Priyanka Chopra and veteran actor Kabir Bedi held a virtual discussion recently, when she launched his memoir 'Stories I Must Tell' online. The discussion circled around how Indian actors can make it big in Hollywood. One of the first Bollywood actors to make an impact in the West, Bedi is widely known for his role as the antagonist in a James Bond movie.
Sharing his insight, he said, “I had stardom in Europe behind me as I was a rage across the continent. I came to Hollywood as a newcomer, I thought they'd be impressed by that. But they didn't care that I lived in a house in Beverly Hills or bought myself a Mercedes.” He added, “The problem was that in those days, Hollywood just wasn't writing roles for Indians or Asians, so how do you get a role if it is not written for you? I'd protest in trade papers, that it is wrong. When they did have a role for an Asian, they didn't have a hesitation painting a white actor brown and giving him the role. So, this was the other problem.”
Priyanka, meanwhile, said she had to do “ethnically ambiguous” roles to start with. “While I didn't have to change my name, but I had to teach people how to say my name, if you can Oprah, you can say Chopra. I had to be ethnically ambiguous to a certain extent to be able to get mainstream roles. Even 'Quantico', for that matter, I played a half Indian-half American. I couldn't step out there being Indian because it was too alien for Hollywood.”