NRI Achievers spoke to Priyanka Chopra on her fi lm MARY KOM. Here, we reproduce the freewheeling interview, mostly in her own words, as she gave to Jyothi Venkatesh in Mumbai.

How would you describe your role in Mary Kom ?

I am essaying the life story of the Olympic medal-winning boxer in the fi lm, which has been produced by Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Th e director of the fi lm, Omung Kumar, required me to fi ght with real boxers as it is a biopic on the fi ve time World Champion boxer and honestly, I should confess that it was not easy to take a full-on punch from professional boxers during the shoot, especially since all my opponents in the fi lm were real boxers.

Why ?

It was very diffi cult to shoot with them because as they are real boxers, they didn’t know how to fake a punch and hence they had to really hit you. So I had to get hit a lot and that was really hard.

How do you approach every fi lm in which you are acting ?

I make it a point to approach every fi lm in which I am acting as if it is like my own MUGHAL-E-AZAM . I would not at all hesitate to confess that I would have done a fi lm like MARY KOM for free too.

Can you elucidate on why you make it a point to refer to your fi lm as MUGHAL-E-AZAM ? Do you think your performance in MARY KOM is better than your award winning performance in BARFI?

Each fi lm I do is like a MUGHAL-EAZAM for me because every fi lm of mine is special. So as of now this fi lm MARY KOM is MUGHAL-E-AZAM to me. I can’t say whether my performance in MARY KOM is better than my performance in either BARFI or SAAT KHOON MAAF because I feel that it is actually for others to decide.

You said that if you get an opportunity you would be game to do a fi lm like MARY KOM even for free. Why ?

Th at is only because, to put it in a nutshell, as far as I am concerned, work is worship and I don’t compare it with money. I do lot of hard work for my fi lms. If I get money, great, otherwise I will do a fi lm like this even for free, because I feel that it is a once in a life time opportunity that not many actors get to do. In what way could you relate to Mary Kom as you set out to portray her real life on celluloid ? I genuinely feel that there is a hell of a lot of similarity between Mary Kom’s life and that of mine. Mary’s life is extremely inspiring. We have similarity like not the diamond and boxing ring, but in terms of our upbringing and where we come from and the fact that we two women stood alone in a maledominated fi eld.

Can you explain in detail ?

Mary Kom as a person is feisty, someone who stands for her rights and fi ghts for what she believes in and that is not just an inspiration for me, but will be for every young person. I confess that I was quite stressed when the Olympic medal winner boxer was watching the fi lm at a special preview organized for her.

Finally, as an actress who has acted in woman centric fi lms like SAAT KHOON MAAF, WHAT’S YOUR RAASHI and now MARY KOM, would you agree that there is a great amount of disparity as far as remuneration for heroes and heroines are concerned ?

I have no other alternative but to agree that there is a disparity in remuneration for heroes and heroines. But I feel that the day heroine-centric fi lms do well, there will be no more disparity.

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