Priyanka Chopra (pronounced [prɪˈjaːŋkaː ˈtʃoːpɽaː]; born 18 July 1982) is an Indian actress, singer, film producer, philanthropist, and the winner of the Miss World 2000 pageant. One of India’s highest-paid and most popular celebrities, Chopra has received numerous awards, including a National Film Award, two People’s Choice Award and five Filmfare Awards. In 2016, the Government of India honoured her with the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award, and Time magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people in the world.
Although Chopra initially aspired to study aeronautical engineering, she accepted offers to join the Indian film industry, which came as a result of her pageant wins, making her Bollywood debut in The Hero (2003). She played the leading lady in the box-office hits Andaaz (2003) and Mujhse Shaadi Karogi (2004), and earned praise for her breakout role in the 2004 thriller Aitraaz. In 2006, Chopra established herself as a leading actress of Indian cinema with starring roles in the top-grossing productions Krrish and Don.
Following a brief setback, she received critical acclaim for playing a troubled model in the drama Fashion (2008), which won her the Filmfare and National Film Award for Best Actress. Chopra subsequently gained wider recognition for portraying a range of characters in the films Kaminey (2009), 7 Khoon Maaf (2011), Barfi! (2012), Mary Kom (2014), Dil Dhadakne Do (2015) and Bajirao Mastani (2015), all of which garnered her several awards and nominations. In 2015, she began starring as Alex Parrish on the ABC thriller series Quantico, becoming the first South Asian to headline an American network series.
In addition to her acting career, Chopra is noted for her philanthropic work. She has worked with UNICEF for the last ten years and was appointed as the national and global UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for Child Rights in 2010 and 2016 respectively. She promotes various causes such as environment, health and education, and women’s rights and is particularly vocal about gender equality and feminism. Chopra’s off-screen life is the subject of substantial media coverage. As a recording artist, she has released three singles. She is also the founder of the production company Purple Pebble Pictures, which released the acclaimed Marathi comedy-drama Ventilator (2016).
Priyanka Chopra was born on 18 July 1982 in Jamshedpur, Bihar (now in Jharkhand), to Ashok and Madhu Chopra, both physicians in the Indian Army. Her father was a Punjabi from Ambala. Her mother, from Jharkhand, is the eldest daughter of Ms. Madhu Jyotsna Akhouri, a former member of Bihar Legislative Assembly, and Dr. Manohar Kishan Akhouri, a former Congress veteran. Chopra has a brother, Siddharth, who is seven years her junior and actresses Parineeti Chopra, Meera Chopra and Mannara Chopra are her cousins.
Due to her parents’ occupations the family relocated to a number of places in India, including Delhi, Chandigarh, Ambala, Ladakh, Lucknow, Bareilly, and Pune. Among the schools she attended were La Martiniere Girls’ School in Lucknow and St. Maria Goretti College in Bareilly. In an interview published in Daily News and Analysis, Chopra said that she did not mind travelling regularly and changing schools; she welcomed it as a new experience and a way to discover India’s multicultural society. Among the many places that she lived, Chopra has fond memories as a child of playing in the valleys of Leh, in the cold northwestern Indian desert region of Jammu and Kashmir. She has said, “I think I was in Class 4 when I was in Leh. My brother was just born. My dad was in the army and was posted there. I stayed in Leh for a year and my memories of that place are tremendous … We were all army kids there. We weren’t living in houses, we were in bunkers in the valley and there was a stupa right on top of a hill which used to overlook our valley. We used to race up to the top of the stupa”. She now considers Bareilly her home town, and maintains strong connections there.
At the age of thirteen, Chopra moved to the United States to study, living with her aunt, and attending schools in Newton, Massachusetts, and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, after a stop in Queens, New York, as her aunt’s family also moved frequently. While in Massachusetts, she participated in several theatre productions and studied Western classical music, choral singing and Kathak dance. During her teenage years in America, Chopra sometimes faced racial issues and was bullied for being Indian. She has said, “I was a gawky kid, had low self-esteem, came from a modest middle-class background, had white marks on my legs … But I was damn hard working. Today, my legs sell 12 brands.”
After three years, Chopra returned to India, finishing the senior year of her high-school education at the Army Public School in Bareilly. During this period, she won the local “May Queen” beauty pageant, after which she was pursued by admirers, leading her family to equip their home with bars for her protection. Her mother then entered her in the Femina Miss India contest of 2000; she finished second,[a] winning the Femina Miss India World title.
Chopra then went on to the Miss World pageant, where she was crowned Miss World 2000 and Miss World Continental Queen of Beauty—Asia & Oceania at the Millennium Dome in London on 30 November 2000. Chopra was the fifth Indian contestant to win Miss World, and the fourth to do so in seven years. She had enrolled in college, but left after winning the Miss World pageant. Chopra said that the Miss India and Miss World titles brought her recognition, and she then began receiving offers for film roles.
Chopra has maintained a strong relationship with her family, including her younger brother, Siddharth, and lives in an apartment on the same floor as her family. She was especially close to her father, who died in June 2013; in 2012, she got a tattoo reading “Daddy’s lil girl”, in his handwriting. Having not come from a film background, she describes herself as a self-made woman. Her mother, a well-established gynaecologist in Bareilly, gave up her practice to support Chopra as she embarked upon a film career.
