The Tragedy of Miss Priyanka Chopra
It is not necessary for a pretty face to have an intelligent mind. Time and again Indian actresses, and here I need to separate the gender difference, have shown they are empty up in the attic of their body. Priyanka Chopra has just shown that the adage works well in the Indian climate also. It is just not blonde who make an ass of themselves, but brunettes too.
Madam Chopra’s sin was to tell her Canadian audience that Sikkim of which she was the cultural ambassador, was an insurgency State, that her film Pahuna was the first film made in Sikkim. When the full blast of her political ignorance hit her within minutes, Miss Chopra went silent, and asked her mother, to offer an apology to India and the people of Sikkim.
Understandably the people of Sikkim who admired Ms Chopra as a body of works for room wall decorations, were really angry. Priyanka was totally of the center in her observation, and worse, she was gutless. Here was the daughter of a known senior brass of the Indian Army , brought up in Lucknow, Bareilly and other small towns of the country and educated in a convent environment, which provided more time to learn and be educated, takes her promotional interview before the tv camera for granted and let fly her knowledge of her country so casually. To make amends she ought to have had the courage to offer an immediate public apology, after all it was not for her mother to apologies that she educated her daughter from the wrong end of the road to education.
Miss Chopra had understandably confused the situation of the neighboring area of Darjeeling-Kalingpong in the north Bengal State, with Sikkim. Presumably they all look alike!
There is no part of India now, which is without its first feature film. Much of cinema in the North East is now on digital format and Sikkim too is not virgin territory. Cinema came to Sikkim in 1976, when BBC had commissioned an ex FTII graduate, Amarjeet Singh Sachdeva to make a short film based on a story from the local fables. With that film Sikkim joined the film league of the nations. Before that small event the venerable Satyajit Ray had made his long documentary “Sikkim” commissioned by the Chogyal of Sikkim, which film was seized by the Indian government and was allowed to be released only after thirty years, when the narrative was totally out of time. The seized print had been damaged beyond retrieval and one 16 mm copy from the heirs of Hope Cooke wife of the Chogyal, became the surviving evidence of the work of Ray.
At regular intervals Indian artists have shown their ignorance of their environment and culture. More than a decade ago, Madhuri Dixit while visiting Nepal went vocal with a statement that Nepal was once a part of India. The Nepalese went viral and banned her entry and that of her film crew. Much more followed after this statement. Miss Dixit did not clarify her statement which she could have done by saying that in the time of Chandra Gupt Mauraya, Nepal was part of the empire of this illustrious king from Bihar.
Two film professional from the past seem to have shown good knowledge of their education, namely Ashok Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan. Among ladies I think the late Smita Patil, and Shabana Azmi have carried heavy erudite heads on their shoulders. Similar cases exist in south Indian cinema.
When film workers do three shifts a day, it is not possible for them to be their normal self. When they accept public endorsements on offered cash, they need to be doubly sure on what they are going into. Today, infact as close as one week ago, the Court has ruled that the artist who endorses products must be responsible for its safety in public. That will in future include utterances made in public which lead to street disorder. Priyanka Chopra just escaped with the thinnest safety tag here Again, this lady has also gone public that she now feels the need to shift her base from India to USA. If she does, she should forget her Dada Sahib Phalke Award coming to her in the next two decades, and other forms of recognitions, and she should join that club of the ignored into which Kiran Virle, Rajshree Shantaram, Padmini Sr., Leela Chitnis, Madhuri Dixit, Mumtaz all have joined.
Since no apology has come from Miss Priyanak Chopra, the State Govt of Sikkim should drop this lady from their roster of brand ambassadors and move on.