'Pushed into a corner,' Priyanka Chopra had 'beef' with people in Bollywood. So she left


Starting over as an actor in the US was a challenging and 'humbling' experience, says the actress, who is married to Nick Jonas. Photo: AFP

Priyanka Chopra Jonas recently opened up about her decision to leave Bollywood and start fresh in Hollywood.

On Monday's (March 27) episode of the Armchair Expert podcast, the Citadel actor explained for the first time why she abandoned her successful Bollywood career.

Chopra Jonas starred in numerous Hindi titles – such as Mary Kom, Bajirao Mastani, Barfi and Don – before leaving to work in the United States.

"I've never said this, so I'm gonna say it, 'cause y'all make me feel safe," Chopra Jonas told Armchair Expert hosts Dax Shepard and Monica Padman.

"I was being pushed into a corner in the (Bollywood) industry," she continued. "I had people not casting me for reasons. I had beef with people... I was tired of the politics and just like, 'I need a break'."

Chopra Jonas first tried her hand at music – signing with Interscope Records in Santa Monica and collaborating with the likes of Pitbull, will.i.am and Pharrell Williams.

"This music thing gave me an opportunity to go into another part of the world, not crave for the movies I wanted to get.... I was like, '(Expletive) it. I'm gonna go to America.'"

After releasing "four lonely singles" and recording about 100 other songs that still exist on her laptop, Chopra Jonas quickly determined that singing wasn't her thing and returned to acting.

With help from Interscope co-founder Jimmy Iovine, she signed with American talent agency CAA.

"I remember Jimmy saying, 'You're spending a lot more time in America. Why don't you look for representation here for acting?'" Chopra Jonas recalled.

"I was having trouble back home anyway with being cast in the kind of movies that I wanted to be cast in, so I did it.... I needed to be referenced by my label to CAA. Nobody was taking me.... I was the first actor from my part of the world to be signed by CAA."

Starting over as an actor in the United States was a challenging and "humbling" experience, said Chopra Jonas – who went from churning out "four movies a year" in India to approaching American filmmakers and saying, "This is what I've done... Will you cast me?"

"It was hard to do," she admitted, "and there were many tears involved."

Chopra Jonas' first major acting gig in the States wasn't a blockbuster movie like she was used to, but a network TV show starring her as a maligned FBI agent on a mission to clear her name.

The series, Quantico, was a hit that ran from 2015 to 2018 and launched Chopra Jonas' Hollywood career.

"ABC was having a moment with Scandal and How To Get Away With Murder and Grey's Anatomy with having females leads that were diverse," Chopra Jonas told Shepard and Padman.

"One of my first few auditions was Quantico," she continued. "I hadn't done auditions in years.... Terrifying."

After Quantico, Chopra Jonas booked several other American projects, including the 2017 action comedy Baywatch and the 2019 romantic comedy Isn't It Romantic. During that period, she received judgment from some of her former Bollywood peers.

"I had a lot of people who knew me from my Indian film days questioning why I went to Hollywood to do small parts in B-grade movies – is what they would say," she said. "'How embarrassing, Priyanka.'"

Auditioning for Quantico "really prepared me to have a sense of accomplishment," she added. "Because I saw so many other girls in contention for that part, and I worked on it, and I got it.... That one audition at that phase in my life really defined me." – Los Angeles Times/Tribune News Service

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