Debut and breakthrough (2002–2004)
After winning Miss India World, Chopra was cast as the female lead in Abbas-Mustan‘s romantic thriller Humraaz (2002), in which she was to make her film debut. However, this fell through for various reasons: she stated the production conflicted with her schedule, while the producers said they re-cast because Chopra took on various other commitments. Her screen debut occurred in the 2002 Tamil film Thamizhan as the love interest of the protagonist, played by Vijay. A review published in The Hindu was appreciative of the film for its wit and dialogue, however it felt that Chopra’s role was limited from an acting viewpoint.
In 2003, Chopra made her Bollywood film debut as the second female lead opposite Sunny Deol and Preity Zinta in Anil Sharma‘s The Hero: Love Story of a Spy. Set against the backdrop of the Indian Army in Kashmir, the film tells the story of an agent and his fight against terrorism. The Hero was one of the highest-grossing Bollywood films that year, but received mixed reviews from critics. Derek Elley from Variety said that “mega-looker Chopra makes a solid screen debut.” Later that year she appeared in Raj Kanwar‘s box-office success Andaaz with Akshay Kumar, again sharing the female lead (this time with the debuting Lara Dutta). Chopra played a vivacious young girl who falls in love with Kumar’s character. The Hindustan Times noted the glamour that she brought to the role; Kunal Shah of Sify praised her performance and stated she had “all the qualities to be a star.” Her performance earned her the Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut (along with Dutta) and a nomination for the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Chopra’s first three releases in 2004—Plan, Kismat, and Asambhav—performed poorly at the box-office. Chopra was typically cast during this earlier period as a “glamour quotient”, in roles that were considered “forgettable” by film critic Joginder Tuteja. Later that year she starred with Salman Khan and Akshay Kumar in David Dhawan‘s romantic comedy Mujhse Shaadi Karogi, which became the third-highest-grossing film of the year in India and emerged as a major commercial success.
In late 2004, she starred opposite Kumar and Kareena Kapoor in Abbas-Mustan’s thriller Aitraaz. Chopra considers her first role as an antagonist, portraying Soniya Roy, an ambitious woman who accuses her employee of sexual harassment, as the “biggest learning experience of her career.” The film was a critical and commercial success, and Chopra’s performance received critical acclaim. Author Rini Bhattacharya credited her for bringing back the seductress to the silver screen. The Hindustan Times cited it as the film that changed her career significantly. A reviewer writing for the BBC said, “Aitraaz is Priyanka Chopra’s film. As the deliciously wicked, gold digging, scheming seductress, she chews up every scene she is in with her magnetic screen presence.” She won a Filmfare Award for Best Performance in a Negative Role, becoming the second and final actress to win the award after Kajol (the category was discontinued in 2008). Chopra also received a nomination for the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress, and the Producers Guild Film Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.
Early success and setbacks (2005–2008)
In 2005, Chopra appeared in six films. Her first two releases—Blackmail, and Karam—were commercially unsuccessful. Shilpa Bharatan-Iyer of Rediff.com considered Blackmail to be a very predictable film and believed that her role as a police commissioner’s wife was very limited from an acting point of view. Her performance in Karam was better received, Subhash K. Jha wrote that Chopra “with her poised interpretation of high drama, flies high creating a character whose vulnerability and beauty are endorsed by both the inner and outer worlds created for her character.” Later that year Chopra played the wife of Akshay Kumar in Vipul Amrutlal Shah‘s family drama Waqt: The Race Against Time, the story of a small businessman (played by Amitabh Bachchan) who, hiding his illness, wants to teach his irresponsible son some lessons before he dies. During production, Chopra revisited Leh, a favourite childhood haunt, for the shooting of the song “Subah Hogi”. She suffered an accident during the filming for the song “Do Me A Favour Let’s Play Holi” when she electrocuted herself, spending a day recovering in hospital. The film was well received by critics, and was a commercial success.
She next starred opposite Arjun Rampal in the romantic mystery thriller Yakeen, portraying the role of a possessive lover. Critical reaction towards the film was mixed, but her performance received praise. Taran Adarsh wrote that Chopra “is bound to win laurels yet again […] the actor is emerging as one of the finest talents in these fast-changing times”. Her next release was Suneel Darshan‘s romance Barsaat, co-starring Bobby Deol and Bipasha Basu. The film was a critical and commercial failure in India but fared better in the overseas market. Chopra’s performance received mixed reviews, with Bollywood Hungama describing it as “mechanical”. However, Rediff.com considered Chopra to be an “epitome of calm intelligence, who underplayed her role to perfection”. Later that year, Rohan Sippy cast her with Abhishek Bachchan, Ritesh Deshmukh and Nana Patekar in the comedy Bluffmaster! Chopra played independent working woman Simran Saxena, Bachchan’s love interest. The film proved to be a box-office success.
After starting 2006 with special appearances in three films, Chopra starred in Rakesh Roshan‘s superhero film Krrish (a sequel to the 2003 science-fiction film Koi… Mil Gaya). Co-starring with Hrithik Roshan, Rekha and Naseeruddin Shah, Chopra played a young television journalist who schemes to take advantage of an innocent young man with remarkable physical abilities, but eventually falls in love with him. The film was the second-highest-grossing film of the year in India and grossed over ₹1.17 billion (US$17 million) worldwide attaining a blockbuster status. Her next film was Dharmesh Darshan‘s romantic comedy Aap Ki Khatir, co-starring Akshaye Khanna, Ameesha Patel and Dino Morea. Neither the film nor Chopra’s performance were well received. Sukanya Verma of Rediff.com stated that Chopra’s portrayal of Anu was “erratically sketched” and that her character was never consistent: “first flaky, then cool, and later, sensitive”.
