Priyanka Chopra says she was denied roles in Hollywood because of her skin colour

Priyanka Chopra raised some very pertinent questions and talked about issues plaguing both Bollywood and Hollywood.

FP Staff April 12, 2018 11:00:43 IST
Priyanka Chopra says she was denied roles in Hollywood because of her skin colour

Priyanka Chopra raised some very pertinent questions in her latest interview with InStyle Magazine.

Chopra, who is now, to a certain extent, free of the shackles of Bollywood, has spoken out against the ills of being a part of India's premier film industry. While talking about the pay gap between men and women, Chopra, who is part of both Bollywood and Hollywood, said the this gap existed in both the movie industries.

In Hollywood, not paying female actors as much as their male counterparts comes with token excuses such as the bank-ability of the star, or whether or not the movie would work without the central male lead. In Bollywood, according to Chopra, the studios are extremely blunt about not paying women actors as much as the male actors. Chopra also says that Bollywood studios would directly say that the female actor's worth is not really much in the movie, which, going by Bollywood's recent history, is evidently true.

Priyanka Chopra says she was denied roles in Hollywood because of her skin colour

Priyanka Chopra/Image from Twitter.

Chopra also revealed her encounter with a Bollywood producer-director who told her that they will not go beyond a certain budget for a female actor as the project is a "big tentpole movie with the big boys". Chopra said that they offered the female lead a measly five percent of what the male lead was making.

Touching on another controversial subject, Chopra recalled the time she was not given a role because of the color of her skin. Even though Chopra is the first South Asian actor to headline an American primetime show, the actress has faced instances of racial bias which has resulted in her losing opportunities solely because of her brown skin.

“It happened last year. I was out for a movie, and somebody [from the studio] called one of my agents and said, ‘She’s the wrong—what word did they used?—‘physicality.’ So in my defense as an actor, I’m like, ‘Do I need to be skinnier? Do I need to get in shape? Do I need to have abs?’ Like, what does ‘wrong physicality’ mean? And then my agent broke it down for me. Like, ‘I think, Priy, they meant that they wanted someone who’s not brown.’ It affected me.”

Representation of various races and genders in movies and popular culture has been a burning issue for quite some time now. Frances McDormand in her Oscar speech pledged to adopt inclusion rider, and so did Oscar winner Brie Larson, Black Panther star Michael B Jordan, and Bridesmaid director Paul Feig.

In Hollywood, Priyanka Chopra finds herself as a minority. In an industry dominated by white actors, director and writers who come up with stories majorly featuring white characters, Chopra has to battle a dearth of scripts and the racial bias that comes with all of it. In Bollywood, on the other hand, the notion of inclusion is non-existent. Priyanka Chopra, who played the role of the Olympic boxer Mary Kom in the eponymous movie, is producing a Sikkimese-Nepalese film which is as close to inclusion as Bollywood has gotten in recent years.

Quantico’s new season will air on 26 April. Chopra will also be seen in supporting roles in A Kid Like Jake and Isn’t It Romantic? She has not finalised any Bollywood project yet.

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