Priyanka Chopra, KJo, SRK, And The Alleged ‘Bollywood Ban’ – What Went Wrong?

It's well known how diplomatic and professional Priyanka Chopra is. Why would she want to stir the hornet’s nest when everyone’s happy in their personal space?

Priyanka Chopra (PC) did something completely out of character. She’s usually known for being articulate and mostly diplomatic, unless she wants to give sassy comebacks to people who try to put her on the spot or ‘in her place’.

She’s someone who’s never fought the establishment because she understands you can’t win against it anyway. But you can work around it to get your way to the top. She’s a thorough professional and team player.

For someone like Priyanka Chopra who’s never played victim so far, to admit being the scapegoat of petty politics in the Hindi film industry was refreshing. It’s good to see this unfiltered, vulnerable side of her for a change. PC revealed one of her reasons for shifting to Hollywood on the podcast, Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard.

“I was being pushed into a corner in the industry. I had people not casting me for reasons. I had beef with people. Again, I’m not good at playing that game. I was tired of the politics.”

While PC has not taken names, it’s clear who she’s referring to based on the previous news reports. Rumour has it that Shah Rukh Khan (SRK) and Priyanka Chopra allegedly had an affair which blossomed on the sets on the Don movie series. It was so serious that it affected SRK’s marriage and Karan Johar (KJo) intervened to support Gauri Khan, along with Suzanne Khan.

Allegedly, one of PC’s close friends told the press, “Priyanka has done nothing wrong. If these women are insecure about their relationships with their husbands, they should sort it out with them at home. Why should they attack her?”

That’s what allegedly triggered KJo to post a not-so-cryptic tweet, “Using their hired PR machinery and hiding behind so-called “friends” to get news into tabloids is nothing but spineless and lame! Some people need to wake up and smell the KOFFEE!!! Get a reality check before it’s too late!!! Grow up! And don’t mess with goodness.”

Shah Rukh Khan’s friendship with Priyanka Chopra

Throughout this feud, SRK was firmly on PC’s side, which was even more clear by his omnipresence at the funeral of Priyanka Chopra’s father. When asked in an interview during one of his movie promotions about his rumoured affair with PC, he said,

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“To me, what is most disturbing is the fact that a lady who’s worked with me has been questioned. And somewhere down the line, not shown the respect I show her or all the women. I think it’s disrespectful. I’m extremely sorry about that. Sorry means it’s not directly because of anything I’ve done but the fact that she’s my friend. She’s one of the closest friends I have and very close to my heart and always will be. I just feel sometimes when things are said I needed to step back from it because I find it very banal and very small and very menial, and you know it just tends to spoil relationships that people share while working together. And she’s a little girl who started her Miss India crowning with me. We’ve shared some nicest moments onscreen and off it as friends. It’s extremely unfortunate and sad for me to think that a friendship gets a little soiled. She’s (PC) matured enough, beyond her years to deal with it. Having said that, I think we all rush into giving names to relationships without even understanding them at times. That’s the strange part—not only the media, but all of us.”

The alleged ‘affair’ and the blame game

I was glad SRK took that stand about expressing regret that a woman was being questioned, because in any relationship, it’s the woman who has all the fingers pointed at her. Think Sridevi, PC, Nayanthara, Kangana and the likes who were demonised for having affairs with married men, while the men get no blame. I think the married men are more to blame before the women they are alleged to be having an affair with, as they’re the ones who’ve taken the vow to stay loyal to their spouses.

I also think it’s natural for people to get attracted to one another, and it happens. It’s not surprising that they gravitated towards each other. It’s not surprising that they became the best of friends for a certain period.

While we don’t know if they were more than ‘good friends’, we can only infer from several reports and clips, which may or may not be the truth.

SRK and PC shared a scorching chemistry on screen as seen in the Don series, and when they hosted the Zee Cine Awards 2012 show. Their chemistry was unmissable.