Chopra’s final release of 2006 was Farhan Akhtar‘s action-thriller Don (a remake of the 1978 film of the same name), with Shah Rukh Khan. Chopra portrayed Roma (played by Zeenat Aman in the original film), who joins the underworld to avenge Don for killing her brother. Chopra received martial-arts training for her role in the movie, and performed her own stunts. The film was declared a box-office success in India and overseas, with revenues of ₹1.05 billion (US$16 million). Raja Sen of Rediff.com found Chopra to be film’s “big surprise”; he believed that Chopra convincingly portrayed Roma, “looking every bit the competent woman of action” and wrote “This is an actress willing to push herself, and has definite potential for screen magic. Not to mention a great smile.”
In 2007, Chopra had two leading roles. Her first film was Nikhil Advani‘s Salaam-e-Ishq: A Tribute to Love, a romantic comedy in six chapters with an ensemble cast. She was featured opposite Salman Khan in the first chapter as Kamini, an item girl and aspiring actress who tries to land the lead role in a Karan Johar film with a publicity gimmick. Film critic Sukanya Verma praised her flair for comedy, especially her impressions of Meena Kumari, Nargis and Madhubala. Both Salaam-e-Ishq: A Tribute to Love and her next film, Big Brother, proved unsuccessful at the domestic box-office.
In 2008, Chopra starred opposite Harman Baweja in his father’s Love Story 2050. Chopra played a double role, so she coloured her hair twice; once red to portray the girl from the future and then black for the girl of the past. Her performance was poorly received; Rajeev Masand was unimpressed with Chopra’s chemistry with her co-star, remarking that her character “fails to inspire either affection or sympathy”. She next appeared in the comedy God Tussi Great Ho, portraying a TV anchor opposite Salman Khan, Sohail Khan and Amitabh Bachchan. The film was generally perceived to be plagiarised from the Hollywood comedy Bruce Almighty, although writer and director Rumi Jaffrey claimed it to be “a village folk tale about a Brahmin”. Chopra next starred as a kindergarten teacher in Chamku opposite Bobby Deol and Irrfan Khan, and played the role of Sonia in Goldie Behl‘s fantasy superhero film Drona opposite Abhishek Bachchan and Jaya Bachchan. Drona, widely criticised for its extensive use of special effects, marked Chopra’s sixth film in succession which had failed at both the box-office and critically, although Sukanya Verma of Rediff.com stated that Chopra displayed convincing action heroine skills. Critics generally perceived at this time that her career was over.
Critical acclaim (2008–2011)
The string of poorly received films ended when Chopra starred in Madhur Bhandarkar‘s Fashion, a drama about the Indian fashion industry which followed the lives and careers of several fashion models. She portrayed the ambitious supermodel Meghna Mathur, a role which she initially thought was out of her depth, but after six months’ consideration she accepted the role, inspired by Bhandarkar’s confidence in her. For the role, Chopra had to gain 6 kilograms (13 lb) and steadily shed the weight during the production as the character progressed in the film. Both the film and her performance received critical acclaim, becoming a major turning point in her career. Rajeev Masand wrote, “Priyanka Chopra turns in a respectable performance, one that will inevitably go down as her best.” For her performance, she won several awards, including the National Film Award for Best Actress, the Filmfare Award for Best Actress, the IIFA Award for Best Actress, the Screen Award for Best Actress, and the Producers Guild Film Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role. With a worldwide revenue of ₹600 million (US$9 million), Fashion emerged as a commercial success, and was listed by Subhash K. Jha as one of the best films of the decade with women protagonists. It was noted for being commercially successful despite being a women-centric film with no male lead. She said in retrospect, “I think actually Fashion kick started … the process of female dominated films. Today you have so many other films which have done well with female leads.”
Chopra’s final film of the year was Tarun Mansukhani‘s romantic comedy Dostana, with Abhishek Bachchan and John Abraham. Set in Miami, the film tells the story of a friendship between her character and two men who pretend to be gay to share an apartment with her. Chopra played a stylish young fashion-magazine editor Neha, who is trying to deal with professional pressures in her life. Produced by Dharma Productions, the film was a financial success with worldwide revenues of over ₹860 million (US$13 million). Chopra’s performance and look in the film were praised.
The following year Chopra played a feisty Marathi woman named Sweety in Vishal Bhardwaj‘s caper thriller Kaminey (co-starring Shahid Kapoor), about twin brothers and the journey in their life linked with the underworld. The film received critical acclaim and became successful at the box-office with the worldwide gross earnings of ₹710 million (US$11 million). Nikhat Kazmi of The Times of India thought that Chopra’s role completely reinvented her, and Rajeev Masand wrote: “Springing a delightful surprise in a smaller part is [Chopra], who sprinkles her lines with a smattering of fluent Marathi and emerges one of the film’s most lovable characters.” Raja Sen of Rediff.com named Chopra’s performance as the best by an actress that year. Her role earned her several awards and nominations, including a second consecutive Producers Guild Film Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role after Fashion and Best Actress nominations at the Filmfare, Screen and IIFA awards. Chopra subsequently appeared in Ashutosh Gowariker‘s romantic comedy What’s Your Raashee?, based on the novel Kimball Ravenswood by Madhu Rye. The film depicts the story of a US-based Gujrati NRI in search of his soulmate among 12 girls (all played by Chopra) associated with the 12 zodiac signs. She received the Screen Best Actress Award nomination for her performance in the film. She was also considered for inclusion in the Guinness World Records book for being the first film actress to portray 12 distinct characters in one film. Chopra’s heavy workload—filming for several productions, travelling for endorsements and performing at live shows (including the Miss India pageant)—took its toll; she fainted during filming, and was admitted to hospital.
