Cosmo: The next big thing for you—Zeenat Aman's role in the remake of Don. Zeenat herself said that you're the only one who could play Roma in Don...
Priyanka: Yeah, she did and it was really very cool. That compliment pushed me to do a good job. But at the same time, I'm not going to try to do a Zeenat in the film—I'll fail miserably. My approach is not to be like her at all, which should eliminate any scope of comparison between her role and mine. Preparation for the role was challenging—I learnt martial arts for a month and a half, and we've styled my look entirely differently from all my previous films.
C: Zeenat was a style icon. Now, what with having been voted Bollywood's style diva, you seem to be following suit. What's your style secret?
P: The secret is that I don't have style! I've handed the responsibility for that over to others. At home I'm a casual person, in loose tops and pajamas. I couldn't be bothered with being stylish; my mantra is comfort. Every designer I work with designs as per my comfort zone.
C: So the style diva of Bollywood isn't a real diva?
P: (laughs) Absolutely. Rekha is a diva, Sush is a diva. I'm nowhere close to being one. It's just that whatever I wear, I'm comfortable and happy in it; that works really well for me.
C: Did the criticism about your outfits in Krrish bother you?
P: The film did really well, so the criticism didn't really bother me. Had the film flopped or my role not been appreciated, I would have been really upset. But I got good reviews for my work, which compensated for the criticism. It's part and parcel of the game.
C: You had to put on weight for the film—what did you do to pile on the pounds?
P: I just ate a lot, a lot of calorie-rich foods. I love eating, so I indulged myself big time.
C: Was getting back in shape a big drag?
P: It happened on its own, I did nothing! No workouts—I hate working out, it's like dragging a child to school on the first day. The only time I worked out was for a month and a half during my martial arts training—and thanks to that, I was at my crankiest best.
C: Krissh is India's first superhero film...do you see yourself playing a superheroine?
P: Like I said, I don't anticipate anything. I'm not going to wait for one such role. But yes, if it does come my way and I find it exciting, I wouldn't mind taking it up.
C: Your image is that of a fun, uninhibited girl. Is that what you're really like?
P: I can't describe myself in one or two clear sentences...I change according to the situation, but I am quite different from what I'm perceived to be. I'm an introvert, I only open up to people I'm comfortable with. You won't see me at social dos because I'm a very private person.
C: Does being sexy come naturally to you?
P: No! I don't feel sexy at all.
C: You're being modest again....
P: No, I'm serious. I've always had a major inferiority complex about myself. Ask those around me and they'll tell you that I am always cribbing about my appearance. My image as a confident girl is a myth, though I like the fact that that's how I am perceived. The only thing I'm confident about is my acting—everything else is done for me, costumes, hair, make-up...
C: Your costumes onscreen are designed by experts, of course, but do you give any inputs?
P: I use a different stylist for every film. I like creating a new look for every character. I love watching films and if I see my favourite actor in the same look, film after film, I'm not going to like it. So, I try and score a new look in every film.
C: Did you drift into the movies or was it a conscious plan?
P: I'd never thought of getting into films at all. My family has never been associated with the film world...it was a stratosphere completely alien to me. I mean, I've always been a film buff and love watching them, but I didn't ever dream I'd be doing this one day. I started getting some good offers even before winning the Ms World crown but didn't take them seriously and thought I'd consider the option after getting back from the Ms World pageant. But I was under contract for a year. Post that, I was still getting good offers, so I finally took the plunge.
C: Considering models are generally perceived as non- actors, did the whole beauty pageant background come in the way of good roles?
P: I didn't think so much when I was getting into films—I was just 18, and was ready to do whatever I was told. I never gave it a thought that people were going to see me on screen and probably criticise what I was doing, my looks and clothes and so on. It was a whole new experience—like giving a child alcohol; he doesn't know what to do with it or how to feel about it (laughs).
C: If this wasn't a serious career choice, how do you explain bagging the biggest projects
and working with the industry's biggest names?
P: Trust me, I have absolutely no idea! I wasn't even expecting to get another film after my debut (laughs). I have never analysed why I get good offers, I just take it as it comes. Initially, I hated being in the industry. But then I got a hang of it and started enjoying myself; I started taking it as a serious profession only after completing five odd films. I can't explain how I've worked with the best because it wasn't a planned move on my part.
C: So what's your take on your progress since you started out?
P: One evolves every minute and I have been evolving with every film. I have to keep re-inventing myself.
C: You've worked with all the hotties in the industry—Shah Rukh, Salman, Hrithik, Akshay, etc. Who's your favourite?
P: Do you really think anyone will answer that?! It's such an unfair question! I can't pick a couple of them and say the rest haven't been good. I've had great experience working with all of them, some have become my closest friends and I've picked up something good from each.
C: How typical are you of your starsign, Cancer?
P: I'm a typical Cancerian, a complete dreamer. If you leave me alone in a room, I'm the happiest person. I'm very eccentric and completely mad. I'll be laughing now and the next minute you will find me crying. I cry at everything, even if it's the silliest thing in the world. Don't be surprised if you find me crying while watching The Pirates of the Caribbean, too (laughs). I'm completely into poetry and shayari. And, typically, I'm very possessive and always clinging to what I have. I love my home and family.
C: Are you competitive?
P: I think being competitive is one of the most important things in life. The day you stop being competitive, you stop striving to be good. I think you tend to get complacent if you get too confident about yourself. The day that happens to me, I will retire. Till then I will always be competitive, but to the point wher it's healthy, not beyond.
C: What's your ideal way to spend your leisure hours?
P: Leisure? Such a thing doesn't exist for me. I work round the clock. I haven't taken a single day's break since I began!
Concept and Styling: Nupur Mehta Puri & Malini Banerji; Text: Dhaval Roy; Clothes Co-ordination: Malini Banerji & Sahiba Kaur; Makeup: Mickey Contractor for M.A.C; Hair: Rekha Khan; Watch: Dior Christal, price on request.