy promotion.

      He did not want her in HNY. He refuted those weird articles on twitter as soon as they came out. So did Farah Khan.

      The biggest problem with stories like this is strange gossip gets repeated over and over and suddenly becomes canon. Sometimes there’s incontrovertible proof that it’s not true but it still takes on a life of it’s own.

      I’m not saying I know what the truth about this whole situation is but at least some of the smaller stuff within in can be proven false just based on available information.

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    • My theory with AB and Rekha is that it was in Rekha’s interest to keep the story going and AB and Jaya just didn’t care any more, and now it has finally been enough years that Rekha doesn’t even care any more and they are all slowly letting it go. I saw the airplane photo, and a couple others, and to me (I could be wrong of course) it felt like maybe they had been casual friends all along, for years, just like Amitabh is with all his other ex-costars, just tried not to interact in front of the cameras in order to keep the fuss to a minimum.

      On Fri, Jun 22, 2018 at 7:03 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  7. If I were to float a theory, it would be that she’s behaved exactly like a bareilly girl would– she made it out of her small town, but she never got over her own success story.

    Even though she was sort of from the well off part of UP, there’s actually nothing like a “cool” UP girl. There’s girls that identify as being from elsewhere with roots here and they want nothing to have to do with where they came from. It is essentially an inescapable identity. That of a UP person.

    Her accent, her unwaveringly perfect manners, her lack of shrillness in public interactions in such a long career– they all point to studied and carefully curated presentation of herself. Which is what you do when you’re from the posh part of a small but historic town in a conservative part of the country.

    She presents herself as a socialite would. Exactly like one.

    And like a socialite, her narrative is curated.

    If there are rumors of her affair with SRK and neither of them ever looked upset about the “lie”, it’s because they’re both outsiders that benefitted from the publicity.

    My theory is that she flirted with him, she has a seductive personality, graceful bur seductive, and he flirted back. On screen chemistry = no sex in real life. That why married couples look so flat as a pair on screen.

    His year of odd behavior and this rumor probably hid his other shady shit. And he was probably glad it was only an affair rumor and not even close to the real reasons.

    I don’t buy the gauri blacklisting PC story simply because Gauri is a star wife with no standing of her own. Without SRK, she is nothing. She may walk away with a lot of his money but that’s all she can do. His brand is not dependent on her.

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    • Ever since I wrote a paper on Femina Miss India, I am so aware of the stamp those actresses have on them. That training camp is intense, a real “break you down so we can build you up again” experience, and it feels like they never actually get over it. There is a certain way they are taught to speak and to answer questions and make-up and mannerisms and it all feels really similar to me between them. Except for Sush, she is awesome.

      So, I see what you mean about Priyanka presenting herself one way and being another. Even in her “candid” interviews, I somehow feel like it’s still an act, we aren’t seeing underneath, there is something being held back.

      On Sun, Jun 24, 2018 at 4:17 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • It probably came easy to her. I don’t know how to explain this phenomenon. But lemme try.

        You know how Sharmila Tagore speaks? With the delicate Ts? It sounds similar to how Shabana Azmi speaks but you can notice a stark difference between their English and Hindi speaking.

        Contrast their way of speaking with how Kajol, Rani, Madhuri, Karisma etc speak and you know the difference between society girls, the sophisticated upper middle class and new money people.

        It works the same way in every town here. There are always a bunch of officers (bureaucrats and forces forming the officer class) and their families that socialise amongst each other. Their kids usually go to the same schools and end up in the same colleges.

        They used to be called the brown sahibs 😂

        Anywho, appearances are everything in this class and being “pleasant” is more important than being nice. Priyanka isn’t just someone that got polished by a strict pageant regime. She had been trained in those mannerisms for ages before she even applied for it.

        Not that it makes her a bad person. Just means that it’s pointless trying to figure her out. She will NEVER let her guard down.