In 2010, Chopra starred with Uday Chopra in Jugal Hansraj‘s unremarkable romantic comedy Pyaar Impossible! as Alisha, a beautiful college girl (and later a working mother) who falls in love with a nerdy boy. Later that year, she co-starred with Ranbir Kapoor in Siddharth Anand‘s romantic comedy Anjaana Anjaani. The film, set in New York and Las Vegas, follows the story of two strangers, both trying to commit suicide, who eventually fall in love with each other. The film was a moderate commercial success, and her performance received mixed reviews from critics. Sarita Tanwar of Mid Day wrote, “Priyanka Chopra is at her casual and spontaneous best. She embraces the character completely and makes it totally believable”, while Anupama Chopra dismissed her acting as “artificial”.
She starred as a femme fatale in her first film of 2011, Vishal Bhardwaj’s black comedy 7 Khoon Maaf. Based on the short story “Susanna’s Seven Husbands” by Ruskin Bond, 7 Khoon Maaf centres on Susanna Anna-Marie Johannes, an Anglo-Indian woman (played by Chopra) who murders her seven husbands in an unending quest for love. The film and her performance received acclaim from critics. Nikhat Kazmi remarked, “7 Khoon Maaf would undoubtedly end up as a milestone in Priyanka Chopra’s career graph. The actor displays exquisite command over a complex character that is definitely a first in Indian cinema.” Aniruddha Guha of Daily News and Analysis wrote: “Priyanka Chopra takes on a character that most of her contemporaries would shy away from and enacts it in a way that only she possibly can. For a woman with as many shades as Susanna, Chopra gets a crack at a role of a lifetime and she sparkles like never before.” Chopra’s performance earned her the Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actress and a nomination for the Filmfare Award for Best Actress, the IIFA Award for Best Actress, the Screen Award for Best Actress, and the Producers Guild Film Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role.
Commercial success (2011–2013)
Chopra’s final release of the year saw her reprising her role as Roma in the second installment of the Don franchise, Don 2. Although the film received mixed reviews, Chopra’s performance earned positive feedback from critics. According to The Express Tribune, “Chopra … seems to be the perfect choice for an action heroine. As you watch her effortlessly beat up some thugs in the movie, you come to the realisation that she may be the first proper female action hero in Bollywood.” Don 2 was a major success in India and overseas, earning over ₹2.06 billion (US$31 million) worldwide. Don 2 was showcased at the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival and (with Don) at the 2012 International Film Festival of Marrakech, in Morocco.
Chopra’s first film of 2012 was Karan Malhotra‘s action drama Agneepath, in which she starred with Hrithik Roshan, Sanjay Dutt and Rishi Kapoor. Produced by Karan Johar, the film is a remake of his father’s 1990 production of the same name. In one of several accidents to happen during production, Chopra’s lehenga (a traditional skirt) caught fire while filming a sequence for an elaborate Ganpati festival song. She featured as Kaali Gawde, Roshan’s loquacious love interest in the film. Mayank Shekhar noted how much Chopra stood out in the male-dominated film. Agneepath broke Bollywood’s highest opening-day earnings record, and had a worldwide gross of ₹1.93 billion (US$29 million). Chopra next co-starred with Shahid Kapoor in Kunal Kohli‘s romance, Teri Meri Kahaani. The film relates the stories of three unconnected couples (each played by Kapoor and Chopra), born in different eras. The film opened to mixed reactions from critics, but Chopra’s performance was generally well received.
Anurag Basu‘s Barfi!, with Ranbir Kapoor and Ileana D’Cruz, was her final appearance of 2012. Set in the 1970s, the film tells the story of three people, two of whom are physically disabled. Chopra played Jhilmil Chatterjee, an autistic woman who falls in love with a deaf, mute man (Kapoor). Rituparno Ghosh, an acclaimed director, considered it a “very, very brave” role to accept given how demanding it is for an actor to convincingly portray a woman with autism. To prepare for the role, Chopra visited several mental institutions and spent time with autistic people. The film received rave reviews from film critics and was a major commercial success, earning ₹1.75 billion (US$26 million) worldwide. Chopra received unanimous praise for her portrayal, which several reviewers regarded as her best performance at that time. The Indo-Asian News Service review said, “Priyanka Chopra as the autistic Jhilmil steals the show from Ranbir, if that’s possible. Her inherent glamorous personality simply disappears into her character. We don’t see the actress on screen at all! We see only Jhilmil who reminds us in a very pleasant way of Sridevi in Sadma. This is one of the most flawless interpretations of a physical-psychological disability seen on celluloid.” Pratim D. Gupta of The Telegraph noted Ranbir and Priyanka turn in two of the finest performances seen on the Indian screen. Chopra received Best Actress nominations at the Filmfare, Screen, IIFA and Producers Guild Film Awards. The film was screened at the Busan and Marrakech International Film Festivals, and was chosen as India’s entry for the 85th Academy Awards. Don 2, Agneepath and Barfi! rank among the highest grossing Bollywood films of all time.
