Priyanka Chopra is an Indian actress, singer-songwriter and former Miss World. Before starting her acting career, she worked as a model and gained fame after winning the Miss World title in 2000. She is often referred to by the nickname "Piggy Chops", which was given to her by co-stars on the set of the film Bluffmaster! During her career, Chopra has received four Filmfare Awards, among seven nominations and one National Film Award for Best Actress.
Chopra made her acting debut with the 2002 Tamil film Thamizhan. The following year, she made her Bollywood film debut with The Hero: Love Story of a Spy and followed it with the hit Andaaz, for which she won a Filmfare Best Female Debut Award. In 2004, she became the second woman to win the Filmfare Best Villain Award, which she received for her critically acclaimed performance in Aitraaz. She subsequently appeared in successful films like Mujhse Shaadi Karogi (2004), Waqt: The Race Against Time (2005), Krrish (2006) and Don (2006).
2008 marked the beginning of a new phase in Chopra's career. Her portrayal of a troubled model in Fashion earned her a National Film Award for Best Actress, as well as a Filmfare Award for Best Actress. She received further critical acclaim for roles in films like Kaminey (2009), What's Your Raashee? (2009) and 7 Khoon Maaf (2011), for which she won a Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actress and followed it with commercially successful films such as Don 2 (2011) and Agneepath (2012). Having done so, Chopra established herself as one of the leading contemporary actresses in Bollywood.
In addition to movie acting, Chopra is a trained western classical singer. She signed a worldwide recording agreement with Universal Music and Desi Hits to record and release her first music album. The first single is expected to be released in August/September 2012.
Early life and background
Chopra was born in Jamshedpur, Bihar,(now in Jharkhand) to Ashok Chopra and Madhu Akhauri, both physicians by profession in the Indian Army. She spent 7 years in Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh; Newton, Massachusetts; and Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Her father hails from a family of Punjabi origin, settled in Ambala district in the state of Haryana and her mother, from a Bihari Kayastha family settled in Jamshedpur. She also has a brother, Siddharth, who is seven years younger than her. Her cousin Parineeti Chopra is also an actress.
Chopra studied at La Martiniere Girls' School in Lucknow as a young girl. She subsequently re-located to the U.S. where she studied in Newton North High School in Newton, Massachusetts and then in John F. Kennedy High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She returned to India and finished her high school at Army Public School in Bareilly. She registered for her college studies at Jai Hind College in Mumbai.
Debut and breakthrough (2002–03)
Priyanka Chopra made her debut in the 2002 Tamil film Thamizhan playing the role of Priya, the love interest of the protagonist in the film played by Vijay. The film was praised for its wit, although the depth of Chopra's character was seen as lacking. Chopra also sang playback in the film, singing "Ullathai Killadhe" along with Vijay. In 2003, she appeared in her first Bollywood film, opposite Sunny Deol and Preity Zinta in the Anil Sharma film The Hero: Love Story of a Spy. She played a supporting role as a doctor named Shaheen in the film that The New York Times described as "ripping its text from the seething border tensions between India and Pakistan, spicing its conflict with hot-tempered religious zealots bent on nuclear havoc". Despite being one of the highest grossing films of that year, the overall film was not well received by critics. Chopra was awarded mostly good reviews for her debut Hindi performance. Later that year she appeared in Raj Kanwar's Andaaz, playing the character of Jiya who falls in love with Raj Malhotra, played by Akshay Kumar. The film was a success at the box office, earning her a Filmfare Best Female Debut Award and a nomination for Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award. Rediff.com said of her role, "Priyanka Chopra alone clicks with the audience, thanks to her skimpy outfits."
