Early into Priyanka Chopra Jonas’ Bollywood career, the Indian-born actress paid back a film production after she backed out of filming within days, due to the “dehumanizing” director on site.
In a recent interview with The Zoe Report, the actress explained how nearly two decades ago, as an actress new to the industry, she took money out of her own pocket to remove herself from a set with a degrading crew.
Chopra Jonas recalled in the interview that she portrayed a character who was going undercover, and how the unnamed director spoke about her and her appearance to the other crew members.
“I’m undercover, I’m seducing the guy — obviously that’s what girls do when they’re undercover. But I’m seducing the guy and you have to take off one piece of clothing [at a time]. I wanted to layer up. The filmmaker was like, No, I need to see her underwear. Otherwise why is anybody coming to watch this movie?”
“He didn’t say it to me,” Chopra Jonas clarified. “He said it to the stylist in front of me. It was such a dehumanizing moment.”
Chopra Jonas noted how seriously she takes her craft, and how production teams have at times belittled and misconstrued her strong work ethic. “It was a feeling of, I’m nothing else outside of how I can be used, my art is not important, what I contribute is not important.”
Indirectly hearing the director’s remark, Chopra Jonas, with guidance from her father, decided to quit the project. After participating in just two days of work, Chopra Jonas stood her ground and took money out of her pocket to pay the production back for the money they had spent. “I just couldn’t look at him every day,” said Chopra Jonas.
Chopra Jonas has been vocal about her experience, detailing it in her recent memoir 2021 memoir “Unfinished,” “I was ready to go full-out as a temptress in the number,” she wrote, according to the Hindustan Times. “The director’s words and tone, though, conveyed that he regarded me in a way that I found unacceptable.”
Since the incident, Chopra Jonas has appeared in 80 productions, including her latest roles in spy thriller series, “Citadel” and the romantic-comedy “Love Again.”