In 2013, she lent her voice to the character of Ishani, the reigning Pan-Asian champion from India and the love interest of the main protagonist in the Disney Animation Studios‘s film Planes, a spinoff of Pixar‘s Cars franchise. Chopra, a fan of Disney films, had fun voicing the character saying “The closest I could come to being a Disney princess, I think, was Ishani”. The film was a commercial success, grossing approximately US$240 million worldwide. She played an NRI girl in the Apoorva Lakhia‘s bilingual action drama Zanjeer (Thoofan in Telugu), a remake of the 1973 Hindi film of the same name, which met with poor reactions from critics and was unsuccessful at the box office. Chopra next reprised her role of Priya in Rakesh Roshan’s Krrish 3—a sequel to the 2006 superhero film Krrish—with Hrithik Roshan, Vivek Oberoi and Kangana Ranaut. The film earned positive reviews though critics opined that Chopra’s role in the film was small. Writing for Daily News and Analysis, Sarita A Tanwar commented that “Priyanka is saddled with a role that doesn’t do her justice. She deserved a meatier role.” The feature became a box office success, earning over ₹3 billion (US$45 million) worldwide, to become Chopra’s biggest commercial success till date and her fourth major hit in the last two years. She also appeared in an item number titled “Ram Chahe Leela” for Sanjay Leela Bhansali‘s Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela. The song, which took four days to rehearse, saw Chopra execute a contemporary mujra, that incorporated complicated dance steps.
Recent work (2014–present)
In 2014, Chopra played the lead female role in Yash Raj Films‘s romantic action drama Gunday directed by Ali Abbas Zafar, alongside Ranveer Singh, Arjun Kapoor and Irrfan Khan. She portrayed Nandita, a cabaret dancer in Calcutta. Set in the 1970s, the film tells the story of two best friends, who fall in love with Chopra’s character. Gunday proved to be a box-office success, grossing over ₹1 billion (US$15 million) worldwide. She next featured in Mary Kom, a biographical film of the five time world boxing champion and Olympic bronze medalist Mary Kom. To prepare for the role, she spent time with Kom and received four months of boxing training. The film premiered at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival, received positive reviews from critics, and her performance received critical acclaim. Namrata Joshi from Outlook felt that Chopra’s sincere and earnest performance brings out Kom’s “determination as well as her vulnerabilities, and insecurities”, and Indo-Asian News Service wrote “Priyanka expresses every shade of her character with a pitch-perfect bravado. The actress controls curbs and quantifies every component of her character’s personality without losing that basic element of spontaneity.” Mary Kom emerged as a major commercial success, with revenues of ₹1.04 billion (US$15 million) at the box-office. Chopra won the Screen Award for Best Actress, the Producers Guild Film Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, and received another nomination for the Filmfare Award for Best Actress.
The following year, Chopra starred in Zoya Akhtar‘s Dil Dhadakne Do, an ensemble comedy-drama alongside Anil Kapoor, Shefali Shah, Ranveer Singh, Anushka Sharma and Farhan Akhtar. The film tells the story of a dysfunctional Punjabi family (the Mehras), who invite their family and friends on a cruise trip to celebrate the parents’ 30th wedding anniversary. She portrayed the role of Ayesha Mehra, a successful entrepreneur and the eldest child. Both the film and her performance attracted positive reviews. Pratim D. Gupta from The Telegraph considered Chopra to be one of the winners of the film and wrote “From the propah body language to the measured speech […] shows the kind of depth she is able to bring to her lines and characters these days. Rajiv Vijayakar of India-West wrote, “Topping the [ensemble cast] is the nuanced, magnificent work of Priyanka Chopra as Ayesha. Her tiny expressions and nuances, as well as her vocal inflections truly bring her character alive.” The cast of Dil Dhadakne Do won the Screen Award for Best Ensemble Cast, and Chopra was nominated for a Screen Award, IIFA Award, and Producers Guild Film Award for Best Actress.
Chopra signed a talent holding deal with ABC Studios and was later cast in the American thriller series Quantico as the character Alex Parrish. The series premiered on 27 September 2015 on ABC, making Chopra the first South Asian to headline an American network series. The series received positive reviews from television critics and Chopra was praised for her performance. James Poniewozik of The New York Times described Chopra as the “strongest human asset” of the show, and added that “she is immediately charismatic and commanding.” She received the People’s Choice Award for “Favourite Actress In A New TV Series” for her role in Quantico, becoming the first South Asian actress to win a People’s Choice Award. The following year, Chopra won a second People’s Choice Award for “Favorite Dramatic TV Actress”.
Chopra next portrayed Kashibai, the first wife of the maratha general Peshwa Bajirao I, in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s epic historical romance drama Bajirao Mastani. The feature opened to positive reviews, and Chopra received praise for her portrayal which several reviewers regarded as her best performance to date. Rajeev Masand wrote “the film benefits from a nice touch of playfulness and humor in Priyanka Chopra’s Kashibai. Chopra brings grace to the character, and practically steals the film.” Film critic Raja Sen thought that Chopra, despite not being in the title role, owned the film, and wrote “Chopra’s terrific in the part, her intelligently expressive eyes speaking volumes and her no-nonsense Marathi rhythm bang-on.” A major commercial success, Bajirao Mastani grossed ₹3.5 billion (US$52 million) at the box-office, becoming one of the highest-grossing Indian films of all time. For her performance, she won the Filmfare Award, IIFA Award, and Screen Award for Best Supporting Actress. She also received a nomination for the Producers Guild Film Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role.
