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Priyanka Chopra Jonas has opened up about why she left a thriving movie career in Bollywood for a risky move to Hollywood, where she eventually landed starring roles on Quantico and the new spy series Citadel.
“I was being pushed into a corner in the industry. I had people not casting me for reasons. I had a beef with people. Again, I’m not good at playing that game. I was tired of the politics,” Chopra Jonas told Dax Shepard’s Armchair Expert podcast on the March 27 episode.
Chopra Jonas discussed winning the Miss World beauty pageant in 2000 and being a top star in Bollywood during the ensuing decade before finally heading to Los Angeles in 2015. Chopra Jonas said she faced pay disparity in India with her male colleagues, and that her situation has changed in the current streaming era as top actresses can market a title as co-leads with men.
“Movies are sold on the guy and the girl now. Change was demanded by the new generation coming in and saying, ‘Great, make a Bollywood blockbuster, but with me too,’” she recounted.
Another difference with Hollywood is, for its own star system, it pales next to that of Bollywood. “I don’t think you guys have seen that stardom. I don’t think Tom Cruise has seen that. I’m not that, but we have actors with that allegiance and love,” Chopra Jonas said of glory and success for top Indian A-list stars.
And yet, Chopra Jonas gave that up for Hollywood, a risky transition, and one dependent first on a pop music career in Los Angeles thanks to a deal with Interscope Records. Chopra Jonas worked with Pitbull, will.i.am, Pharrell and Matthew Koma, and had dinner with Bruce Springsteen, Jay-Z and Beyoncé.
“I got completely caught up in this thing: ‘I’m a pop star now!’” Chopra Jonas recalled. She then decided to segue back into movies, this time in Hollywood, as that had been her day job in India. She signed with CAA — as the first Indian movie star to join the Hollywood talent agency — and her Los Angeles career was launched, and eventually cemented with a talent holding deal signed with ABC Studios, which cast her as a lead in Quantico.
“So with every job that I have gotten from smaller roles in features that I did, which I needed to build my English-language filmography, I had a lot of people who knew me from my Indian film days, questioning why I went to Hollywood to do small parts and B-grade movies, is what they would say,” Chopra Jonas added as she summed up her jump from Bollywood to Hollywood.
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