I Just Don’t Really Want to Think About Priyanka Chopra Any More? Does Anyone Else Feel Like That?

PC did an interview following the RRR Oscar win and associated fanfare, and promoting her new TV series, in which she gave her thoughts on the Indian film industry and so on. It’s a podcast and I can’t seem to find a full transcript anywhere, and I also can’t bring myself to listen to it, but I did see a few excerpts. Mostly I’m thinking “why is it that I find myself exhausted at the thought of doing more research into this? What is causing this fatigue?”

Everyone has a right to speak from their own experience and their own perspective. And podcast interviews are looking for that, it’s an intimate longform interview, but it is also not a prepared interview. They want you to say what is in your head at this moment, mistakes and all.

That’s how I feel seeing the wide-ranging quotes from this interview between PC and Dax Shepherd. She spoke about what she was thinking about without doing any larger preparation or consideration or anything. Where I think I feel the fatigue is that she is just one person speaking from her experience, but because she is the only voice speaking in certain forums, her words are over-weighted. I don’t want to say she can’t talk about what she is feeling, but it does make me feel stressed and overly obligated to give a counter-perspective that is lacking. In a way I don’t when reading interviews in the Indian press, because I know the Indian media and social media and other celebs will all be giving their own views and I don’t need to add my voice.

(to de-stress, I will be dropping stupid Dad jokes my father has sent me through out this post)

So far as I can tell, the Indian press mostly jumped on her referring to RRR as a “Tamil” film. It’s not just a slip of the tongue either, she corrected the interview when he called it “Bollywood” to say it was “Tamil”. She went out of her way to present herself as an expert, superior to him, and made a really stupid error instead. And I think this is what bothers me? I don’t care that she said the wrong language, I’ve made similar errors loads of times myself. But she did it in a way that said “I am the expert, I know more than you, assume whatever I say is correct”. And, it’s not. It’s more correct than “Bollywood”, but it’s still wrong. And that’s how, I think, I take the whole interview. It’s not necessarily the gospel truth, it’s just one person talking AS THOUGH they are saying the full truth.

From the little excerpts I was willing to make myself read, it sounds like she talked about colorism, cliqueishness, and a “toxic ten year relationship”. The colorism is interesting because one of her most famous ad campaigns is for Fair & Lovely, and she explicitly rejects that campaign in this interview while at the same time framing herself as a victim of colorism. And that makes me itchy, makes me want to provide context around colorism in India, around her various film roles, and to ask her to take more responsibility in her own role in creating this dynamic, not just through Fair & Lovely but through Miss India and all her public appearances where she wasn’t being “made” to look more fair but chose it and so on. Again, if she had given this interview in a world where many many Indian actress were also speaking, the audience would understand her very specific place in that world and her perspective.

Cliqueshness, similar. Let’s talk about that. Yes, she was on the outs with multiple folks in the Industry at the time she left. But she also dropped Bharat, a plum plum film role, with no notice right before filming began. So she was being offered things, and she removed herself in a way. Again, I’m not going to dispute that Hindi cinema is a very “who you know” kind of industry, but there are layers I feel that are missing.

And finally, the “toxic ten year relationship” which is a dog whistle phrase for those who follow the SRK affair rumors. As I said I think ages ago the last time she said something like this, I can accept the possibility that SRK and she had an affair at some point. But it is truly impossible for it to have lasted ten years. SRK is too carefully tracked by the media and fans to have been able to keep that up. I don’t think PC is lying here, but I am irritated by her allowing this mistake to continue. Either say “toxic ten year relationship with a famous married actor whose name rhymes with ‘Raruk'” or “ten year relationship with [not SRK person who she has never publicly acknowledged]”. Make the lie explicit or tell the truth, don’t try to play both sides.

All of this is why I really really hate most interviews given by Indian movie stars to western reporters. They can’t provide full context, they are just one person who had one experience in the world. And the reporter doesn’t know enough to give that context either. Most of all, the reporter is too cowardly to push it obvious gaps in a way they might if they felt more comfortable with the topic. You don’t have to be an expert on Indian film to hear PC talk about not being offered roles, and then pull up imdb and say “can you clarify on that a little, because I am seeing a lot of big movies after the time you talk about not getting roles?” I don’t want a “gotcha” moment, I want a real answer, I want to know what she is talking about because it isn’t film roles, it’s something else that I don’t understand.

I feel like, again just based on little quotes I have found, that PC is very much riding a wave here in a way public figures often do. Colorism, nepotism, Indian film, it’s all hitting the western discourse more lately. So she’s repeating the catchphrases and molding her experience to fit with that, which is something non-introspective people tend to do a lot. They aren’t lying, they just accept external explanations rather than looking for internal ones. And that would be okay if she wasn’t the ONLY voice speaking out and so suddenly her superficial comments and limited experiences (limited because she is just one person) become fact and reality.