In 2016, Chopra starred as a police officer in Prakash Jha‘s social drama Jai Gangaajal. She next produced the Marathi comedy-drama Ventilator under her production company Purple Pebble Pictures. The film received critical acclaim and performed well at the box office.
Chopra has several projects at the various stages of production. She is currently filming the second season of Quantico in New York City. Chopra has completed her work on Seth Gordon‘s action comedy Baywatch, in which she will play the main antagonist opposite Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron.
Chopra’s main vocal influence was her father, who she said was “an incredible singer”, and helped develop her interest in singing. She used her vocal talent early in her pageantry career. Her first recording, the song “Ullathai Killathe” in the Tamil film Thamizhan (2002), was made at the urging of her director and co-star, Vijay (who had noticed her singing on the set). She declined to sing playback for “Tinka Tinka” in her film Karam (2005), preferring to concentrate on her acting career, but later sang the song live on the television programme Sa Re Ga Ma Pa. Chopra recorded an unreleased song for Bluffmaster! (2005). In August 2011, Universal Music Group signed Chopra to a worldwide recording agreement with DesiHits. The deal indicated that her first studio album would be released by Interscope Records in North America and by Island Records elsewhere.
In July 2012, Chopra became the first Bollywood star signed by Creative Artists Agency, an entertainment and sports agency based in Los Angeles. Travelling to the United States to work on her album, Chopra collaborated with Sam Watters, Matthew Koma and Jay Sean. The album will be produced by RedOne. Her first single, “In My City“, debuted in the US on 13 September 2012 in a TV spot for the NFL Network‘s Thursday Night Football, 12 hours after the full song debuted in India; a shortened version of the song was used to open each show of the season. “In My City” features rapper will.i.am; according to Chopra, a co-writer, the song was inspired by her unsettled childhood and her journey from a small-town girl to a celebrity. “In My City” trended at number one on Twitter several minutes after release. The song received mixed reviews from critics, and was a commercial success in India; it sold more than 130,000 copies in its first week, topped the Hindi pop chart and was certified triple platinum. In the United States the single was unsuccessful, with 5,000 digital downloads in its first week according to Nielsen SoundScan, and did not receive radio play. In October 2012, the single won her the Best International Debut award at the People’s Choice Awards India. In December 2012, she received three nominations: Best Female Artist, Best Song and Best Video (for “In My City”) at the World Music Awards. She also received the Trailblazer Award from the South Asian Media, Marketing and Entertainment Association for becoming the first Bollywood actor to win a major record deal in the U.S. Chopra was also a featured artist on “Erase”, an EDM song produced by the American DJ and producer duo The Chainsmokers.
In July 2013, Chopra released her second single “Exotic” featuring American rapper Pitbull, along with its music video. “Exotic” debuted at number 16 on the Billboard Dance/Electronic Songs and number 11 on the Dance/Electronic Digital Songs chart in the 27 July 2013 issue. The single also entered at number 74 on the Canadian Hot 100 chart. “Exotic” debuted at number 44 on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs chart and peaked at number 12. Her third single, a cover of Bonnie Raitt‘s “I Can’t Make You Love Me” was released in April 2014. The song’s accompanying video was released around the same time. The song peaked at number 28 on the Billboard Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart.
Chopra’s first song as a playback singer in Bollywood was “Chaoro”, a lullaby from Mary Kom (2014). In 2015, she sang the title song, a duet with Farhan Akhtar, for Dil Dhadakne Do. She recorded a promotional song for Ventilator (2016), making her Marathi language playback singing debut with “Baba”.
Chopra supports various causes related to the girl child through her foundation “The Priyanka Chopra Foundation for Health and Education”, which works towards providing support to unprivileged children across the country in the areas of Education and Health. She donates ten percent of her earnings to fund the foundation’s operations, and pays for educational and medical expenses for seventy children in India, fifty among whom are girls. She often speaks out on women’s issues: against female infanticide and foeticide, and in support of education for girls. A believer in feminism, Chopra has always been vocal about women’s rights, gender equality, and gender pay inequality. In 2006, a “day with Chopra” was auctioned on eBay; the proceeds were donated to an NGO, Nanhi Kali, which helps educate girls in India. She has made appearances in support of other charities, such as the 2005 HELP! Telethon Concert to raise funds for the victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake.
She has worked with UNICEF since 2006, recording public-service announcements and participating in media panel discussions promoting children’s rights and the education of girls, and also participated in celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. She was appointed as the national UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for Child Rights on 10 August 2010. UNICEF Representative Karin Hulshof said of the appointment: “She is equally passionate about her work on behalf of children and adolescents. We are proud of the work she has done with us so far on child rights, and, we are thrilled about all what we will be doing together so that no child gets left behind.” In 2009, she shot a documentary for the organisation Alert India to increase understanding of leprosy. She modelled for designer Manish Malhotra and Shaina NC‘s charity fashion show to raise funds for the Cancer Patients Aid Association (CPAA) NGO. In 2010 Chopra was one of several celebrities who created promotional messages for Pearls Wave Trust, which campaigns against violence and abuse of women and girls. Chopra also launched the “Save the Girl Child” campaign, which aims to change the attitudes of Indians towards girls. In 2012 Chopra spoke at the launch of Awakening Youth, an anti-addiction programme.
