Priyanka Chopra reflects on her cast in Mary Kom and says the character should go to those from the Northeast. Although she was reluctant to make the film, she said she did so because she was ‘greedy as an actor’.
Directed by Omang Kumar, Mary Kom is based on the life of an unnamed boxer from Manipur who has won many honors for the country, including an Olympic medal and multiple world championship trophies. The film was released in 2014.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Priyanka said, “When I played Mary Kom, I was initially skeptical because she was a living, breathing icon and a place for many female athletes. In addition, I do not look like her. She is from Northeast India and I am from North India and we do not look physically identical. Looking back, that part probably went to someone from the Northeast. But I was eager to get a chance to tell her story as an actor, because she inspired me so much as a woman, as an Indian woman, as an athlete. When the filmmakers insisted that I do, I did, ‘You know what? I’m going to.
Priyanka said that she was very prepared for the film from getting intense boxing training to spending time with Mary and her family. “I went and met Mary, I stayed at her house, I met her children, I met her husband. I had to spend almost five months training to learn the sport, which was not so easy … and also to physically change my body, to get into shape as an athlete. So, physically, it’s really tough, mentally, it’s really tough. Since I did not look like her physically, I decided to create her soul. So, I spent a lot of time with her so she could make me aware of what her choices were and why she made the choices, ”she said.
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At the time of release, Mary Kom was at the center of controversy for her cast, with some calling the decision to cast Priyanka rather than a Northeastern actor ‘racist’.
Mary Kom won the National Award for Best Popular Film in 2014 for providing absolute entertainment. Priyanka has also won several awards for her performance, including a Screen Award, a Producers Guild Film Award and a Stardust Award.