Arthur J Pais, Sonil Dedhia
Priyanka Chopra has two big back-to-back releases coming up, and the actress is particularly excited that both films will show her in contrasting roles.
"In Don 2, I play a betrayed woman, who becomes a police officer. She is set to avenge the humiliation and bring Don (Shah Rukh Khan) to justice," she says, adding, "She had been in love with this man without realising he is actually the bad guy."
In her other release, Agneepath, she plays a chirpy, middle class Maharashtrian woman.
"It is an extrovertish character, and since it is a film with a revenge theme, my character offers some relief from the anger," Priyanka says. "It is a strong character. I play the daughter of a prostitute, who is determined not to follow her mother."
'I enjoy playing the roles that have plenty of grey in them'
Going back to Don 2, Priyanka claims her character has evolved in the sequel.
"My character has evolved in the last four years," she says. "She is angrier and very upset, as she was not able to catch Don in the first part. It is difficult to be a part of a sequel because as an actor, you have to prove yourself and make the character look more interesting."
She adds that she had to train a lot for the 'amazing action sequences.'
"It was really cool to do all the action in the film. I guess we have surpassed the one we saw in the first part," she says.
'I had to learn to fist fight and drive cars fast'
The actress had performed some good action sequences in Drona earlier. Some of her fans even referred to her as the Uma Thurman of Bollywood.
"Wow! I didn't know that but it's a big compliment," she smiles. "I love action and really enjoy doing action sequences. But as I said earlier, I had to train a lot. There is a car chase in Berlin for which I had to drive the car really fast. It was a wonderful experience.
"Don 2 is particularly challenging because the role is far more complex than in the first film," she explains. "I have learned his real identity but even then, some of the old feelings re-surface. He may enjoy the cat and mouse game but there are times he will have to think of the past too. There is no such thing as black and white in these roles, and I enjoy playing the roles that have plenty of grey in them. Physically, too, there was quite a bit of challenge. I had to learn to fist fight and drive cars fast."
'Don 2 is going to be Farhan Akhtar's best work till date'
Taking about the equation with her co-star Shah Rukh Khan, Priyanka says, "It's always great to work with Shah Rukh. He is a fantastic actor. When you are on the sets, you learn so much from him. He inspires you constantly. He has always been somebody I have admired and respected."
The film is stronger and more colourful than its predecessor she enthuses.
"Farhan Akhtar (the writer, producer and director) had more freedom to take the plot, the emotions, and the actions many steps farther since the previous film was a big hit," she says. "He did not have to worry this time about what people would say to his remaking of the Amitabh Bachchan starring Don."
As for herself, working with Akhtar again reinforced her faith in him as a filmmaker. "He is receptive to ideas, you can discuss things openly with him but at the same time, he is quite focused about what he wants from you. He has evolved a lot as a director. He is a multifaceted person and so talented. He is a director, actor, lyricist, singer and scriptwriter. I guess he should leave something for other people also," she laughs, adding, "I think Don 2 is going to be Farhan Akhtar's best work till date."
'Writers and directors continue coming to me with meaty roles'
Priyanka has a pretty good track record with the critics and the audiences but she cannot make every film a hit. But when a film flops, the key artists along with the film's director are singled out for blame. And there are times, the biggest part of the blame for a movie's debacle is laid at the door of an artist.
Don 2 is expected to more than make up for the dismal performance of her last release, 7 Khoon Maaf.
"I have known for quite some time now that each film has its own destiny," she says. "And yet when a film flops, I feel terrible. My heart is broken and I cry. I feel depressed and I worry for a day or two. I work equally hard on all my films, whether it is a big production or a film by a new director. That's why every flop hurts. But then I look at what I have on hand and concentrate on the future."
Having performed 12 characters in What is Your Raashee? and about 40 films, she has seen and done it all, some may feel. Does she feel there are some roles she should be looking for?
"I am soon going to work on the new Krrish film and that would be fun," she says. "Before its release, I will have two films coming out. Barfee, with Ranbir Kapoor and Ileana D'Cruz (in which Priyanka plays an autistic) and a romantic film directed by Kunal Kohli, which doesn't have a title as yet," she says.
"I have been lucky to have played many incredible parts. Writers and directors continue coming to me with meaty roles, so much so that I never think of what kind of roles I should go after," she adds.
'Katrina has done an amazing job in Chikni Chameli'
With so much going on for her, Priyanka appears quite generous in praise for other actors.
"I love Chikni Chameli," she gushes, talking about Katrina Kaif's item number in Agneepath. "I am really happy that Katina decided to be a part of our film. She has done an amazing job. It's a great way to start Agneepath."
Priyanka is looking forward to her debut singing album as well. However, like all beginners, that zeal is peppered with nervousness.
"Music was something that I was always very fond of. It is a new thing, as I have never tried singing before. I have written the lyrics for the songs. Let's see where it takes me.
"Singing is my father's hobby. He enjoys singing and I think I've got the talent from him," she smiles.