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Priyanka and I do have difference of opinion, says mom Madhu Chopra

Priyanka Chopra's mother, who has turned producer, gets talking in an exclusive interview. 

Keyur Seta

Priyanka Chopra is making news in the international arena through her American TV show Quantico. But at the same time, she has also immersed herself in India’s regional cinema through her production house, Purple Pebble Pictures. While she is in the US for her show, her mother, Madhu Chopra is handling the affairs back home since she is the co-producer. In an exclusive chat with Cinestaan.com, her doctor-turned-producer mommy speaks about their Marathi film Ventilator and shares interesting bits about Priyanka. 

What is Ventilator about?
Ventilator is a story that people of today’s generation are missing. They miss knowing their extended family and relatives and the support of a family. It shows that if a family is supportive, it can convert a serious situation into a light-hearted one. The film is about a senior citizen, who is in coma and how his entire family gets together to see him and support each other. They have their own agendas to solve and yet they are together. From the title, it might seem like a very serious film but it’s a light-hearted film. It has drama that will make you laugh and cry. It’s an eye-opener as far as relationships are concerned. 

During the trailer launch, Ashutosh Gowariker said that Priyanka, Mapuskar and you only wanted him to play the central character. Why is that so?
Priyanka was keen on casting new talent in the film. The film is Mapuskar’s Marathi film debut, so he is new. Ashu ji (Gowariker) has also not acted for a long time. When Mapuskar narrated the details of the character, he suggested quite a few names. But Priyanka said, let’s get Ashu sir for it. She has seen him on the sets and has interacted with him. So, she felt he would play this character well. And she believes he is a good actor. 

You have been a doctor all your life. How did you get into production?
I am still a practicing doctor. But as Priyanka is far away right now, I am looking after her work as per her instructions. 

So she is the one who takes the decisions? Is there any difference of opinion between both of you?
Yes, Priyanka always takes each and every decision, no matter how big or small. We do have a difference of opinion. But if she manages to convince me, I agree to go with it. Sometimes, it’s the other way round — I manage to convince her and she agrees with me. 

How challenging has it been for you?
Oh ho ho! It has been very difficult. To shoot with 112 speaking characters and in a running hospital, which is quite small, is very challenging. 

The first film under your production was in Bhojpuri (Bam Bam Bol Raha Hai Kashi). The second one is in Marathi. Are there any other films in store? 
Yes, we are making a Punjabi movie, which is almost complete. It’s 90% done. Hopefully we would release it in December. We also have a Rajasthani film in store, which we plan to release in January or February 2017. [Both films are untitled as of now.]

Is promoting regional cinema the basic motto of your production house?
Absolutely. We feel there are some very good quality stories in the regional arena. There are some very good writers, especially in Marathi and Punjabi. Regional films should be exposed at a platform in such a way that people from other regions would also know about Bhojpuri and Marathi culture; how they dress, talk. In our country, a community has become confined to a boundary. Hence, the reach of regional should become wider and all over India. It can even go global through Priyanka. This has been her plan since beginning. 

Is there any chance of Priyanka acting in a regional film?
She is playing a cameo in Ventilator. 

I mean, in a full-fledged role. 
If the script is good, she will be fine doing a film in any language. If she can do Spanish and French, she can surely do regional cinema. 

How often do you see Quantico? What is your reaction to that?
I watch each and every episode. It’s fabulous. The show has become very fast moving lately. Even if you blink once, you lose track as to what is happening (laughs). It’s very good. 

Are you her critic? Does she listen to you? 
Yes, I am definitely. She does. Sometimes she gets upset but she listens (laughs).