What I would love, and which won’t happen, is for Preity or Deepika to also give a similar interview talking about their experiences. PC isn’t the only voice of Indian film actresses come to America, she’s just the one who talks the most to the American press, and it’s slanting the narrative.

Anyway, that’s why I woke up and saw comments about PC talking about Indian film and immediately wanted to pull my covers up and go back to sleep.

What was your reaction?


34 thoughts on “I Just Don’t Really Want to Think About Priyanka Chopra Any More? Does Anyone Else Feel Like That?

    • Yeah, I basically just skimmed headlines to get the high points of the interview and called it a day. Any more than that felt like too much.


      • Yeah. Lots of people, the majority I am sure, read a new culture topic and suddenly go “oh wow, that pulls my life together and I see how it resonates with people”. But other folks just always see themselves no matter what the topic is or how unrelated it is to them.


  1. This is so interesting. I’m not a fan and I think your analysis of this interview with someone who has a stake in bashing Bollywood and overall interviews conducted by people with no knowledge of Bollywood demonstrates both sides of the problem. It’s not that they’re willingly allowing her to tell partial truths or outright lies, they just don’t know.


    • Yeah. And what I really hate is it reminds me that there are probably loads of things like this in the world that I don’t notice because I don’t know as much about it. Like, there’s probably the same kind of podcast with an interview with someone who works in, like, an elephant refuge. And I don’t know what I don’t know about elephant refuges.


  2. And she’s the only one doing the talking bc no one else has gotten enough traction in the west : not PZ and not Deepika. She hosts the ‘excellence in south Asian entertainment’ thing before the Oscars, everyone gathers, she speaks. But I think it’s actually because she is willing to bash Bollywood (again bc of her personal CHOICES) that she’s heard. It’s more interesting for the press to pick up on ‘look, they didn’t like her there and she’s here now so America/Hollywood is better’ and she’s painted herself as some poor refugee from the backwards ‘East’ instead of her owning ANY part of her choices. She’s a master at storytelling to an audience that has never heard a story before.


  3. I read an article in an Indian newspaper about it last night. The article then listed all her roles since the time that she said she wasn’t being offered roles – and she was in big movies (like DDD) seemingly every year. But because I have heard SRK say in an interview that he feels it is horrible how she was treated, I believe she must have faced a huge backlash, but you sure can’t see it in her filmography. Also I am so GLAD she rejected Bharat – it was a great film. That said I still liked DDD with her in it. She isn’t terrible, she just isn’t that great.

    I don’t want to hunt down the podcast. And her story sure hasn’t been anywhere near WaPo or the NYTimes, so I don’t know how much traction it is actually getting in the West?

    I saw a bunch of headlines about Kangana’s response to PCs’ interview. And who wants to go anywhere near that!?!

    I think her words are getting traction in the Indian press because Pathaan was so successful. AND she did things like freeze her eggs at 30. She was the the known mistress of the biggest star in India for a period of time and her life is not normal. It is interesting. Even if it is only her perception of her experience, there isn’t anyone else with her experiences out there.


    • I am so obviously declaring myself an old fogey by admitting I only read WaPo and the NYTimes! Occasionally I’ll glance at the Slate or Daily Beast but yeah, I so very clearly have my finger on the pulse of nothing.


      • Hey, still doing better than me! I get emails from the local not for profit news source, and my parents forward me Vanity Fair headlines. That’s it.

        The biggest news story of today, I thought, was that chicago might be phasing out speed cameras THANK GOODNESS because I keep having to pay stupid fines (they are set to ticket you if you go 6 miles or more over the speed limit for even a second).


    • Just curious, why is it you don’t feel like tracking down the interview and listening to it? With Kangana, I know I avoid her because I think she is truly a bad sick person and it makes me feel sick to contemplate her. I don’t feel like that with Priyanka, it’s something else, but it’s still something that makes me go “I just can’t right now” when faced with a new interview.


      • I want to know more about kangana’s sickness. I couldn’t tell from all get weird stuff in the past re: Aditya pancholi and Hrithik as to wtf is going on.
        I can sense she is ridiculously sick from my gut feeling but I can’t tell why I feel this way


        • I think she is dangerously delusional and lacks empathy. She can mask it as needed, but then she will say things to the press that are such detailed lies you sense she has lost the ability to tell what she imagines in her head from reality. And what she has put Hrithik through is really terrible, she fits the profile of a female stalker exactly, and they tend to end in violence more than male stalkers. The whole thing just makes me want to take a biiiiiiiiiig step back, and also makes me very worried for the physical safety of the people around her.