Initial success and professional setbacks (2004–08)
Her next few films released in 2004 Plan opposite Sanjay Dutt, Kismat opposite Bobby Deol and Asambhav opposite Arjun Rampal performed poorly at the box office. Later that year she appeared in David Dhawan's romantic comedy Mujhse Shaadi Karogi playing the role of a young fashion designer Rani along with Salman Khan and Akshay Kumar. The film turned out to be the third-highest grossing film of that year. She next starred in Abbas-Mustan's thriller Aitraaz alongside Akshay Kumar and Kareena Kapoor. It was her first negative role and her performance was critically acclaimed. She earned a Filmfare Best Villain Award, becoming the second and last female actor to win the award after Kajol (the category has been retired since 2008). She also received a second nomination for Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award for the role. Film critic Subhash K. Jha noted, "A star is born! As the predatory social-climbing seductress who can go to any length to satiate her lust for life, Priyanka Chopra rocks the scene like never before. The film is undoubtedly a triumph for Priyanka Chopra. With half a smile, a twitch of her lip and a movement of her eyebrow she seems to slip into her man-eater's role with captivating ease". Taran Adarsh wrote, "AITRAAZ belongs to Priyanka Chopra completely. No two opinions on that! Be it her first appearance [in the story] or the sequence when she openly asks Akshay for sexual favours or the sequence with Kareena, Priyanka gets an opportunity to bear her claws and she does it with complete understanding of the character. She sneaks her way through the role like an expert, drawing audience hatred the way a magnet collects iron filings."
In 2005, she starred in six films. Four of them, Blackmail, Karam, Yakeen and Barsaat failed to do well. However, her performance in Yakeen garnered mostly good reviews from critics. Rediff.com noted, "Priyanka does well, though her part is restricted to crying." and Taran Adarsh wrote, "Priyanka Chopra is bound to win laurels yet again, the actor is emerging as one of the finest talents in these fast-changing times." Her other two 2005 releases, Waqt: The Race Against Time and Bluffmaster! were moderately successful at the box office. Subhash K Jha wrote about her performance in Bluffmaster!, "Chopra has little to do. But she does it with eye-catching aplomb."
In 2006, Chopra starred in Rakesh Roshan's Krrish which was a sequel to the 2004 sci-fi film Koi... Mil Gaya. She shared the screen with Hrithik Roshan and Rekha. The film was declared a blockbuster and was one of the highest grossing films of the year. She also appeared in Aap Ki Khatir opposite Akshaye Khanna and Dino Morea. Her last release was Farhan Akhtar's Don, alongside Shahrukh Khan which was a remake of the 1978 film of the same name. She was cast to play Roma, a role which was played by Zeenat Aman in the original movie. Shahrukh Khan and Priyanka Chopra underwent special martial arts training for their roles in the movie and both performed their own stunts. Upon release, The film was generally well received both in India and abroad. A week after its theatrical run, Box Office India declared the film a hit in India, and a "blockbuster" overseas.
In 2007, she appeared in Nikhil Advani's ensemble piece Salaam-e-Ishq: A Tribute to Love. Despite a promising opening, the movie was a financial failure. Chopra received mixed to negative reviews for her performance in the film. Her next release, the much-delayed Big Brother, also underperformed at the box-office.
In 2008, Chopra acted in six films. Her first four films, Love Story 2050, God Tussi Great Ho, Chamku and Drona, were critically and commercially unsuccessful. Critics started panning her for choosing the wrong movies and criticising her performances. Still, she was noted for her physical performance in Drona. The Times of India critic Nikhat Kazmi wrote, "Priyanka Chopra kicks butt like never before."
Fashion and recent work (2008–present)
After a series of flops, Chopra was cast in Madhur Bhandarkar's Fashion (2008) for the lead role of Meghna Mathur. Revolving around the fashion world through Chopra's role of an ambitious model, the film was a critical success. Her performance in the film was appreciated and earned her several awards for Best Actress including the National Film Award for Best Actress, as well as the Filmfare Award for Best Actress. Subhash K Jha said of her performance, "Her transformation from the bubbly Chandigarh girl to the super-ambitious supermodel, who dumps her boyfriend and conscience to pursue her dreams, is achieved with a gentle subtlety and bridled passion. This is Priyanka’s coming-of-age film. She looks like a zillion bucks. And acts like a woman who connects with the darkest, most desperate human emotions without wallowing in them." Rajeev Masand wrote, "Chopra turns in a respectable performance, one that will inevitably go down as her best." The film became a major turning point in her career. Chopra's final release of the year was Tarun Mansukhani's romantic comedy Dostana alongside Abhishek Bachchan and John Abraham. The film explores the story of two men who pretend to be gay, so that they can rent an apartment from an older lady. Both the men fall in love with the same girl, their roommate, but are unable to express their feelings because she is related to the old landlady. The film was a financial success and went on to become the eight-highest grossing film at the Indian box office in 2008. Chopra received positive reviews for her performance. Khalid Mohamed wrote, "Priyanka Chopra is in form, pretty convincing as a working woman who’s trying to deal with professional pressures." She was also praised for her overall look in the film.
