By Devansh Patel Bollywood Hungama News Network
Maybe it's because we normally see her in pretty dresses, speaking so exquisitely crisply, that it feels strange, paradoxical even, to be sworn at by Priyanka Chopra. Like a spurt of special brew from a fine silver teapot. Can she really have just called me Kaminey? When all I asked was how would she describe her 'Date' with me? But it's not long before the next one. I observe the ex-Miss World laugh out loud while she sees my face drop. "I'm just kidding. Kaminey isn't a swear word. It's just like calling someone stupid. It's fun. In fact, Dharamji made a career in acting out of that, so what's the big deal? " But much before the forty minutes came to a memorable end, this is what happened. Ex-Miss World and Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra invites us for a rare interview at her house. But what she didn't see coming was her surprise 'date' in the form of our UK's Harrow Observer columnist and Bollywood Hungama's London correspondent Devansh Patel.
We are sitting in her posh Mumbai apartment where she is briefed about my surprise visit. She comes near me, a familiar handshake and recalls the last time we met. "When was the last time we met Devansh?" I put on my thinking cap and say, "We met at Cineworld Feltham, London, during your Love Story 2050 première." I take out my first surprise for her. A laminated full page review of her film Fashion which appeared in 'Observer' last year. In a second she said, "I remember talking with you after you saw Fashion in London. Yes, I do now properly. Thank you for this."
There is something quite feline about Priyanka Chopra. When I talk about her work, she purrs. No, not literally - that would be weird - but she speaks easily, and appears content and relaxed. When I attempt to steer the conversation towards her life outside work, the claws come out. In a very good-natured, playful way, it has to be said. At times the interview feels like a sparring match and she gives as good as she gets, if not better. This is our third meeting and it's not that she's not polite, smiley, gorgeous. Her smile is sort of impenetrable.
It's a smile that puts me in my place and allows me to surprise her with a 'date' gift I got for her. She accepts it and rips the gift wrap. That's how she likes it. "That's how I am. I like tearing things apart", she says. "Wow. That's a beautiful looking candle stand and it matches my walls too. I should say you've got a good taste. It looks so pretty." "Thank you Priyanka. I'm glad you liked it and I knew you would." Now that was me being an optimist. I add, "I like the way your house is touched up. It's a cool mix of everything. Right from contemporary to traditional." She replies, "I told my friend Suzanne Roshan (Hrithik Roshan's wife) the kind of house I wanted. I like a lot of space and corners in my house. Where we are just seated is one of my favourite cosy corners. There is a music room which is another corner. I like it opulent and yet understated, which is why the chandeliers. The colours are very muted but still has the splashes of red", she explains.
I was a male journalist who had fallen under the spell of this starlet and somehow imagined that there is something nicely unstarry about her. "Nobody ever asks me out on a date. I don't know why. It ends up being like someone saying - 'Ok then, we'll see each other sometime'." She adds, "Can I tell you how I'd like my ideal date to be?" "Of course yes", is my answer. Chopra reveals, "I'd like it to be highly romantic in a mushy kind of a way. But it has to be done originally. It can't be the flowers, the cakes, the chocolates, the champagne, the limo, oh no." I get a bit cheeky and continue from where she ends. "Nor the candle stand." But Priyanka pulls it off well. She laughs. "Let me clear the air. Candles are good. Food is good too. But my date has to involve music, dancing and someone who can really look in my eyes deeply." "How about him being a bit Kamina?" I dare to ask her. Chopra takes it in her stride. "I like it a little bad too. It's fun." It was time to impress. "I'd love to cook something for you Priyanka. It is quite de-stressful." For Priyanka, cooking a full meal isn't very 27 at all. "Well then, this is the perfect date. It's so good because I hate cooking. You see, I'm a very moody person. There has to be something that keeps my attention as my attention span is very short. Movies, sleeping, reading and music are highly therapeutic for me. I can blast music in my ears, look out of my window and relax."
For not having taken a single day off since the last six years shows Priyanka's passion more than commitment towards her work. So in order to keep things as they are for her, I request the actor to recommend five films worth a watch for her worldwide audience this summer. Pat comes the reply, "Five is too little a choice you've given me because I can go on and on. I love mushy movies." I hold on to the word 'mushy' she uses quite often in our conversation. "Do you like mushy peas too?" "No. But I like boiled peas with butter on top with some salt and pepper. That's delicious." Back to the movies. "I highly recommend Jerry Maguire, Motorcycle Diaries, Omen, Breakfast at Tiffany's and the famous Bollywood classic romance Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge." She adds, "For me, I'd like to go and watch Hangover. I still haven't managed to go to the theatres and see it." "Good for me that my date is at this hour or else it would've been in a dark corner of some theatre", I joke. She laughs. We all do, and just before we break our conversation into films, I ask her, "I just can't understand why a 'date' is a man's prerogative?" The cat pounces. "It will always be a woman's prerogative. Do not even try and change that. The guy will ask her out and the guy will come and pick her up. We like our chivalry. As much as we know we are better species, do not do it. That's just how it is. My man's got to know where he wants to take me. Let him toil over it and go through the pain of trying to figure out where he should take me. I wouldn't want it any other way."
Priyanka Chopra has moved from rom-com success to weightier drama and back. But it's hard work telling when the acting stops and the real Priyanka Chopra starts. She has developed a relationship with all that is magnetic, robust, and stealthy. She's got something so special that movie moguls everywhere want to bank it and people everywhere want to treasure it. She has got what it takes to be the best date: a good smile, and an even better attitude. I wouldn't want it any other way.
Watch this space for Part two of this exclusive 'On a Date With Priyanka Chopra'.