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  8. SRK and PC didn’t just start 2011 with Don 2. SRK seems to have a type of women he finds atractive ( Dolly- childhood crush, Madhuri-crush Gauri- wife,Priyanka- rumoured gf, Urvashi – rumoured , kanika- rumoured fling). He has also several times acknowledged that he is the physical type , meaning he gets attracted by the sheer physicality of a person. (though he backtracked in an interview in 2017 that a ‘pretty’ face alone no longer turns him on)As SRK said, was also the case with Gauri, i do not even want to disregard the fact that he was a teenager when he met her so hormones and all, but still he doesn’t make a secret out of the fact that frankly it’s ‘tiits and Lips’ for him. Why i wanted to start talking about this aspect of SRK is because, fans and the media always potray him as some almost asexual person (private persona-not onscreen one), whom everything leaves ‘cold’ except for his wife.He was the one EVERYONE wanted to have but was unatainable , because he’s this being who while the world worships him , is busy worshipping solely his wife. And I must add, that Image was a Masterstroke , it worked perfectly towards building that ‘man of dreams- off limits-unatainable- perfectly faithful man’ image. It helped build the perfect Superstar who has everything and the most beautiful girls as Co- Stars but would never cross the line. It was true at the beginning at least , i mean i rember his first Ap ki Adalat show where he was quizzed on why his wives call is the only one he would drop anything for and pick , because the other heroes and people on sets would make fun of him being scared of his wife.
    He replied saying he doesn’t care and isn’t ashamed of being attached to Gauri.
    Now , SRK and PC met at the finale of Femina Miss India 2000, he was the Star judge (promoting pbdhh with juhi). The first Words he uttered after seing her where:’Good evening Priyanka! I’m as nervous as you are and I go weak in the presence of beauty [sigh] ‘ he was clearly intrigued by her.
    There deffinitely was a major atraction for him from the start. As For PC she always has been a huge fan of him starting from Chamatkar – her own words, . Also i always found it strange that he chose PC over Kareena in 2004 for his Temptation tour, giving that Priyanka was still a relative newcomer so was Kareena but at least she had worked with him and PC hasn’t then. Again it shows his liking towards her. He favoured her from the start.
    And i suppose they became friends over time.
    But i agree i don’t think it was love per se , but more a intense infatuation. And i also don’t think it’s that hard for one of the richest guys in Indian Entertainment to keep proof of a love affair secret , given that Bollywoods Papparazzi are only now getting as ‘besharam’ as their western peers, who don’t even mind snapping pics through bedroom windows. And SRK is big , like you don’t want him to boycott your newschannel too risky. So you slyly try to report through blinds etc..The man can chatter a plane and get PC anywhere he wants her, in a matter of hours as long as work permits them. If Akki can allegedly threaten photographers who snapped him with a woman – with no funny bones in her body- in his car after midnight, and get the pictures deleted in front of him what do you think the Khans can get away with.
    As I see it PC was a complete Fangirl , in love with the image of SRK , which all his fans are. WE adore his characters written for him and his image carefully crafted over decades by either himself or nowadays PR people. There’s a Video on YT , some Greenathon event in 2013 i think and SRK facetimed the studio ,as soon as she saw SRK PC’s voice went up fifteen octaves, it was secondhand embarrasement at ift’s finest, her co-host seemed highly uncomfortable.
    I also believe she somehow completely disregarded Gauri as a person (pic link1) , she might have used her friendship to her as a stepping stone getting closer to the ‘goal’. As even Karan once sayed there is no way getting to SRK without passing Gauri first. If she approves of you ,good, if she utters concerns against you to SRK , you are ousted. Now mind you I’m not trying to paint Priyanka as this man-eating vixen , but I’m trying to show that choosing to be involved with someone married does not make you the victim of the taken person, rather a partner in crime. Why i also say she didn’t look at Gauri as a fellow Human being /woman is because of all the sly comments in her Interviews and social media she has been given over the years. It’s like she sees Gauri only as a obstacle that needs to be eliminated. Leading to me sometimes even feeling she ‘s trying to bully Gauri out of this Marriage with SRK. By humiliating her publicly, testing her limits.
    PC was in it ( if true) for publicity there was a time after Quantico this was the only thing keeping her in News and God knows that girl hates not having attention. Actually PC’S PR is probaly one of the best teams in Bollywood, yes they let her be named as ‘the other woman’ for years but always made sure she got compared to Rekha, after ‘Jacketgate’and cancellation of Quantico, she suddenly has Nick Jonas as a very serious boyfriend parading the dude in Mumbai . While always mentaining that she’s verry private about her love life. It’s almost as if she’s proving herself something. I don’t know but this Nick Jonas thing doesn’t seem genuine , it seems as if she needed a last souvenir from the US to bring home. (and no, i don’t believe SRKS recent tweet was reffering to the new couple)
    But of course SRK is (if true) more at fault . duh! Putting Gauri through this humiliation for 6+years with an entire Industry talking , is cruel and heartless. The worst part are the kids, can’t imagine what they had to listen to in School. (if real)
    Though this part is the point where i could personally contradict my belief of this affair. The kids- SRKs heart beating out of his body…would he still be that adored and loved by them if he really did that to their mom?

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    • For me there are two totally separate issues. A potential affair that may or may not have happened, and the constant media leaks and PR positioning that keep the affair in the minds of the public.

      An affair is a private family issue, I could believe Gauri forgave him and their kids forgave him, if it happened. Families forgive each other these things all the time. But the constant public humiliation, like you I just cannot believe SRK would do that to his children. Which leads me to think it is PC’s team that is doing it. And while the affair (if it happened) was certainly more SRK’s fault than hers, to me this publicizing of personal heartbreak is on a different level than any relationship misconduct. And that is what I blame her for and it sounds like you do as well, even believing in the affair, it is still clear to anyone who pays attention that it is PC who is using it for publicity without caring what it does to Gauri or the kids.