          Liked by 1 person

        • To me, everything PC does is still logical. Like, I can follow her reasoning, and I think she still knows the difference between reality and fantasy. And I don’t fear for the physical safety of those around her. And yet, I just really REALLY don’t want to give her any more space in my mind.

          Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t like listening. I can read fast, I can skim articles, and I can read while people around me are talking. But if I have to listen to an interview the rest of the world must pause while that happens. I currently live in a (not large) three bedroom house with six other people, the world will never pause. And people talk SO SLOWLY. listening takes so much time. I don’t care enough. But I will read articles ABOUT the interview!


  4. I have come to hate it. I believe that not only does he claim the truth, but that his consciously ambiguous statements only seek to cause harm. That’s what bothers me the most. We all have the right to tell our story, but I would also say to her: either open it up directly or get over it. Gaining press at the cost of causing conscious damage is something I find hard to bear. She seems dishonest to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sorry, I never do this but it’s really important to the meaning of your comment. In the sentence ” I believe that not only does he claim the truth, but that his consciously ambiguous statements only seek to cause harm” Did you mean to say “I believe that not only does she cloud the truth, but that her consciously ambiguous statements only seek to cause harm”?


  5. I know what you mean. When I saw some sentences from this interview I said: What a stupid pile of trash and half truths! Who has the energy for this shit? Later, when I saw people reacting and reacting, I got angry because I realized SRK had those few good weeks after Pathaan, the weeks he needed badly, and there she came with all her rubbish. And all again, bollywood haters started posting old stuff and heating the situation and ruin my safe space.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Darn it, I let myself look at where this story was getting picked up. CNN, Variety, NBC. Mostly focused on the skin color issue and ‘having beef’ with Bollywood industry folks. At least they didn’t drop in to the ‘toxic relationship’ convo. WHY AM I READING THIS? I don’t want to but I feel like I need to right some kind of wrong, even though my initial reaction was ‘oh crap, what now?’

    I have to admit I do think my negative reaction to her is based in part on the SRK rumors, and he’s totally entitled to have done whatever, his choice, but I wouldn’t have that reaction to hearing he ‘maybe’ had an affair with anyone else. I think it’s her passive aggressive, FU style that I find so offensive. I don’t need her to be a shrinking violet, but I want the narrative controlled by a genuinely strong woman – someone who can tell the truth and put it in context and be grateful for the opportunities she DID have. Reflect on your choices, stop being passive aggressive, stop using the reflection of others to lift yourself by seeing yourself in their mirror and then smashing the mirror bc they didn’t want to be responsible for your behavior.

    It’s her ‘stirring the pot’ without actually saying anything of value, and needing to (try to) set Bollywood on fire in the rearview like a scorned lover that make me mad. There are real conversations to be had about colorism and nepotism but she’s not thoughtful enough or sophisticated or knowledgeable enough to be at the center of those conversions but she’s the ONLY ONE ANYONE ASKS. I fundamentally DO NOT want her speaking for me as a mixed Desi woman.

    OK I have to stop now, this is making me feel worse. And that’s her power. I just don’t want to give it to her.


    • Exactly. It’s the calling RRR “Tamil” instead of “Telugu” issue. Very important to clarify that it is NOT a “Bollywood” film and that is a big deal. But the only person being asked doesn’t have the context or knowledge enough to clarify that correctly. I’d love for them to have asked one of the people who actually were in the movie, or one of the many ABCDs who work in the industry and would know Tamil versus Telugu, but those aren’t the people being asked.

      And now I have this urge to track down all the various desis working in Hollywood and see who’s southern, but I will resist. Again, too much of our time wasted on something that doesn’t matter.


  7. This is funny, I saw some online posts written up about various tidbits, and my thought was, why is she on a press tour? Is this because of the new show? Clever PR to do the personal reveal schtick then throw in a mention of the show at the end. For this media market, it is an effective approach, I’ll give her that. Didn’t think about Pathaan or RRR, that makes sense, it’s a moment.

    More importantly, OMG what meme universe does your dad live in? This is a new corner of the internet for me, clearly not so much overlap with my 13yo’s “meme community”. (Did I mention I have a teenager since two weeks ago? Gah!) Those are gold.


    • It’s the Dad Darkweb!!!! I don’t know where it is, but I get multiple of these a day.

      I like to imagine some sleazy chatroom where they trade bad puns for bitcoin, but it’s probably Facebook.

      See if your husband can find it! You have a teenager now, you need to crank up the embarrassment opportunities!


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