Sanyutka Iyer (MUMBAI MIRROR; May 5, 2017)

Priyanka Chopra who became the brand ambassador of Assam tourism on December 24 while she was on a week-long visit to India, recently revealed that there is a lot more in the pipeline than just promoting the state with a poster and video campaign.

Speaking to Mirror, the 34-year-old actress-filmmaker-singer said, “When I met Assam’s Chief Minister saab (Sarbananda Sonowal), we spoke a lot about what we could do together because the idea of me coming on-board was always about developing the film industry in the region and bringing opportunities to the local talent and artistes.”

PeeCee recalls her first run-in with the North East’s seven sisters – Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura – while she was filming Omung Kumar’s biopic Mary Kom and met the inspirational sportswoman herself. “I travelled through the states extensively. In our lengthy conversations, Mary Kom told me many stories of the seven sisters. So, when three years later, I was offered a chance to be an asset to the region, I wanted to discuss the best platforms to appeal to the young people. I told the CM, why just films, television should be an option too,” she recounted, adding that with her “tiny production house” she plans to develop a series which will showcase the musicians, pop culture, sports personalities as well as the adventure opportunities and wildlife that the state boasts of.

“The series will highlight aspects of the state that the rest of India is unaware of. The script is not concrete yet but I am hoping it will roll soon,” she said, adding that she will be a narrator and the face of the series. She has already completed shooting for one campaign. “I have a say in all the creatives that feature me. I’ve had a conversation with the Government’s team working on the videos and hopefully, the local population will receive it well,” she added.

While her Marathi production, Ventilator, has bagged three National Awards, she is already coproducing six other regional films, three of which are presently on the floors. Speaking about her first Sikkimese production, Pahuna, which also features footballer Baichung Bhutia in a guest role, Priyanka said that the project was her first step towards the North East. “It’s not only my first film there, but also the first film to ever come out of Sikkim. I have partnered with the Government of Sikkim and we are launching an entire film industry there with local actors and technicians. People in the seven sisters are soon going to get used to making their own films,” Priyanka signed off.