      Oh, and I love the idea of Nick Jonas as the ultimate American souvenir.

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  9. Okay, I thought I was done on this topic but I have theory and then reading your Pride posts, I have another. Who is the most famous extra marital liason in Bollywood? Rekha and Amitabh. It is clear that she has had a partner, another woman, all this time. I started noticing the woman who accompanied her everywhere when I first started watching award shows. I had never seen that picture so of them young. The reason Jaya “put up with it” all these years is because she AND Amitabh knew all these years that Rekha was gay and partnered. MAYBE, the same is true of Priyanka. Nick Jonas is surely a smoke screen for something. Maybe, her renewal of “The Rumor” is because some American press got too close to the truth. Maybe she has an American girl friend, or maybe even a life partner and maybe not. But NY is a great place go be free and out and unseen if you are a Hindi film star. Maybe Gauri, like Jaya (both strong smart women), has stayed, not because she is a wimp or wants the status but because she knows WITH CERTAINTY that not only hasn’t Shah Rukh strayed but that Priyanka was never actually interested.

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    • A couple more things to throw into the mix. Rekha seems to be Bi, or at least took a while to discover that she was gay, her early affairs were fairly confirmed and were with men. Her current partner/wife didn’t enter the scene until after Amitabh. So it is possible that she and Amitabh did have an affair, but then fairly soon afterward she moved on with a woman. In which case your theory holds, Jaya and Amitabh didn’t bother denying or worrying about all the hints for the past 30 years because Jaya knew that even if Rekha had been with Amitabh in the past, she certainly wasn’t now, and Amitabh knew she knew.

      Interestingly, there was also a rumor (briefly) that Rekha was being overly close to Priyanka on set, so that could be thrown in the mix as a potential indication that they shared a sexual preference, perhaps that is what was being picked up on. It’s also of course completely possible for Priyanka to be both gay, and a fan of SRK in a non-sexual way, maybe her starry eyed hero worship of him got misinterpreted and she just went with it.

      And Nick Jonas also has his own rumors that a high profile relationship with a woman could help to stem. Which leads to a mutual beard situation possibility.

      On Mon, Jun 25, 2018 at 3:41 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Adding onto that, there was an interview from the 2011-2012 era where Priyanka herself clearly stated that she loves SRK not in a she wants to be with him in boyfriend or husband kind of way but that she wants to be like him. She even said she wants to be the female version of him.

        In fact, the last time SRK ever spoke to her on twitter was late 2012 and even the topic was on the rumors where in joke form, he denied it once again and she replied agreeing with him!

        I have no idea how that suddenly turned into jacketgate many years later all of a sudden after the rumors had been dead and buried for so long.

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  10. Ah, Nick Jonas needing a beard; now that is fun. Getting a gala tour of India while getting a cover story is a good deal. I guess I have to really and truly get over unkind rumors. They are all grown ups handling their lives who do not really need my opinion or reaction! My imaginary coffee at Mannat would not even include this topic, so I can’t even discuss it with him in a fantasy!!! I would never even in my imagination be that rude. In what movie does the hero say, “Not even in my imagination would I ever do that…”?

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    • DDLJ! The morning after scene, Shahrukh is reassuring Kajol that nothing happened. And LYING, because clearly he could imagine doing those things to her or else he wouldn’t have come up with the practical joke. But I will allow it, because he is so cutely sincere.

      I couldn’t imagine asking Shahrukh about PC, but I could totally fantasize asking PC. Like, if we were stuck in an elevator together with no cameras or recordings, I would so ask her “what is the deal with the affair rumors? And Nick Jonas? What’s going on with that?”

      On Mon, Jun 25, 2018 at 4:01 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • Thanks for the heads up! I just dug through the list and this is everyone I came up with. Surprisingly large number of behind the scenes types.

      Madhuri Dixit Ali Faizal Anil Kapoor Shah Rukh Khan Naseeruddin Shah Tabu Dolly Ahluwalia Manish Malhotra Amit Ray Sneha Khanwalker Aditya Chopra Bishwadeep Chatterjee

      On Mon, Jun 25, 2018 at 4:03 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • Oh, and you have to give your vote on today’s “what Shahrukh is the best Shahrukh” question in return!

      On Mon, Jun 25, 2018 at 4:03 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  11. Oh, which is the best…I fell in love with the 2000’s Shah Rukh: lean, handsome, charming, serious. The Yale interview really put me over the top. I loved him as Harry, so I guess I like that look too. I guess I love all Shah Rukhs. But my imaginary coffee afternoon at Mannat is with whomever he is NOW.

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