Actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas on Sunday said when a female-led film doesn’t work, it feels like a collective failure that takes all women “a few steps back”.
Priyanka, who has headlined critically acclaimed women-centric Hindi films such as Fashion, Saat Khoon Maaf, and Mary Kom, was in conversation with actor Bhumi Pednekar at the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival 2023 in Mumbai.
“There’s a lot of pressure when you have a female-led film, and because we have so few (of them being made). We are seeing successes of female-led films more and more, but that’s tough (to happen every time). When a female-led film doesn’t do well I feel the collective failure on behalf of all women. I feel we have taken them a few steps back.
“This has to work because there are a few of us who get the opportunity to do this, and we have to do it well. Whether there’s a filmmaker, actors, writers, or any medium, hair or make-up, you just feel… I won’t let womankind down because we have such few opportunities,” the 41-year-old actress said during the session.
Citing the example of Fashion, Priyanka recalled that naysayers had advised her against doing the female-led film in the early stages of her career. The movie, directed by Madhur Bhandarkar, turned 15 on Sunday.
“I remember I met Madhur Bhandarkar sir and that time I was told ‘Women work in female-oriented films towards the end of their career for a National Award. It was like, you have just started, you have done ‘Krrish’, ‘Aitraaz’, you are having your moment… This was in the early 2000s.
“I liked the script (of ‘Fashion’). We were working for six months on the script. It was a passion project. We went to Goa, we worked on the character graph of (her character) Meghna Mathur, and her emotional and physical journey. All I focused on was immersing myself in this girl. I realised you need to know your character like she is your best friend before you walk on the set,” she said.
The actress revealed how Fashion altered her viewpoint about acting, adding she was eager to join an acting school at the time.
She learned the tricks of the trade from Hindi cinema stalwarts such as Naseeruddin Shah and Pankaj Kapur, she further said.