"I think I made a mistake."
Filmmaker Anurag Basu questioned whether he made the right decision to cast Priyanka Chopra in the 2012 film, Barfi.
Priyanka Chopra Jonas has enjoyed an amazing 20-year career in Bollywood. The actress continues to be remembered for countless glamorous roles in her ongoing career.
One of the most noteworthy performances of Priyanka is her role as an autistic girl in Barfi.
However, according to an interview, the actress almost lost the role of Jhilmil in Barfi.
This was because filmmaker Anurag Basu was not convinced she was right for the role after seeing her in a glamorous avatar.
This made him question whether he was making a mistake. According to an interaction with film critic Anupama Chopra for Film Companion, Priyanka recalled Anurag saying:
“I don’t know if this can happen, I think I’ll go. I think I made a mistake. I think I should cast a real autistic girl only.
“This is a stupid idea. How can I expect Priyanka Chopra to do this, look at you.”
She further added that the filmmaker said he wanted someone who was very innocent for the role.
Despite his reservations, Priyanka convinced Anurag to give her five days and do a workshop with her to see if she could essay the role of an autistic girl. She said:
“We did a four-day workshop. I spent a lot of time with autistic children, did a lot of research and reading.
“There is such a range of autism, we had no reference for Jhilmil. First, we decided the pyjamas because autistic people are like kids.”
Priyanka Chopra continued to mention they created the scenes from scratch and were completely impromptu.
Starring alongside Priyanka was actor Ranbir Kapoor. Despite not having any dialogues, the pair aced their performances.
The actress went on to talk about how they created the forehead touching scene.
This was done to show a connection between Jhilmil and Barfi (Ranbir). Priyanka revealed that it was her idea as usually people would kiss to show their love for each other.
However, because autistic people do not like physical proximity, the forehead scene worked perfectly. Priyanka Chopra added:
“This is bizarre to me how Barfi got made. I don’t even know.”
Barfi was a success at the box office. It became the highest-grossing Bollywood film in 2012 in India and overseas. Barfi reportedly garnered Rs 1.75 billion overall.