Of course, things drifted apart after PC completely settled in Hollywood, and started tasting success both on the professional and personal front. She dated actors, Tom Hiddleston and Gerald Butler, before getting married to Nick Jonas, with whom she has a beautiful baby girl.

They’ve drifted apart over the years while Shah Rukh’s marriage with Gauri has grown stronger (as it should be) with them having a third child after the alleged affair.

Why is Priyanka Chopra speaking now about her alleged Bollywood ban?

So, if everyone has moved on, why did Priyanka Chopra make this statement now?

That’s my question given how diplomatic and professional Priyanka Chopra is. Why would she want to stir the hornet’s nest when everyone’s happy in their personal space?

While things might not be the same anymore between SRK and PC, KJo and PC seem to have mended their differences a long time ago. At least, they’re good on the professional level. KJo had spoken in an interview about calling PC right after the SRK controversy.

It is Priyanka Chopra’s grace that she chose to still be on working terms with Karan Johar after he tried to gang up on her and ban her in Bollywood. He did attempt to finish her professionally which is vicious, even if he was doing it to support his good friend, Gauri Khan. It’s not the first time KJo has been accused of ganging up and trying to finish people’s careers, allegedly such as Sushant Singh Rajput.

After Priyanka Chopra spoke up on how she was left with no choice but to look toward Hollywood because of the petty politics in Bollywood, Anjula Acharia, her US manager confirmed the news on Twitter in her reply to a fan page. Anjula revealed how when she signed PC for the talent deal, there were several Bollywood people including a directors-producer and some actors who bitched about PC and tried to dissuade her. They told Acharya that Priyanka Chopra was a talentless actor with no scope in the US and she’d suffer major losses.

However, Acharya revealed how she always saw PC’s potential to be a global star. She replied to the fan page tweet, “Naysayers are just noise! You have to tune it out @priyankachopra is undeniable and we proved them all wrong :))) I knew she would be a global star the first time I saw her on TV!”

I find it unfair and distasteful that some Bollywood insiders told Acharya that Priyanka Chopra was talentless. She won the Miss India and Miss Universe crown. I’d consider her as someone who’s the jack of all trades. She looks good, can act, sing, dance, and speak well. It’s funny how the question of talent is never an issue with star kids. PC talks about nepotism in her podcast interview too.

“I’m not a nepo baby. I didn’t have that kind of support that exists in a big way in Bollywood movies. You know they are multi-generational actors that come in and get multiple opportunities versus the ones that come in from outside. You don’t have your uncle making a movie for you just because your last one tanked, right? You have to get it and you have to hustle for it.”

On speaking her truth and paving her path

I have my own theory about what triggered PC to speak up about her Bollywood boycott now, but it’ll be mere speculation and I’d like to refrain from that. I’m sure though, that this deliberate attempt to outcast her from Bollywood still hurts. I’m just glad she spoke her truth.

Kangana Ranaut’s hatred towards KJo is no secret, and she’s been talking forever about being the target of mighty Bollywood cliques. So, it’s not surprising she took PC’s side.

What’s sad though is some questionable elements trying to take this opportunity to hit back at their enemies. With SRK back in form and Pathaan toppling The Kashmir Files at the box-office, Agnihotri’s statement gives an unnecessary political angle to a relationship that wasn’t meant to be and went sour over the years.

Kudos to Priyanka Chopra for handling her ordeals with grace and grit! She’s now getting paid equally like her male lead in her upcoming movie, Citadel. Be it in Bollywood or Hollywood, PC has worked her way up the ladder the hard way, making the most of the small roles initially given to her, and every opportunity that’s come her way.

If there’s any smoke to the fire, Shah Rukh Khan and Priyanka Chopra’s story might just be the modern-day version of the alleged Amitabh Bachchan and Rekha epic love story. However, I’m glad Priyanka Chopra is no Rekha as she charted her own course in her career and found love along the way in Hollywood.

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Tina Sequeira

Author, poet, and marketer, know more about Tina Sequeira here: read more...

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