New Delhi — Actress Priyanka Chopra, who has stepped into the shoes of boxer Mary Kom in an upcoming biopic on the Olympic winner, says she has invested a part of her soul in the film and her heart will break if it fails at the box office.
The 32-year-old “Fashion” star says “Mary Kom” is a very special film for her and she has pushed her limits to do justice to the role.
"I started this film at the hardest point in my life, four days after my father passed away. All my grief, everything, I have shoved into this movie. Every single day of making this movie has been a challenge. A part of my soul has gone into it. I would go home, cry and tell my mother, ‘I don’t think I can do this’ and be back on the sets the next day," said Chopra.
The actress went through a tough physical transformation to portray the role of the boxer in the Omung Kumar-directed movie.
"The film is special to me. I am not good at dealing with failures and I am not prepared to face it with this film, especially because it is too close to my heart. It has inspired me personally and I want it to do well," she said.
The actress has been promoting the film in different parts of the country. She is next headed to the Toronto International Film Festival for its world premiere Sept. 4. The film releases in theaters Sept. 5.
Chopra says “Mary Kom” deserves to be promoted aggressively, unlike other films, which are commercially big.
"The film needs aggressive promotion because it’s not some big-budget ‘masala’ film. I want people to watch it because I know they will be inspired by it. It is a story of how a young woman fights all odds to become India’s face in the boxing circuit worldwide. It is entertaining, too, because Mary is a fun person, who celebrates life to the fullest," she said.
Chopra feels responsible towards this film much more because of the faith the boxer put in her despite criticism from some sections that an actress from the Northeast should have played the Manipuri athlete in the film.
"I feel so responsible that Mary is okay with me, a North Indian, playing her. She said, ‘I would rather have you, an Indian, playing me onscreen than some South Asian actress who looks like me.’ I also believe that looking similar is important in a biopic, but I have tried to tell her story and showed her real persona, so I am hoping people will like it," said Chopra.
The actress said that the makers initially thought about casting someone who looked like Kom but later they decided to approach her.
"This film needs to reach a wider audience. She (Kom) has put faith and responsibility in me. I am grateful to her and her family; they have shared so many details of their life with me," Chopra said while calling it "a great, creatively satisfying experience."
The National Award-winning actress says she tries to keep a balance between films with meaty roles and commercial cinema, where male actors take the lead.
"I will never stop doing big-budget films, though I do try to have some substance in my roles but if it is not there, then I don’t mind doing such films because my commercial viability as an actress comes from the successful films I do.
"That’s the honest thing. If I have to do a film like ‘Mary Kom,’ I need to do these big-budget films," she said, adding that an actress’ value in the industry is judged by her commercial success and not by the strong roles she does.
"It is a movie-making business and the value of an actress in Bollywood depends upon her commercial viability, which in turn depends upon the box office. It holds true for male actors, too," Chopra said.