Sky High

Priyanka Chopra talks exclusively to Sonia Ahmed about her role in the Disney animation Planes

Posted: 27.08.13

Congratulations in landing the role of Ishani in Planes – how did the part come about?
I was approached, I read the script, loved it and decided to do it. Disney have always been my favorite filmmaker in the whole world and I love animation especially Disney animation. I wanted to be Tinkerbell as a kid so I guess this is the closest that I will get!

What Disney films are you a fan of?
So many…The Lion King, Pocahontas, Sleeping Beauty…all the classics!

What did you like about Ishani?
Her character is interesting, she becomes a little grey in the middle and then finds her heart in the end.

How much time did you spend practicing your voice over for the film?
I don’t know if you’ll believe this but we actually finished the entire film in one day, just a couple of hours. We discussed it a lot and decided that Ishani was a lot like me and I should just be my self. I was really clear about the fact that I didn’t want it to be over exaggerated or the stereotypical Indian accent that you usually see in a lot of western depictions of people. With the head nod and the ‘oh I talk like this’. That is not modern India to me - I mean I don’t speak like that. We do a lot of dubbing in Hindi films so I guess I was used to the process. It was really fun and easy and it was a great creative process.

What was it like in comparison to acting?
Well the good thing is that you could just go in your pajamas and you don’t have to do any hair or make-up. The difference was there was no reference -they videotaped my face when I was doing the lines and gave Ishani the same expressions when she was saying the lines. It was a very different process but it was so creative.

We all know that you have a beautiful voice - but how did the team know that your voice was right for the film?
The director Klay Hall saw Dostana and said that he really liked my voice and my vibe.

You must be so proud that there is reference to India in a Disney film and the fact that it is no.1 in its first week of release in the UK.
YAY! I’m so excited that’s awesome – especially as the leading lady in the film it makes me even more excited!

You’re the first Bollywood female actor to be part of a Disney film! That’s a huge thing…
I didn’t actually think about all that when signing onto it and doing the movie I’m just so happy that it’s been done well. It’s releasing in India this week so that’s really exciting. To mark what would have been my dad’s birthday I am doing a big screening for a bunch of kids from orphanages in India. I’m happy though that I have done well career wise. They say that this film has broken the animation curve that has been happening in the last few years so I am happy that happened with my film.

Have you ever had a fascination with planes? Are you scared of heights or have you ever had the desire to fly a plane?
My mum is a pilot. Well she’s a gynecologist but she’s also a licensed pilot; she does it as a hobby. I love planes and I love being in them but I have never had the desire to fly one. I used to be very scared of heights but then one day I just decided to go bungee jumping and sky diving back to back and I guess I'm over it now!

You’ve had a busy year with Planes, Krrish 3 and Zanjeer and they are all completely different projects from one another.
It’s definitely a big year for me, I also had the release of my single Exotic. Zanjeer which comes out in September then Krrish is out in November while I am filming Gunde and Mary Kom.

I don’t know how you do it, seriously!
I have a lot of late nights and early mornings. It is my choice though - I decided to have two different careers, I decided to take on all these projects so no complaints. I love what I do. For me my work is my worship it is the one thing that stands by me. The last two years have been difficult, but I have always been able to return to my work. It has stood by me like a rock and I think it is the only thing I know how to do.

Talking of Exotic, you looked super hot in that video!

When we shot the video, I was shooting for Mary Kom so my body was already in shape, but it was really hectic. We shot for 18 hours over two days which involved staying in water for six hours; it’s lucky I didn’t turn into a prune!

Why did you decide to incorporate Hindi into the song?
Well I love Hindi music and I want my music to be me. It was a last minute decision but was meant to be instrumental and then we just wrote some lyrics and made it happen I am an amalgamation of the east and the west I went to school in India and in the US so I love Bollywood and I love pop music - I thought I’d let the world see just how awesome Bollywood music is as well!

Planes starring Priyanka Chopra is on general release at cinemas nationwide now

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