In 2009, she appeared in Vishal Bhardwaj's caper thriller Kaminey alongside Shahid Kapoor, playing the role of a feisty Marathi girl named Sweety. The film was a critical and commercial success. Her performance received positive reviews with Taran Adarsh describing it as "first-rate", He further stated, "She's so much in sync with her character... [and] gets the Maharashtrian accent perfect". Anupama Chopra wrote, "Sweety is this year’s most exciting heroine after Paro in Dev D, and Priyanka plays her with aplomb." Her work in the film brought her several awards and nominations including a Filmfare Award for Best Actress nomination and a second consecutive Apsara Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role. She subsequently appeared in Ashutosh Gowariker's romantic comedy What's Your Raashee?, a film which made Chopra the first actress in cinema history to portray 12 distinct characters in one film. She was reportedly being considered for inclusion in the upcoming edition of Guinness World Records for this feat. The film itself was a financial and critical failure, but Chopra's performance was appreciated by the critics. Rediff wrote, "Priyanka Chopra transforms into 12 new skins with astonishing distinction, voice and spirit. The actress reinvents herself into this unique individual every single time ranging from batty, bashful and boisterous. This is simply her show." Film critic Subhash K Jha noted, "It's an amazing achievement. Priyanka gives soul to all the 12 characters she plays. In the climactic song, she brings all of them together, quirks and mannerisms all on display in one unified flow of feelings and body-language. The actress achieves individuality for all her characters while giving the plot a homogenous flow."
In 2010, Chopra appeared in Jugal Hansraj's Pyaar Impossible! opposite Uday Chopra where she portrayed the role of a college beauty who eventually falls in love with a geek. The film was a commercial and critical failure. Her next release, Siddharth Anand's Anjaana Anjaani alongside Ranbir Kapoor, got a good initial response at the box office, but was not well received by the critics. She received positive to mixed comments from critics for her performance. Komal Nahta mentioned, "Priyanka Chopra looks sexy and performs well."
Chopra's first release of 2011 was Vishal Bhardwaj's black comedy 7 Khoon Maaf, in which she portrayed the role of Susanna Anna-Marie Johannes, an Anglo-Indian woman who murders her seven husbands in an unending quest for love. The film was a commercial failure and received mixed response from the critics, however her performance received good reviews. Mayank Shekhar wrote, "For Priyanka Chopra, who plays the Anglo-Indian protagonist, this is unquestionably a role of a lifetime. She has you by the eyeballs." and Nikhat Kazmi from The Times of India noted, "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. She renders a subtle and restrained portrayal of a lonely and wronged woman who wanted love and only love from life." Chopra eventually earned the Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actress and a Filmfare Award for Best Actress nomination.
Her next release was Farhan Akhtar's Don 2 alongside Shahrukh Khan, in which she reprised her role of Roma. The film was a sequel to the 2006 action thriller Don. Upon release, while Indian critics gave positive to mixed reviews, overseas film critics praised it. Chopra's performance received positive feedback from the overseas critics with the reviewer from The Express Tribune writing, "Priyanka Chopra pulls of her role with aplomb and 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. I wouldn’t be surprised if her next venture is as the next Lara Croft or the fourth Charlie’s Angel." A review carried by Divanee South Asian News mentioned, "Chopra surprises with a Lara Croft-esque demeanor. It is so refreshing to finally see a female character kick ass and take names in a Hindi film. The actress can easily add this to her growing repertoire, alongside “Fashion”, “Kaminey” and “7 Khoon Maaf”." The film was a major success in India and a blockbuster overseas. It went on to break multiple box-office records in India and overseas, including highest opening day grosser ever on a non-holiday Friday and the highest grossing Bollywood movie overseas in 2011.
