When Priyanka Chopra transformed her Bollywood stardom into a string of high-profile Hollywood roles including Netflix’s ‘The Matrix Resurrections’ and ‘Citadel’, she became one of the biggest international stars in the world. But while her success is certainly a testament to her talent and the current moment Indian cinema is experiencing around the world, the actress has always been open about the darker side of Bollywood acting which ultimately pushed her. to seek opportunities elsewhere. As she tells it, her decision to stop making films in India was motivated by unfair pay and unpleasant conditions as much as more opportunities in America.
In a new interview with The Zoe ReportChopra recalled a particularly upsetting experience in an early film role that opened her eyes to some of the harsh realities of how the industry treats women.
“It could have been 2002 or 2003,” Chopra said. “I’m undercover, I’m seducing the guy – obviously that’s what girls do when they’re undercover. But I’m seducing the guy and you have to take off one piece of clothing (at a time)… I wanted to layer up (but) the director said, ‘No, I need to see his underwear. Why else is anyone coming to see this movie?’”
Chopra went on to explain that the experience was especially jarring because the director didn’t even include it in the conversation about what he was doing on screen. He just said it out loud to a crew member like she wasn’t even there.
“He didn’t tell me,” Chopra added. “He told the stylist in front of me. It was such a dehumanizing moment. It was a feeling of ‘I am nothing but how I can be used, my art is not important, what I contribute is not important.’”
The incident prompted Chopra to abandon the project after just two days of filming rather than continue working with the director. He refunded the production all the money he had spent on her to make a clean break.
“I couldn’t watch (the director) every day,” she said.