Priyanka Chopra faces the music


Staff member
It's nearing midnight in India, but Bollywood hottie Priyanka Chopra is showing no sign of slowing down. All charged up, she displays no fatigue as she tells tabloid! exclusively about her eventful day packed with rehearsals for her upcoming Shoppiesta gig on Sunday, the trailer launch of her much-anticipated action thriller Agneepath in Mumbai and the details of her international pop album.

Her only gripe? She's yet to log on to Twitter to read the comments from her fans and peers about her latest look in Agneepath.

"There's lots happening in my life and I am very excited," she says by phone. "About my act in Dubai, I have formulated a very special act just for Eid, for all the people in Dubai. It doesn't have anything to do with Agneepath, my pop album or Don 2, but it's going to be fun and different."

And different is what she strives for. From making her debut as a wily seductress in Aitraaz — Bollywood's answer to Disclosure — to cutting her own international pop album with Universal Music and Interscope, Chopra thrives on variety.

"The pop album just happened to me, it felt as if it wasn't really my call. When Universal approached me to do it, they wanted to do a global album with a global artist. Just like how Shakira was picked up from Colombia or how Rihanna was picked up from Barbados and turned into global artists — that kind of thing. Universal was looking to launch an Indian artist and I am glad they picked me, because I adore singing."

‘The novelty's alive'

The former beauty queen may sound pragmatic about her singing debut, but adds that she always knew she would eventually cut her own album. "You know what, I never sang in any of my films, because I always knew I wanted to sing on my own pop album. I just never knew when, how or where. But I am really glad that I didn't sing in films, because now the novelty is still alive."

Last week, she even brain-stormed with her friend, UK-based rapper Jay Sean. "I am a huge fan of Jay and his music. As of now, we haven't spoken about any collaborations and stuff — it's too early.

"Jay has worked on some of the music. He has also written a few songs for me," says Chopra, adding that her new album is a solo effort and not a collaborative effort, per se.

Naturally, she is also banking on her training in Western classical music to aid her in this endeavour. "I hope all that helps.

"My family always knew that I could sing and some of my producer friends also knew it. In fact, I had recorded a few songs for my films, but I never let them release [the tracks] because I was nervous. Universal heard these songs and they liked it."

She also credits her love for pop music to her years spent studying in the US. "Because I have gone to a school in the US, I have grown up on hip-hop and R&B. My influences are very pop-culture driven and I love dance music."

Chopra rates Rihanna, Lady Gaga and Eminem as her top music idols.

"I think it will amazing to be a part of that world. It's India's foray into that world too."

She may sound like a diplomat, but she drops that glossy persona when you ask her about the rumours and link-ups surrounding her personal life. Reams of print space is kept aside to speculate on her latest boy toy. Go through her list of alleged conquests — which includes Hollywood hunk Gerard Butler, singer Jay Sean and actor Shahid Kapoor — and you are left wondering if there's any grain of truth to it.

"I think it's very difficult for a single girl — who's popular — to be in the film industry. I can't be standing on rooftops giving clarifications about who is in my life and what's happening in my life. So I decided from the first year in the industry itself that I will not speak about my personal life unless I have someone permanent. When I am engaged, the world will know," says Chopra, who terms such link-ups as a "non-issue".

"They are linking me up with anybody and everybody. I just need to have a conversation with someone. That's all it takes."

She may not offer any clarifications about her latest squeeze, but she's more than happy to define her idea of Mr Perfect. "Good looks really don't come into the picture. Intelligent, kind and courteous is what it takes.

"But now, it's all about movies and music in my life."

Catching up with Shahid

Bollywood heartthrob Shahid Kapoor has always been compared to Shah Rukh Khan. Something about the Mausam star — perhaps his on-screen mannerisms or his relentless energy — reminds us of Khan.

Things took a different spin with the release of Jab We Met and Kaminey. For the first time, Kapoor managed to step out of Khan's shadow. But his upcoming song-and-dance spectacle at Shoppiesta on Sunday — which initially had King Khan leading it — has brought it all back. Once Khan pulled out, next-best-thing Kapoor was roped in to replace him.

Quiz the actor about it, and he says there's only one Khan. "He's truly the king of Bollywood. There's no question of replacing him.

"It's my first live performance in Dubai and I am really looking forward to it. I have heard a lot about the crowd and I can't wait."

He is planning to dance to a few songs from his epic romance Mausam. Directed by his father, Pankaj Kapur, he plays an Indian Air Force pilot who falls in love with a Kashmiri girl, played by Sonam Kapoor.

"It's a story about unconditional love and I have always wanted to do an epic film. It took us one-and-a-half years to make it — we are just very happy with the way it turned out. Love stories can never go out of style — look at Avatar. That too had a love story in it."

Labelling himself a "hopeless romantic", he says Mausam celebrates love and emotions. "In life, these are the two important elements that make it work. Mausam goes to show when you love, do so unconditionally."