Chopra is a supporter of environmental charities and is brand ambassador for NDTV Greenathon, an initiative to support eco-friendliness and provide solar power to rural villages without electricity supplies. She appeared with children in an animated video to support the cause, and removed rubbish from the banks of the Yamuna river in Agra to increase awareness of environmental issues. During the third and fourth editions of Greenathon, She adopted up to seven villages to provide with a regular supply of electricity. She adopted a tigress in 2011 and a lioness in 2012 at the Birsa biological park, paying for both animals’ upkeep for a year. To promote organ donation, Chopra pledged to donate her own organs after death and was co-keynote speaker at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center‘s Bollywood-themed 20th-anniversary celebration of its liver-transplant programme in 2012.
She donated ₹5 million (US$74,000) to Nanavati hospital to build a cancer ward. The ward, which is named after her late father, was inaugurated by her in 2013. The same year, she provided voice-over in English and Hindi for the documentary film Girl Rising for the organisation of the same name. She was invited as one of the speakers alongside Gordon Brown, Steve Wozniak, Bill Clinton, and Charlie Baker for the 50th anniversary of the World Leaders Conference at the Hynes Convention Center, Boston. She spoke about women empowerment through education, discussing inequality and the challenges of education for women, and received a standing ovation for her speech. Chopra also lent her voice to a music video of John Lennon‘s “Imagine“. The video featuring her along with other singers, including Katy Perry, and The Black Eyed Peas was created as part of a global campaign by UNICEF to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Indian prime minister Narendra Modi selected Chopra as one of his nine nominees called “Navratna” in 2014 for the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, a national cleanliness campaign by the Government of India. She lent her support to the campaign by cleaning and rehabilitating a garbage-laden neighbourhood in Mumbai, and urged people to maintain the cleanliness. In 2015, she voiced People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA’s) life-size robotic elephant named “Ellie”, who visited schools across the United States and Europe to educate kids about elephants and captivity, and to urge people to boycott circuses. Chopra was appointed as the global UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in December 2016.
Television presenting and stage performances
In 2007, Chopra was on the judges’ panel of the Miss India pageant. She stated, “Miss India will always remain special. That’s where it all started for me. And maybe that’s where it would’ve ended if I hadn’t won the crown.” She also served as a judge at Miss World 2009. In 2010, she hosted the third season of the reality show Fear Factor: Khatron Ke Khiladi on the Colors channel, taking over from previous host Akshay Kumar. According to contestants, in hosting the series, Chopra had “transformed into quite a whip-wielding dictator”, relentlessly pushing the contestants to work. She performed most of her own stunts, adamant to prove that she could rival Akshay Kumar, who had hosted the previous two seasons. The opening ratings of the show topped those of the two previous seasons. The show was praised by critics, and earned her the Indian Telly Award for Most Impactful Debut on Television. She visited Jawan troops in Tenga, in eastern India, for a special episode of the NDTV show Jai Jawan celebrating the 60th anniversary of India’s independence. In February 2016, Chopra presented the award for Best Film Editing at the 88th Academy Awards.
Chopra has participated in a number of world tours and concerts. She took part in a world concert tour, “Temptations 2004”, and performed with other Bollywood actors (including Shah Rukh Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Rani Mukerji, Preity Zinta and Arjun Rampal) in 19 stage shows. In 2011, she participated (with Shahid Kapoor and Shah Rukh Khan) in a concert in Durban, South Africa celebrating 150 years of India–South Africa friendship. In 2012, she performed at M. A. Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai in the opening ceremony of the fifth season of cricket’s Indian Premier League with Amitabh Bachchan, Salman Khan, Kareena Kapoor and Katy Perry. The same year, she performed at Dubai Festival City‘s Ahlan Bollywood Concert with other Bollywood stars such as Salman Khan and Sophie Choudry.
Chopra began writing an opinion column, “The Priyanka Chopra Column”, for the Hindustan Times in 2009. She wrote a total of fifty columns for the newspaper. She said after her first year of writing: “I’m a private person and never thought that I could express my feelings. But strangely enough, whenever I sat down to write this column, my inner most thoughts came to the fore.” In March 2009, she met several readers who had submitted feedback on her weekly column. She continued to write sporadically for newspapers. In August 2012 she wrote a column published in The Times of India titled “No woman in Mumbai feels safe any longer”, discussing the murder of 25-year-old Pallavi Purkayastha, whom she met while working on Don. In the article, Chopra expressed her views about the safety of women in cities. She wrote: “The magnitude of this crime can perhaps only truly be understood by a woman. It has much larger ramifications. We can’t allow this to happen. We have to, in whichever way we can, ensure that what happened with Pallavi does not happen again. We need to remind ourselves that we women today are a vital contributor to the growth of the new India.”
In a July 2014 article published in The Guardian, she criticised female genital mutilation and child marriage. She wrote: “These practices violate the fundamental rights of girls and women, and hold back social and economic development that would benefit children, communities and countries. Child marriage and FGM destroy childhoods, disrupt schooling, leave girls at higher risk of dying from pregnancy-related causes, and contribute to a cycle of poverty.” In December 2014, Chopra wrote an op-ed for The New York Times titled “What Jane Austen Knew” about the importance of education for girls. She praised and quoted Nobel Peace Prize winners Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi, and described how her desire to help others was triggered when, at just nine years old, she joined her parents while they volunteered their spare time to offer modern health care to the rural poor. In late 2014, Chopra began writing a monthly column, “Pret-a-Priyanka”, for “Elle.com“. In an article published in January 2015, she expressed her views on diversity and being a global citizen.
