Priyanka’s Sarvaan has a Canadian connection

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Priyanka Chopra with her mother Madhu

A new life in a new city isn’t just the theme of Bollywood icon Priyanka Chopra’s newest film — it’s an experience she can relate to firsthand.

Chopra, who also stars in the ABC series Quantico, was in Mississauga, in the greater Toronto area, on Sunday for the international launch of her Punjabi feature film Sarvann.

The film is the third to be produced by Chopra and tells the coming-of-age tale of a young man living in Canada who returns to India to reconnect with his roots.

And Toronto, she says, was the ideal place to debut the trailer.

“Toronto was very important to me because it has such a massive Punjabi community,” Chopra said at a press-conference Sunday.

“I think the Punjabi community is an extremely proud and upheld community in Toronto and I really wanted to bring the film somewhere where it would be appreciated and looked at for what we were trying to make.”

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The film, starring Punjabi star Amrinder Gill, shot in both Canada and  Chandigarh, marks Chopra’s foray into Punjabi cinema.  But she hopes the message will resonate with all audiences, especially at a time when she says so much emphasis is placed on what divides people.

“I think there are too many labels that promote xenophobia in the world, so many labels that people are always put into little boxes with. People are people. That’s the way I see it. We all just move around and do our best to survive: move countries, move homes, just to make sure that our families get a better life.

“And this is a story of an immigrant family in Canada and their son who’s lost his way and how he ends up after he find his roots.”

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Carving out a life away from home an experience one that Chopra, who made the leap from Bollywood scene to Hollywood, knows all too well.

“Yes, I have got the opportunity to not play the exotic sidekick in a big movie or I’ve got the opportunity to headline a TV show as the lead of a show, but that doesn’t usually happen to South Asian actors,” she said.

“For me it was a massive fight. I really had to stand my ground and put my foot down and demand the kind of role I would want to play, otherwise I didn’t want to do it. And that’s scary, to come to another country and say, ‘I’m not going to settle.'”

“There are so many of us who leave India and our cities and go away and travel and live in other parts of the world and lose touch with what is home,” she said.

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“I really believe that for anyone who’s been displaced from their home, for whatever the reason might be, if you hold onto your roots, you always have a place in the world.”

“I started with nothing, no support,” she said. “A complete newcomer to even Mumbai city, not even the movie industry. I didn’t even know anyone. So I kind of did all that I did on my own without the help and support of anybody,” Priyanka said. – CINEWS

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