Priyanka Chopra

Priyanka Chopra at ELLE’s 6th Annual Women in Television Dinner in West Hollywood, Calif., Jan. 20. (Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

NEW DELHI — The Monday morning of Jan. 25 turned out to be exceptionally bright and beautiful for actress Priyanka Chopra in Montreal when she woke up to the news of the government naming her for the Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civilian honor. She says the fact that she’s an Indian Army officer’s daughter makes it “extremely special.”

“What a fabulous January to begin my year with,” Chopra told IANS over the phone from Montreal, where she has been living to fulfill her shooting commitments for American TV show “Quantico.”

“I’m a daughter of an Army man, and so the feeling to get this civilian award is extremely special,” she added.

Her father, the late Lt. Col. Ashok Chopra was a doctor and had retired from the Indian Army in 1997. Chopra was extremely close to him and even sports a ‘Daddy’s lil girl’ tattoo on her wrist.

As much as she was missing her father, Chopra was glad that her mother Madhu Chopra woke her up with the news of the Padma Shri in Montreal.

“I am so happy... My mother woke me up with this wonderful news, and we’ve had a little celebration here,” said the National Award-winning actress, adding that her mother had joined her in Montreal earlier this month ahead of the People’s Choice Awards where Chopra became the first South Asian actress to win an honor.

She took home the “Favorite Actress in a New TV Series” award for her American acting debut as FBI agent Alex Parish.

Asked what sets the Padma Shri honor apart from the past awards that she has won, Chopra gushed: “It’s the Padma Shri, man!”

“It’s shocking,” she added in a tone that reflected the sheer joy of the global celebrity, who has roots in Bareilly, a mid-sized town in Uttar Pradesh.

Her success story started with the Miss World crown victory in 2000, after which she joined the Bollywood world. She has been featured in films like “Andaaz,” “Aitraaz,” “Krrish,” “Fashion,” “Mary Kom,” “Barfi!” and “Bajirao Mastani” — regaling movie buffs with a variety of roles.

Chopra also sings. She forayed into the foreign world first with her single “In My City” in 2012, and then went on to collaborate with American rapper Pitbull for “Exotic” in 2013. It turned out that it opened more gates for her in foreign shores.

Any bigger celebrations in place for the Padma Shri honor?

“No, I’ve to get back to work... That’s how I celebrate... I work,” she said.

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