In the media
Chopra has been described by the critics as one of the most talented actresses in Bollywood. Analysing Chopra’s career highlights, Bollywood Hungama noted: “Despite a career that has seen a constant flip-flop […] the performer in her has seen a constant growth with every passing year.” After playing strong characters in a series of films, she gained recognition for her versatility in portraying a range of unconventional roles, leading CNN-IBN to describe her “as one of the most powerful actresses in the current lot and someone who doesn’t shy away from experimenting with roles within the realms of popular cinema”. The Times of India called her a “game changer” and added that she “made the age-old demarcation between a hero and heroine redundant and one can easily describe her as a Shero”. In 2012, film critic Subhash K. Jha labelled her “the best actress in the post-Sridevi generation” and listed her character in Barfi! as being “one of the finest inwardly ravaged characters in Bollywood.” Chopra has often featured on Rediff.com’s annual listing of “Bollywood’s Best Actresses”, and was featured in their list of “Top 10 Actresses of 2000–2010”.
Chopra is one of the highest-paid actresses in India and the most popular and high-profile celebrities in India. She is described as a sex symbol and a style icon. Her figure, eyes, lips and exotic looks have been cited by the media as her distinctive physical features. Designers Falguni and Shane Peacock wrote, “She is comfortable in her own skin and looks ravishing in whatever she wears, be it a bikini, short or long dress or even a sari.” She ranks high on lists of the most influential, powerful, popular and attractive Indian celebrities. In 2006, 2012, 2014 and 2015, the UK magazine Eastern Eye ranked her first on their “World’s Sexiest Asian Women” list, and she was featured on Verve‘s list of most powerful women in 2009 and 2010. She was named “India’s Best-Dressed Woman of the Year” by People in 2011, and Maxim selected her twice (2011 and 2013) as “Hottest Girl of the Year”. In 2012, she was declared the most influential Indian on the social-media circuit in a survey conducted by Pinstorm. In 2015, People featured her as one of the “Most Intriguing People of the Year“. In 2016, Time named her one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World” and also featured on the cover of the issue. The same year, Forbes named her the eight-highest-paid TV actress in the world.
Chopra was declared queen of brand endorsements in India, ranking second in on the list of brand ambassadors of 2008 (only after Shah Rukh Khan) in a survey conducted by TAM AdEx. The following year, she was named “India’s top brand endorser” by the same agency, becoming the first woman to top the endorsement charts in India. Manish Porwal of Alchemist Talent Solutions said in 2012 that Chopra was a stable and dependable brand endorser, and many brands renewed their contract with her. Chopra has represented many brands, including TAG Heuer, Pepsi, Nokia, Garnier and Nestlé; she was the first female representative of Hero Honda. She and three other Bollywood actors (Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol and Hrithik Roshan) had their likenesses made into a series of miniature dolls for Hasbro and the UK-based Bollywood Legends Corporation. In 2009, Chopra became the first Indian actress to cast a foot impression at the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum in Florence, Italy, and she received custom-designed shoes from the Ferragamo house. In 2013, she became the first Indian model to represent Guess, whose CEO Paul Marciano called her “the young Sophia Loren“. The actress became the first Indian actress to feature in a school textbook. Her life is described in a chapter of Roving Families, Shifting Homes, a book taught at Springdales School. The book also includes pictures of her family and the moment she was crowned Miss World in 2000.
Chopra is particularly known in the Indian media and film industry for her professionalism and is often referred to as “Piggy Chops”, a nickname given her by co-stars on the set of Bluffmaster! in 2005. She is popularly referred to by the media and the film industry as “PeeCee” or simply “PC”. Although she is known for her media-friendly attitude, Chopra is reticent to discuss details of her personal life in public. She has had a Twitter account since January 2009, and is one of the most followed Indian actresses on the platform. In 2015, Chopra appeared in The Huffington Post‘s “100 Most Influential Women on Twitter” list, where she was named the most influential Indian woman on Twitter.
Chopra has won a National Film Award for Best Actress for Fashion (2008) and five Filmfare Awards: Best Female Debut for Andaaz (2003), Best Performance in a Negative Role for Aitraaz (2004), Best Actress for Fashion (2008), Critics Award for Best Actress for 7 Khoon Maaf (2011), and Best Supporting Actress for Bajirao Mastani (2015). She has also won two People’s Choice Awards: “Favourite Actress In A New TV Series”, and “Favorite Dramatic TV Actress” for Quantico. She is the first South Asian actress to win a People’s Choice Award. In 2016, she was awarded the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award, by the Government of India for her contribution to arts.
- As lead artist
|Title||Year||Peak chart positions||Certifications||Album|
|“In My City”
|“I Can’t Make You Love Me“||2014||—||—||28|
- As featured artist
(The Chainsmokers featuring Priyanka Chopra)
(N.A.S.A. featuring Priyanka Chopra & DMX)
- Other appearances
|“Chaoro (Lori)”||2014||Mary Kom||Hindi (Lullaby)|
|“Dil Dhadakne Do”||2015||Dil Dhadakne Do||Hindi|
|“Need U”(Conversation with Priyanka Chopra)||2016||Hard II Love||English|