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Bollywood superstar Priyanka Chopra says she grieved over her father’s death by playing a true-life Indian world champion female boxer on the big screen.
Chopra told a Toronto Film Festival press conference for Omung Kumar‘s Mary Kom Thursday she started shooting the Bollywood movie immediately after her father died in June 2013 to avoid dealing with her loss.
“I started filming the movie about four days after my dad passed away. I was training for it when he was really ill because I had to develop a body like a boxer. Then I had to take a few weeks off because dad got really ill,” she recalled.
Chopra says she should have taken six months off to mourn her father’s passing after his long battle with cancer.
“I channeled all my grief into this movie. And that’s what drove me. It pushed me,” Chopra remembered.
Playing an athlete rising from bare-knuckled street fights to Olympic glory in Mary Kom left the former Miss World and chart-topping singer bruised and battered after each day’s shoot.
“Every night I would go back home and my mom would say just get into the bathtub and I cried,” she recounted. “
“Every night I would say, I don’t think I can do this. And every morning I would wake up and say, ‘why not? I can do this,'” Chopra added.
The Bollywood biopic focuses on Kom, who was born to a tribal family in India and clashed with disapproving parents and Indian boxing officials before becoming a five-time world boxing champion and Olympic medalist.
Kumar’s feature directorial debut is having its world premiere in Toronto to target an expanding global audience for Bollywood movies, according to the Bollywood star.
“It’s (Mary Kom) is opening all over the world, and TIFF seemed the best place to launch,” Chopra told the press conference.
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