When Mary Kom saw how Priyanka Chopra had portrayed her onscreen in the Sanjay Leela Bhansali-produced biopic, the overwhelmed sportswoman presented the clearly emotional actress with the boxing gloves which she had worn while playing the world championship game.
While this gifting happened at the launch event of the film’s ‘Ziddi dil’ song, for a long time before that Priyanka Chopra was in agonised suspense about how the Olympic-medal-winning boxer had reacted to her portrayal. By the time the Omung Kumar-directed film was complete and shown to Mary, the ever busy Priyanka was not in town.
“I was shooting in Turkey for Zoya Akhtar’s film Dil Dhakanne Do,” Priyanka recounts, “I knew that Omung will call to tell me how Mary felt about the film but there was no network on my phone! We have made the film in accordance with Mary’s words and the time I had spent with her; and I tried to do complete justice to the film. We tried to capture 10-12 years of her life in these two hours. The film is a very close depiction of her life. My biggest stress was whether she would dislike anything in the film … that would be my failure. Those three hours (while she was watching the film) were very stressful.”
Obviously fond of the sportswoman, Priyanka teasingly shares a secret of Mary Kom, “Mary enjoys putting on lipstick and nail polish.” The actress has sung for the film as well and she says, “The reason for singing in this film is because in real life Mary loves to sing.”
The film appears to be award-bait material for the actress but Priyanka breathily says, “I can’t talk about my own performance,e you see it and let me know. For me all my films are very special, every film is Mughal-e-Azam for me and so is this.”
She also shrugged off talk of her having compromised on her charges for the film. “I don’t weigh my work with money,” Priyanka maintained. “My films are very close to my heart — if I get money its good and if I don’t I will still close my eyes and do the film.”
She does admit that the training required to physically transform into a boxer was difficult for her. “I didn’t realize how difficult it would be for my body; as a woman it’s hard to get muscles the way boys do,” Priyanka reveals. “I would train for three hours to get this body … it was very difficult. Through this film, I personally learnt a lot about dedication, strength, family … I hope the audience too learns the same thing.”
With a smile, Priyanka says there is yet another positive for her after doing the film”: “No one takes panga with me now,” she preens. “I have become a boxer and have boxing gloves now.”