In early 2012, Chopra became the first Bollywood actor to be signed by Creative Artists Agency, a prominent entertainment and sports agency headquartered in Los Angeles. The agency will handle her acting career in Hollywood. Her first release of the year was Karan Johar's Agneepath alongside Hrithik Roshan, Sanjay Dutt and Rishi Kapoor. The film was a remake of the 1990 classic of the same name. Upon release, the film broke the highest opening day collections record and became a critical and commercial success. Her performance in the film was appreciated by most critics. Mayank Shekhar noted, "Chopra stands out in a male-centric movie." and Komal Nahta wrote, "Chopra shines in a comparatively short role. She makes the character of Kaali very endearing. Her dances are extremely graceful and she shines in emotional scenes." Her next release was Kunal Kohli's Teri Meri Kahaani, a love story set in three different eras. The film opened to mixed reactions from critics, however Chopra's performance and her chemistry with co-star Shahid Kapoor received good reviews. Sonia Chopra of Sify wrote, "Priyanka delivers a superb performance easily slipping in-and-out of the layered characters with dexterity." Taran Adarsh commented, "As the spirited Aradhana of 1910, the dazzling movie star Rukhsar of 1960 or the joyful Radha of 2012, Priyanka is a complete livewire in each of the acts. On a personal level, I liked her the most as Aradhana, a full-on Punjabi girl who's vivacious and bubbly. What also makes the film work is the chemistry the two actors share. They appear exceptionally comfy with each other and bring to the table what the spectators are looking for."
As of June 2012, Chopra is set to star in Anurag Basu's Barfi! alongside Ranbir Kapoor and Ileana D'Cruz, in which she portrays the character of an autistic woman. In an effort to get into the skin of the character, she had to visit and spend time with autistic people. The movie is scheduled for release in September 2012. She is currently filming Krrish 3 alongside Hrithik Roshan, Vivek Oberoi and Kangna Ranaut in which she is respring her role of Priya. The film is a sequel to the 2006 superhero film Krrish. She has also signed Apoorva Lakhia's Zanjeer opposite southern superstar Ram Charan Teja who is making his Bollywood debut. It is a remake of the Hindi 1973 film of the same name.
Awards and honours
Chopra has won several movie awards, including the Filmfare Best Female Debut Award in 2003 for Andaaz, the Filmfare Best Villain Award in 2005 for Aitraaz, the Filmfare Best Actress Award in 2009 for Fashion, the National Film Award for Best Actress in 2009 for Fashion and the Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actress in 2012 for 7 Khoon Maaf.
Apart from awards, she has also received several honors. In 2006, the UK magazine Eastern Eye ranked her first on their list of "Asia's Sexiest Women". Rediff wrote, "This babe has attitude, talent and seems tough enough to go the distance." An eBay online poll crowned her "Style Diva of the Year" in 2006.
In 2011, Chopra who is known for her simple yet stylish wardrobe was declared by People Magazine India as the Best Dressed Woman of the year and Maxim Magazine named her the Hottest Girl of the year. She received the Trailblazer Award from the South Asians in Media, Marketing and Entertainment Association for her blazing trails in the U.S. for Indian entertainers as the first Bollywood actor to win a major record deal in the U.S. and her ongoing commitment and passion for continuous creative/artistic/personal achievement.
In early 2012, Chopra was named India's Glam Diva. The title was given as a part of Big CBS Love's show of the same name. She won on the basis of public voting. Jury member and choreographer Shiamak Davar said: "She wants to be number one; she wants to conquer the world; she wants to make it not only in India but globally – which is great." In April 2012, Chopra was declared as the Topmost influential Indian in the social media circuit by a survey conducted by Pinstorm India. Chopra was honored with Punjabi Icons Award at a Baisakhi celebration in Mumbai. Others to be honored at the ceremony with Punjabi Icons Awards were cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu and veteran actor Om Puri. Charan Singh Sapra, Punjabi Cultural Heritage Board head and Congress legislator said at the occasion, “These eminent personalities were selected for the honours for their sterling contribution in their respective fields.”
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