Sutapa Singha (BOMBAY TIMES; May 1, 2017)

On a whirlwind trip to India, Priyanka Chopra is on a mission - promoting her Hollywood debut, catching up with friends, sorting out her production house's slate and meeting the press. Even as her plate overflows, the lady has her priorities right. She says, “I could not do something I wanted to do because I did not have time? That will never happen with me!“ Excerpts of our conversation with the actress:

Dwayne Johnson says you're a great tequila drinker. Your views...
I think that's Dwayne's favourite drink. That's why he said that. Also, every show I go to, they make me have shots. The last time I had a few shots was during Diwali last year. I organised a party to introduce the festival to my friends in New York. There, I was given quite a few shots. But, it gives you a headache, so I can't take too many of those.

What's the first thing you generally tell people in New York while introducing India to them? Do you have to deal with stereotypes?
I don't take a class there. I educate people only when they don't know things. When we have conversations I explain stuff. For example, there's this thing called chai tea there. I always tell them that they are basically saying chai chai. People didn't understand what Holi was. They thought it was some sort of a music festival. I tried to explain to them the part about ushering in a new agricultural season. So I try to educate where there is a need. I just miss India so much that I love to talk about it. I tell people that India is not a country, it's an experience. The landscape, the language, and the facial features change every 100 miles.

When you get together with friends from India, do you vent out your frustration at how different Americans are?
Yes, about some things that I notice. There, people like breakfast meetings. And I don't understand that. How can I talk about business at 8 am? There are things such as these that I really don't get. There, if your call time is 8 am, they will start work latest by 8.02! Can you believe that? I went to school there. So, I'm familiar with their culture and they are starkly different from us.

When you first met the big stars in Hollywood, did you feel like a fan girl?
I don't crush on people, they crush on me. I admire people and their work. I was fascinated to meet some incredible actors because I'm not from a film family. I remember the first time I met Mr Bachchan or Meryl Streep or Bruce Springsteen, I was really excited. I remember particularly the first time I met Asha tai. My dad was a huge fan. Legendary people who have achieved incredibleness in their lives excite me. But I have never been a fan girl because I'm shy.

As a shy person, how was it swearing on screen for Baywatch? You dropped F-bombs...
Oh, that! That was very scary. The first time I had to curse for a role, I was embarrassed. Mere kaan garam ho gaye the because I am not someone who, by nature, curses, be it in Hindi or in English. Not even with my friends. And I have never done it in films here. Vishal Bhardwaj tried to make me curse on screen but mujhse nahin hota! I knew this was going to be an R-rated film and the movie revolves around that kind of a world. That's not Priyanka Chopra you see on screen. That's Victoria and that's how she speaks. My job as an actor is to embrace the world I have been put into and be true to it. So, now even if I did a film in India where I was required to curse, I would do it...Only if my ears don't start to burn.

What's the status on Quantico Season Three?
I have a feeling we will be back with another season.