Had To Be Ethnically Ambiguous: Priyanka About Hollywood Casting

Priyanka recently launched Kabir Bedi's autobiography, 'Stories I Must Tell: The Emotional Life Of An Actor'

3 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>Actor Priyanka Chopra</p></div>

Priyanka Chopra recently launched Kabir Bedi's autobiography, Stories I Must Tell: The Emotional Life Of An Actor. The actor also recently authored her memoir Unfinished, a topic of discussion in her interview with Oprah. Speaking to Bollywood Hungama, Priyanka and Kabir talked about their experience as Indian actors in Hollywood, and the cementing of their identity.

Kabir revealed that Hollywood rarely wrote roles for Asians during his time, and said, "In those days Hollywood just wasn't writing roles for Indian, or Asians in general. So how do you get a role if it is not written for you? When they did have a role for an Asian, they had no hesitation in painting a white actor brown. The way I got the roles was telling my agent that forget the Indian bit. Cast me in anything that is foreign-looking to Hollywood."

He also said that, "In those days, a Ben Kingsley had to change his name from Krishna Bhanji to Ben Kingsley to be taken seriously and get roles," adding that a Priyanka Chopra doesn't have to change her name to be taken seriously anymore.

Priyanka agreed but added that she still had to remain 'ethnically ambiguous' for her roles. She revealed that she couldn't step out as an Indian because the concept was still very alien to Hollywood and they didn't consider that an Indian person could be cast in a leading role. Even her role in Quantico was half Indian-half American.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Priyanka Chopra in a still from 'Quantico'</p></div>

Priyanka Chopra in a still from 'Quantico'

(Photo Courtesy: YouTube)

Priyanka then talked about her 'biggest quest'. She now wants to educate people about the industry we come from and solidify the fact that Indians can stand shoulder to shoulder with anyone within any industry.

Expanding upon her vision for the future on Indian talent in Hollywood, she said, "For us, to have courage, demand the change that we need instead of being invisible like we are usually taught not to create problems. I am not that person. I encourage people to come out there and show what we are capable of. The White Tiger was a big example of that. I am continuing that with collaboration with a lot of talent, bringing and producing work in Hollywood which will be helmed and written by Indian talent."

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Kabir Bedi in 'Octopussy'&nbsp;</p></div>

Kabir Bedi in 'Octopussy' 

(Photo Courtesy: YouTube)

Kabir Bedi appeared in the 1983 James Bond film Octopussy, and Ashanti. He also starred in the Italian series Sandokan. He was given the title 'Cavaliere' after being honoured with the highest Italian civilian honour.

Priyanka Chopra became the first South Asian to headline an American drama series with her role as Alex Parrish in Quantico. She currently has multiple projects lined up including Text For You, Matrix 4, and a project helmed by the Russo brothers titled Citadel.

Her production The White Tiger received multiple award nominations including BAFTA and Oscars 2021.

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