Priyanka Chopra Jonas on moving to the U.S.: Was being pushed into corner in Hindi film industry

“I had beef with people,” the actor-musician said on the comedy podcast ‘Armchair Expert’ with Hollywood actors Dax Shepard and Monica Padman

March 28, 2023 03:00 pm | Updated 11:11 pm IST

Priyanka Chopra gives a keynote during the South by Southwest Film Festival on Friday, March 10, 2023, in Austin, Texas

Priyanka Chopra gives a keynote during the South by Southwest Film Festival on Friday, March 10, 2023, in Austin, Texas | Photo Credit: AP

After spending almost two decades in Hindi cinema, actor Priyanka Chopra Jonas says she decided to move to Hollywood as filmmakers back home were "not casting" her and she needed a break from the exhausting politics of the industry.

"I had beef with people," Priyanka said on the comedy podcast "Armchair Expert" with Hollywood actors Dax Shepard and Monica Padman.

When Shepard asked what made her start from scratch in an unknown territory, the popular Indian actor said she had never spoken about the reasons in public before.

"I've never said this, so I'm going to say it because you all make me feel safe..." she began.

The National Award winner said she was in the zone of being a "serious actor" and not doing "mega movies" when she got a call from her current manager Anjula Acharia while on the Coorg set of Vishal Bhardwaj's 2011 movie?"7 Khoon Maaf".

"I spoke to this woman. I'd recorded a demo because I just love music. She goes 'I love this demo. Would you be open to music?' I was like 'What does that even mean?' I've never been in the studio for real. She flew down... I was like 'I'll be a rockstar if I think I can.

"I was being pushed into a corner in the (Hindi film) industry. I had people not casting me for reasons, I had beef with people, I am not good at playing that game so I kind of was tired of the politics and I said I needed a break," Priyanka, who started her career in Los Angeles as a singer in 2012, told Shepard and Padman.

The 40-year-old actor, now based out of Los Angeles, said she was signed by American record label Interscope Records where its founder Jimmy Iovine was her talent scout. She gained prominence through music videos "In My City" and "Exotic".

"This music thing gave me an opportunity to go into another part of the world, not crave for the movies I didn't want to get but I would require to schmooze certain clubs and cliques of people. It would require grovelling and I had worked a long time by then that I didn't feel like I wanted to do it.

"So when this music thing came I was like 'F*** it, I'm going to America' and Interscope was amazing, they threw the building at me. I worked with Pitbull, Will.I.Am, Pharrell, Mathew Koma, and many incredible artistes. I had dinner with Bruce Springsteen and his wife, I met Jay-Z and Beyonce," she recalled.

Priyanka later went on to become the first South Asian actor to headline an American network drama series in her Hollywood debut through ABC's thriller drama series "Quantico" in 2015.

Priyanka said she was "living the dream" through the music, but she soon realised that she was much better at acting, her "day job".

"I got completely caught up in this music thing and thought 'I am a pop star now, forget about this movie thing', quickly to realise I was much better at my day job," she added.

The actor said Iovine of Interscope Records asked her to look for representation in acting since had been living in Los Angeles for over two years then.

"I was having trouble back home anyway with being cast in the kind of movies I didn't want to be cast in. And, Jimmy helped me get in with CAA (Creative Artists Agency), they signed me on and it started."??

Priyanka then made her Hollywood film debut with 2017's "Baywatch". She most recently starred in "The Matrix: Resurrections" and will next be seen in the Prime Video series "Citadel", opposite Richard Madden of "Game of Thrones" fame.

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