Priyanka Chopra Jonas, the international actor who was last seen in The White Tiger, said she had committed to write her memoir Unfinished in 2018 but only started writing when the Covid-19 pandemic struck. She was talking to American talk show host Oprah Winfrey in an interview Super Soul that streamed on Discovery+.
“I always wanted to write a book and the easiest I thought would be to write about my life,” she said.
Chopra’s memoir, Unfinished that released on February 9 is a New York Times bestseller. The Indian actor and singer made her Hollywood debut with ABC‘s television series Quantico.
Talking about how writing a book about her life also got “uncomfortable” at times, she said, “I had to process my emotions from a bird’s eye perspective before actually writing about it.”
Talking about The White Tiger, Chopra said, “I had read the book in about 2008 and I had just read that the movie was being adapted for Netflix on Twitter. I told my agents to call and offer my services as an executive producer because when I was seeking work in America, I remember about five or six years ago, I just thought that it was not in the consciousness of the filmmakers that a leading mainstream part can be played by a brown person. And I didn’t want the movie to be put into an ‘independent’ movie or to end up in a genre film box which ends up happening when you see the leading cast is all in it.”
“I really wanted to… get as many eyeballs as I can to the movie because the story is universal, the narrative is about a class divide that exists everywhere in the world right now,” she told Winfrey.
Chopra Jonas got married to American singer and songwriter Nick Jonas in 2018. Talking about Jonas, she said that she “judged the book by the cover” before tying the knot because of the 10-year age gap.
“I didn’t honestly take it very seriously when Nick was texting me. I was 35. I was like, ‘I want to get married, I want to have kids. He’s in his 20s, I don’t if that’s something he’d want to do’. I did that to myself for a while, till I actually went out with him,” she said.
Chopra Jonas spoke about her father Ashok Chopra, who died of cancer in 2013, and explained how her relationship with “God changed and her faith was tested” after her father’s demise, despite hailing from a spiritual family and being exposed to several religious beliefs during her childhood.
“I was very angry. My relationship with God changed a little bit. But then at the same time, I feel like God helped me find salvation and come out of it too. But at that time, it was tested. Oh man, I went to every temple there was to go to. I did every prayer there was to do. I met every godman or woman I needed to meet, every doctor I need to go to. I flew my dad to Singapore, New York, Europe, India, everywhere just to do whatever I could to prolong his life. It’s such a helpless feeling,” she recalled.
She said that her awareness of Islam came with her father singing at a mosque.
While most netizens appreciated the actor, some trolled her with the hashtag #ChopraOnOprah.
How is singing in a mosque makes one aware of Islam? Do many years in India didn't let you know about muslims around you? By this logic- my dad argues cases in court so I am aware of the law. #PriyankaChopra #Oprah 😂 pic.twitter.com/gDbVG5aZT1
— Chayan Sarkar (@chayansarkar87) March 20, 2021
Me realising they sang songs in Mosques all this while and I had no idea about it.#ChopraOnOprah pic.twitter.com/AWv0wQRBo9
— Mehreen. (@MehreenNaqsh) March 20, 2021
Chopra Jonas moved to the US as a 13-year-old to live with her uncle and aunt in Iowa. She said she was subjected to racism at school in the US. She moved back to India when she was 16, after which she entered for the Miss India contest and went on to win Miss World in 2000 at the age of 17.
Talking about how racism “profoundly affected” her, she said, “High school is hardy anyway. To be coming of age, to understand your body as a woman. At the same time being devalued for something I couldn’t change. I wasn’t aware that this is something I should feel embarrassed about.” She said she was called “curry” and “brownie”.