Over a period of time, Priyanka Chopra discovered fashion and fashion discovered her. When a young, shy PeeCee represented India for Miss World 2000, the confidence and attitude was noticed more than what she was wearing and how much she knew about style. That confidence and attitude never left her and over the years, she is one of those few Indian actresses who tried to reinvent herself rather than fading away in the crowd of actresses who gave up after a point of time and convinced themselves to be plus one in a big budget film.
Now, let’s go down memory lane and revisit how it all began for Priyanka Chopra. Her body had the barbie-like perfection but she was clearly meant to more than a showpiece on and off-screen. In her first release Andaaz (2003), she was seen as a flamboyant, spoilt rich girl who wanted to own everything she ever wanted. Her body language was wild and she also crossed all the levels of overacting but, that’s what who she is till date – a go-getter. A series of releases post that, Priyanka was mostly seen as someone who brings the commercial value to a film rather than owning it as an actress.
While many directors tried to make her look like a typical Indian girl, many failed to appreciate and recognise her unconventional looks and her edgy personality that wanted more than just commercial hits and sharing screen space with the big guns in Bollywood. Farhan Akhtar’s Don (2006) came out, she came close to playing Roma, a woman with a plan, played perfectly by 80s diva Zeenat Aman. The role was strong, over-sensitive yet a well-adjusted character. With Madhur Bhandarkar’s Fashion (2008) and Karan Johar’s Dostana (2008), we saw a different side of PeeCee where she not only owned the movie as a performer but also nailed it as a stylemaker.
With films like Siddharth Anand’s Anjaana Anjaani, and Vishal Bharadwaj’s Kaminey (2009) and Saat Khoon Maaf (2011) we were bound to believe in her and especially, the spunk that she has and how she pulled it off. In the sequel to the Shah Rukh Khan-starrer, Don 2 (2011), Priyanka dazzled the audience with her sexy demeanour and action sequences. Priyanka had arrived by then and she clearly had a plan. A plan to survive, a plan to matter.
As she started to embrace who she is on screen, Priyanka Chopra had also begun to embrace how she wanted to dress. PeeCee always had a spectacular body and that face was not traditionally beautiful but it had lots of charm and character. The hunger for more and more was visible in those persistent eyes. She gradually moved on from bandage dresses, corsets and off-shoulder patterns to silhouettes that complimented her edgy personality. Not that they looked bad on her, but she was mostly styled keeping her body in mind and not her personality. Her barbie-like hair was rarely experimented with as the volume was a safe bet compared to going in a different direction with that sharp face and gorgeous eyes.
Amid the Bollywood galore, her first single ‘In my City’ in 2012 and Exotic in 2013, the world saw the Priyanka Chopra the way she wanted to be seen. Free-spirited, over-ambitious and desirable. She refused to die down post a few commercial hits in Bollywood where an actress has a limit in terms of age in her career, no matter how good the career graph.
Then came the American dream and PeeCee grabbed it with both hands as somewhere in her heart, she knew that she belongs to a more versatile space and she has a voice that refuses to remain and fade in one industry. Post the smashing success of Dil Dhadakne Do (2015),the actress and singer was signed for ABC Studios’s American thriller series Quantico where she plays the character Alex Parrish. PeeCee cracked the case of the diversity quotient that Hollywood was looking for and then began the great debate on the rise and rise of Priyanka Chopra. She is not the first Indian face to enter the West and wow them but she is definitely that face that represents not only her country and culture, she also became the champion of adaptability when it came to diction, style and the craft. With her first U.S. film debut with action-comedy Baywatch, which needs no introduction, Priyanka in that blink-a-miss role of Victoria got heads to turn and how. She was clearly here to stay.
Then came a series of international magazine covers and celebrity talk shows, red carpet appearances and big scale award shows. By now, one thing was clear. Everything that pulled her down as per the notions of beauty, sensuality and acting in India, worked wonderfully for her in the West. Her insecurities became her biggest strength. Dusky, sexy and charming, Priyanka Chopra nailed her American dream and became the face of aspiration in India, regardless of gender, class and ethnicity.
The international media clearly claimed that is there nothing that she cannot pull off. Last year, she was crowned as the second most beautiful woman after Beyonce by social media platform BuzzNet. Her red carpet looks, airport style, and everything she talked about in terms of beauty and fashion mattered suddenly. A perfect blend of street style and haute couture, PeeCee’s wardrobe had everything. The icing on the cake was her on-point vibrant body language and that glaring confidence and edge over others.
Her hyper-feminine body language worked well for her all those who got her ready for any event and the highlight remained her choice of stand-out accessories, customized silhouettes, drapes and that on-point make-up that ranged from dark and edgy to fresh and natural. Brands defining modern luxury like Ralph Lauren, Vivienne Westwood, Philip Treacy, Isabel Marant, Jimmy Choo, Diane von Furstenberg , Fendi, Ralph & Russo, Michael Kors, Philip Treacy, J. Mendell, Zuhair Murad, Jenny Packham, Jason Wu, Longchamp among others got her vibe right and played on it.
Halter-necks, pant suits, maxi dresses, sharp layering, experimental necklines, head gears, cigarette trousers, asymmetric hemline, cape-sleeves, florals, sequins, pastels, pattern on pattern, everything worked for her as apart from her, her fan following also wanted more.
Apart from apparels and accessories, the Baywatch star also got everyone talking on her hair and make-up. The bohemian curls, the sweeping wet hair in a variety of partings, slicked-back hair, half-ponytail, laid-back hair, messy buns, highlights and of course, natural gave the trend-watchers something to talk about.
A small-town girl from India to an international celebrity, actress, singer, philanthropist, producer, the journey has been as fun and exciting for us as it is for her. Priyanka Chopra means business. A business with no end.
Even though Bollywood has been showing a certain level of refrain as far as the actress’s career in India is concerned, the actress is stepping into the next phase of her life as she is all-set to marry international singer, song-writer, actor Nick Jonas in India and later in Los Angeles this year.
She knows she is sexy and we know it too now. The hide and seek with fashion that began many years ago has paid off and the real Priyanka Chopra has finally spoken.
First Published: Nov 28, 2018 18:17 IST